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Early Bird League
Mon Jul 2, 2012 1:01am|
By Nicholas Minnix
KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.
On Sunday, the San Francisco Giants came face-to-face with a save opportunity in the ninth inning against the Cincinnati Reds. Bruce Bochy elected to open the inning with lefty Javier Lopez because Jay Bruce led off. Bruce singled, however, so Bochy turned to the righty who has served as closer, Santiago Casilla, with Ryan Ludwick coming to the dish.
Apparently, Bochy is devoted to stereotypical matchup assumptions or was unaware of Ludwick's penchant for hitting right-handers, because the Reds' left fielder singled, too. Then Todd Frazier. Then Miguel Cairo, who drove in Bruce, which put a run on Lopez's ledger and a BS on Casilla's.
The reliever bore down and struck out the next two batters before inducing a lineout, but the damage had been done - temporarily. The Giants tallied in the bottom of the frame (Bruce's buffoonery a separate matter) to walk off with a W credited to Casilla.
In the past month, the right-hander has been touchable on a handful of occasions, including three in a row toward the end of June and four of his past five. Sergio Romo continues to sparkle, so Casilla better watch his back if he doesn't get the job done again soon.
Andrew Bailey threw from 150 feet on Sunday morning, and the Boston Red Sox seemed most eager to see how he would feel on Monday. The club could get him back sometime within the next month, so fantasy owners should consider stashing him in leagues where he's available.
Bobby Valentine, however, has tempered the urgency to do so. In John Hickey's ESPN Boston report, the Red Sox's manager wouldn't commit to Bailey as closer once he's back. Bobby V likes and has been pleased with Alfredo Aceves' performance in the role, understandably, and he probably doesn't want to disrupt one of the few things that has gone well in his bullpen.
This past weekend, Terry Collins told inquiring minds that Frank Francisco (oblique strain) will get his job back when he returns from the DL. TC inserted the caveat '... if he's throwing like he was ...' but it was pretty clear that he's committed to Frank Frank.
Bobby Parnell has been the New York Mets' best reliever this season. If he performs will in the interim and converts his chances, he'll have made his case, at least. Collins should be more inclined 'to ease Francisco back into the role,' at least. Then, the Mets' offseason acquisition will have to demonstrate his recent pre-injury form.
Parnell to stick? Unlikely, but far from impossible.
This past weekend, the Tampa Bay Rays activated Kyle Farnsworth (strain in right elbow) from the DL. As roto owners should know by now, All-Star Fernando Rodney is retaining the closer's gig. Farnsie is still a worthwhile own in AL leagues, at least, because of the chance that Rodney will encounter a health problem.
Farnsworth's deal expires at the end of this year. Tampa Bay doesn't have the firepower to go deep into the postseason, so the club may put the right-hander on the block. The right situation (like, the Mets'?) could put him back into consideration to close again. It's unlikely, but ya never know.
Rodney, like Farnsworth was last year, is on a deal that has an affordable option after this season. He's almost certainly not going anywhere. The right-hander recorded his 22nd save of the season this past weekend.
This past weekend, Ron Gardenhire reiterated that the goal is to get Matt Capps (shoulder inflammation) back right after the All-Star break. The manager wasn't certain of a plan then, but Capps was to play catch on Monday and hopes to pitch for Class A Fort Myers on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
Right on schedule, if it goes down like that. A couple of weeks of steady performance would probably still give the Minnesota Twins a legit opportunity to trade Capps. That would still leave Glen Perkins and Jared Burton to duel for duties post-Capps, of course, so hang on in very deep leagues.
Cancel the Francisco-Parnell soap opera before the pilot airs, of course, if the Mets trade for a closer-worthy bullpen arm. The New York Daily News was among sources that reported a phone call to the San Diego Padres about Huston Street.
The Mets were also rumored to be interested in the Oakland Athletics' Grant Balfour, too, although the right-hander is simply a threat to whoever is in the closer's chair, not a definite usurper.
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