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RotoWire closer watch

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:24 pm
by jdh
Although I don't get ESPN, I do get RotoWire, so here is their most recent closer watch:

MLB Closers
Team: Anaheim Angels
Closer: Troy Percival
Stability: Very High
Health: Good
Next in line: Brendan Donnelly, Francisco Rodriguez, Ben Weber
Notes: Donnelly served as the closer when Percival went on the DL earlier this season with a hip injury. Percival is signed through 2004, so his long-term status is fairly secure. Donnelly is the better closer-in-waiting for the short-term, Rodriguez has more upside. Donnelly's ERA as of 7/20 sat at a microscopic 0.38. Rodriguez has been asked to pitch two innings in each of his last four outings heading into the Angels' game on 7/21 at Tampa Bay, but had allowed homers in his last two outings.

Team: Atlanta Braves
Closer: John Smoltz
Stability: Very High
Health: Good
Next in line: Roberto Hernandez, Ray King, Darren Holmes, Trey Hodges, Jung Bong
Notes: Unless Smoltz gets hurt, there's not much to say here - the converted righty is 37-for-40 this year. Don't blame Smoltz for the blown save on Friday (7-25); the tying run was unearned, courtesy of an infield botch by shortstop Rafael Furcal. None of the set-up men have distinguished themselves, though the experienced Hernandez would be the likely committee chairman in the bullpen if Smoltz were to go down.

Team: Arizona Diamondbacks
Closer: Matt Mantei
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Jose Valverde, Oscar Villarreal, Mike Koplove (DL)
Notes: Mantei has been super since coming off the DL in late June, with 8.2 scoreless innings and four saves (the latest on July 26). Mantei has just one walk and 10 strikeouts over that span. Valverde hasn't pitched poorly during the same time frame (two runs in 9.1 innings, with 13 strikeouts), but he hasn't been given any save chances, either.

Team: Baltimore Orioles
Closer: Jorge Julio
Stability: High
Health: Good
Next in line: Hector Carrasco, Kerry Ligtenberg, Buddy Groom, B.J. Ryan, Willis Roberts (DL)
Notes: Julio has converted 9-of-10 saves, including a one-out chippie on July 24. Groom hit a rough patch in the middle of July and was demoted to middle relief. Roberts went on the DL in early July with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow; he's expected back at the end of the month.

Team: Boston Red Sox
Closer: Byung-Hyun Kim
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Scott Williamson, Alan Embree, Mike Timlin, Todd Jones, Scott Sauerbeck
Notes: The Red Sox traded for Williamson on Tuesday, July 29. GM Theo Epstein initially said that Kim would remain the closer, and that it was just a remote possibility that he would return to the rotation. Williamson will probably serve as the bridge to Kim, pitching the 7th and 8th innings. It's possible that the team might finally get to fulfill their early-season plans in the bullpen, using Williamson and Kim much like the Reds used Williamson and Danny Graves during the 1999 season. Kim finally blew his first save chance in a Boston uniform on July 26, though it wasn't all that bad - he allowed an inherited runner to score, but he eventually got the win when the Red Sox pushed a run across in the ninth. The newly-acquired Sauerbeck will rank behind Alan Embree in the hierarchy of left-handed relievers. Chad Fox was released by the Red Sox on July 30.

Team: Chicago White Sox
Closer: Tom Gordon
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Damaso Marte, Rick White, Billy Koch
Notes: Gordon and Marte have essentially shoved Koch out of the way, perhaps for good. Gordon and Marte combined for five scoreless innings in Thursday's victory (7-24) at Toronto, with Gordon getting the win; Gordon also has four saves over the last 10 games, while Marte has two wins and three saves over the same period. Rick White may have passed Koch as the No. 3 option - White was called on to finish Thursday's game after Marte and Gordon worked, and he wound up getting the save, albeit he allowed a two-run homer as well. Jerry Manuel said Thursday that he's not comfortable using Koch with a lead, and won't do so for the time being.

Team: Chicago Cubs
Closer: Joe Borowski
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Kyle Farnsworth, Dave Veres, Mike Remlinger, Antonio Alfonseca
Notes: Borowski continues to have staying power, as he's converted on 12-of-13 chances, including one on Friday (7-25). Farnsworth throws around 100 mph and has the stuff to be an ideal closer someday, but there are some team officials who wonders if he's got the intelligence and makeup for the job. Veres and Remlinger are two pitchers who have more experience closing, so they would probably get a look if Borowski slumped or got hurt. And oh yes, don't forget about last year's closer, Alfonseca, who was awful in mid-July, but he's been decent since (six scoreless innings, counting his appearance on July 22).

Team: Cincinnati Reds
Closer: Chris Reitsma
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: Felix Heredia, Ryan Wagner, John Riedling, Scott Sullivan (injured), Joe Valentine
Notes: The Reds are cleaning house, both in the front office and apparently on the field as well. Scott Williamson was traded to the Red Sox on Tuesday, July 29. Reitsma and Felix Heredia will share in the closing duties, perhaps with both getting two-inning saves at a time. Interim manager Dave Miley said that rookie Ryan Wagner would not be part of that committee, at least for now. The recently acquired Joe Valentine might also be part of the picture over the long-term.

Team: Cleveland Indians
Closer: Danys Baez
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: David Riske, Jason Boyd, Terry Mulholland
Notes: Baez has been off and on during July - he's been ineffective of four of his last six outings, including a loss Friday (7-25) against Minnesota. That established, Baez has never been close to losing his job, as manager Eric Wedge has been a strong supporter all season. David Riske has better numbers than Baez just about across the board, so if Baez were to get hurt, Riske figures to get the ball.

Team: Colorado Rockies
Closer: Justin Speier
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: Brian Fuentes, Jose Jimenez, Steve Reed,
Notes: Speier and Fuentes have alternated save situations since Jose Jimenez was officially demoted to a setup role. It looks like manager Clint Hurdle won't let Fuentes' left-handedness hinder him from pitching full innings. Reed could be perhaps the team's most stable reliever. Jimenez has been demoted to a right-handed setup role for now, and is now on the trading block, albeit with few likely suitors.

Team: Detroit Tigers
Closer: Chris Mears
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Jamie Walker, Chris Spurling, Fernando Rodney, Steve Sparks, Franklyn German (minors), Matt Anderson (minors)
Notes: Mears has only been hit once in 12 appearances, and he's a perfect 5-for-5 on save chances, including a conversion on July 24. The Tigers aren't going to win a lot of games, but when they're ahead late, Mears will see the ball. Walker has struggled in three of his last six outings, including one on 7-24. Anderson, the forgotten former closer down on the farm, is having arm trouble again and might be shut down for the year, the Tigers reported on July 23.

Team: Florida Marlins
Closer: Braden Looper
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Ugueth Urbina, Armando Almanza, Allen Levrault, Tim Spooneybarger (injured)
Notes: Looper has allowed six runs in his last two appearances (though in the second three-run outing, coming on Saturday 7-26, he still got a save), so perhaps the door could be opening for Urbina to get some looks, too. Urbina wasn't scored upon in his first four NL appearances, though that streak ended when he allowed a seventh-inning homer to Placido Polanco on July 25, blowing a win for Dontrelle Willis in the process. Spooneybarger can't stay healthy and wasn't consistent before the injury. Vlad Nunez continues to implode, whether he's in the majors or in Triple-A. Almanza's 41:17 K:BB ratio over 37.2 innings (as of 7/1) indicates that he could probably handle the job if pressed.

Team: Houston Astros
Closer: Billy Wagner
Stability: High
Health: Good
Next in line: Octavio Dotel, Brad Lidge, Kirk Saarloos, Ricky Stone
Notes: Wagner keeps rolling along, with nine staight saves over the last three weeks, including one on July 26. Dotel, meanwhile, is in a funk, having allowed four home runs over seven appearances, including his loss on July 25 when Moises Alou took him deep. As for the third amigo, Lidge, he's now back in form after a mini-slump in late June. He hasn't allowed a run over 13 appearances (though July 26), with 17 strikeouts over 12.2 innings.

Team: Kansas City Royals
Closer: Mike MacDougal
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: D.J. Carrasco, Curtis Leskanic
Notes: MacDougal struggled out of the second-half gates, actually getting pulled in a game against Seattle. Coaches downplayed it as mechanical. Still, he's someone to watch before committing. D.J. Carrasco got the call in that game, only to falter and give way to Leskanic.

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Closer: Eric Gagne
Stability: Very High
Health: Good
Next in line: Paul Shuey, Guillermo Mota, Paul Quantrill
Notes: Gagne is now 34-for-34 in save chances, including his conversion on July 22 (and not including the All-Star Game, of course). Mota has been mentioned prominently in trade rumors as the Dodgers are fishing for more offense.

Team: Milwaukee Brewers
Closer: Danny Kolb
Stability: Very Low
Health: Good
Next in line: Leo Estrella, Mike DeJean, Luis Vizcaino, Valerio De Los Santos
Notes: Kolb took two steps up with saves on July 19 and July 22, but he earned a loss Wednesday (7-23), allowing an 11th inning homer to Lance Berkman. Estrella picked up the save Thursday (7-24), making him 3-of-4 on save chances this year. Valerio De Los Santos, of all people, was given a ninth-inning save chance Wednesday and promptly blew it; he also picked up a loss Saturday (7-26) with a messy four-run outing (he didn't retire a batter). DeJean has been pretty reliable since moving to middle relief, though he allowed one run (and five baserunners) over two innings at Colorado Saturday. Estrella was hit for two runs in the same game. working in a non-save situation.

Team: Minnesota Twins
Closer: Eddie Guardado
Stability: High
Health: Good
Next in line: LaTroy Hawkins, Johan Santana, J.C. Romero
Notes: Santana isn't really used in a set-up capacity, and is a better candidate for the starting rotation. Still, if anything were to happen to Guardado, Santana might be a better choice than Hawkins (who has struggled in the closer's role before) or Romero (who has been bothered by a groin injury all year, and hasn't pitched nearly as well as he had last year).

Team: Montreal Expos
Closer: Rocky Biddle
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Julio Manon, Luis Ayala, Scott Stewart, Joey Eischen, T.J. Tucker
Notes: After going almost two weeks without a save chance, Biddle got one - and converted it - on July 23, then followed up with another on July 24. He blew his two previous chances, fueling speculation that he could be losing his grip on the job after three full months as the man at the end. Ayala is now back from his shoulder injury, and he got a win in his second appearance (7-25), working two scoreless innings despite the fact that he allowed four baserunners.

Team: New York Yankees
Closer: Mariano Rivera
Stability: Very High
Health: Good
Next in line: Armando Benitez, Chris Hammond, Jesse Orosco, Dan Miceli, Antonio Osuna
Notes: Rivera has been lights-out lately, with 15 saves, three wins, and no blown saves from June 1 to July 23. Benitez becomes the main set-up guy, but won't close unless Rivera needs a day off, or gets hurt; Benitez didn't allowed a run in any of his first three Yankee appearances, including Wednesday's win over Baltimore (7-23). The ancient, but still effective, Orosco was added on July 22, to be the second lefty out of the pen after Chris Hammond.

Team: New York Mets
Closer: John Franco
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: David Weathers, Mike Stanton, Dan Wheeler, Orber Moreno, Tyler Yates, Royce Ring.
Notes: Franco, Wheeler and Stanton all have a save since Armando Benitez was traded (including games through 7-25), which is why it's called a closer-by-committee. Weathers might be the most trusted man of the lot, but he doesn't have a save over that time frame. Moreno is expected to be called up soon, though he'll start as a set-up man and won't be closing right away, if at all. A sleeper candidate for this year and probable closer in 2004 is Ring, who was acquired in the Roberto Alomar deal.

Team: Oakland A's
Closer: Keith Foulke
Stability: Very High
Health: Good
Next in line: Chad Bradford, Ricardo Rincon, Jim Mecir
Notes: Foulke had a rare battle with control Thursday (7-24), walking three, but he still wound up with his 25th save in 29 chances. He may not be automatic, but he's very solid and in no danger of losing his job. Bradford (submarine righty) and Rincon (lefty) could get situational looks on days when Foulke needs a rest.

Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Closer: Jose Mesa
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Mike Williams, Terry Adams, Turk Wendell, Rheal Cormier
Notes: Why did the Phillies trade for Williams and his slider again? The mediocre righty has allowed 11 runs in 10 innings for July, including a messy outing on 7-25. Even if Williams were sharp, it probably wouldn't matter - Larry Bowa is a Mesa man through and through, dating back to when both men were in Seattle.

Team: Pittsburgh Pirates
Closer: Mike Lincoln
Stability: Low
Health: Questionable
Next in line: Brian Boehringer, Joe Beimel, Duaner Sanchez, Mark Corey (minors)
Notes: Lincoln has blown his last two saves after an impressive early start. Brandon Lyon was traded back to the Red Sox after going on the disabled list Friday, July 25, with an elbow injury. Meadows got a save on Wednesday, but it was of the three-inning variety - don't look for him to play an active role in the closer race. Sanchez, touted as a teams "closer of the future" prospect, was called up to replace Lyon on the active roster. Corey leads the PCL in saves at Triple-A Nashville.

Team: San Diego Padres
Closer: Rod Beck
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Jay Witasick, Matt Herges, Brandon Villafuerte (minors)
Notes: Don't look now, but "Shooter" Beck is 12-for-13 in save chances, including his conversion on July 26. As for Trevor Hoffman, he's not expected to pitch this year, as he recovers from arthroscopic shoulder surgery.

Team: Seattle Mariners
Closer: Shigetoshi Hasegawa
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: Kaz Sasaki (injured), Jeff Nelson, Arthur Rhodes, Rafael Soriano, Aaron Taylor
Notes: Sasaki is in line for a return on Aug. 5 (this was still the timetable as of 7/22), and he should get his job back immediately thereafter. Hasegawa has convered seven straight save chances, including one on July 22, and he hasn't allowed a run since June 1.

Team: San Francisco Giants
Closer: Tim Worrell
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Felix Rodriguez, Joe Nathan, Jason Christiansen
Notes: Worrell seems to be over his June slump, as he's 6-for-6 in July, including a save on July 22. Rodriguez has allowed just one run over 14.2 innings, including play of July 22, but barring a collapse from Worrell, F-Rod isn't likely to close.

Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Closer: Jason Isringhausen
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Cal Eldred, Jeff Fassero, Steve Kline, Kiko Calero
Notes: Isringhausen has seven saves and just one blown save through 7-21, with strong numbers (1.15 ERA, .196 batting average against, 14 strikeouts in 15.2 innings). For the time being, no one seems worried about his shoulder.

Team: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Closer: Lance Carter
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Jesus Colome, Travis Harper
Notes: It's pretty much a Lance Carter-Jesus Colome tag team at present. The Devil Rays had four ninth-inning save opportunities during the last week of July (7/26 thru 7/31), and Carter and Colome got two saves apiece, alternating back and forth. Travis Harper is still a closer option _if_ he isn't used earlier in the game in a set-up role (and he likely will be, sice Rays starters don't consistently pitch deep into ballgames).

Team: Texas Rangers
Closer: Francisco Cordero
Stability: Medium
Health: Good
Next in line: Jeff Zimmerman (injured), Aaron Fultz
Notes: With Urbina's trade to Florida, Cordero becomes the closer for the time being until Zimmerman returns. Zimmerman should be starting a rehab assignment soon, but his recovery from elbow surgery could be slow. Cordero's first save chance as the new closer came Wednesday (July 23) against Anaheim; he converted with one scoreless inning.

Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Closer: Cliff Politte
Stability: Low
Health: Good
Next in line: Trever Miller, Aquilino Lopez, Juan Acevedo
Notes: Throw a dart and pick a name - it's impossible to know what's going to happen here. Politte came off the DL Friday and worked a scoreless two-thirds of an inning setting up, but in the same game, Miller struck out four straight men and earned his second save. We also can't look past how awful Politte was before the shoulder forced him to the DL. Acevedo did his best to work his way out of the committee by blowing two saves in five days, including one on July 23. Lopez has been much better as a set-up man than as a ninth-inning guy this season.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:27 pm
by crazybob60
Again thanks for this list jdh, it is nice to have!!!!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:32 pm
by pkarr5000
thanks for the info!

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 3:55 pm
by Madison
Thanks Jdh. We all appreciate it. ;-D

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:00 pm
by d
Thanks jdh ;-D

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 5:06 pm
by thehat
Only potential gaffe on this list is Hoffman, who will apparently be back for SD about Labor Day and figures to resume closing after a game or two to shake off the rust. That should get him 2-3 weeks as their closer this season.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 5:28 pm
by MashinSpuds
Thanks a bunch jdh. I'm still hoping to see a 'very high' sometime next to Kolb, Reitsma, or Lincoln. It would put me at a little more ease anyway...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 5:30 pm
by pkarr5000
magnifico jdh, now if only you could learn to do the fandango...

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 6:47 pm
by DieHardCubbie
Thanks jdh.... ;-D

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2003 11:14 pm
by SteveJeltz
good lookin out.

Mesa stinks. bowa said he's going to closer by comm.