When it comes to closers this season, I’m tempted to say trade them all and get what you can for them. This is a ride that no one really wants to be on. Every week, I am forced to add another name (or names) to the list of closers that are hurt or ineffective. If you were one of those Fantasy owners that didn’t draft a closer, then you are in luck this year as there always seem to be a couple on the waiver wire. The problem is the constant churning and turnover at the position. The closer you grab one week may not keep the job the next. I’d be very cautious in how much of your FAAB money you spend as you certainly may not be getting your money’s worth.
We do have some good news this week as David Robertson has been activated off of the disabled list. He could resume his closing duties as soon as Tuesday versus the Red Sox. Some owners may have been thinking that Robertson would lose the job to injury again like he did a few years back but as good as Shawn Kelley has been, he will resume his role as the eighth inning setup man. Should you drop Kelley? He could pick up a save every now and again but unless Robertson were to get hurt again he is highly unlikely to take over the role. His value to Fantasy owners will now be as a WHIP and ERA protector or as a handcuff.
The Yankees weren’t the only New York team to make a change at closer this past week. The Mets removed Jose Valverde from the role and inserted – wait for it – Kyle Farnsworth. Yikes, this wreaks of desperation. How long does anyone really think he will hold onto the job? A week or two? Maybe a month? What I’m trying to say is this: Should Farnsworth be owned? Absolutely, as every closer should, but don’t spend all that much of your FAAB on him. He is likely only a short-term solution for what could be a season-long problem. I still think Vic Black will be the answer there sooner rather than later.
Did your antenna go up Saturday when Craig Kimbrel was removed from a save situation after throwing 24 mostly ineffective pitches? How about Monday when he blew a save versus the Marlins and was throwing mostly off-speed pitches? Kimbrel was dealing with shoulder soreness last week and perhaps he is still working out the kinks, but if I was a Kimbrel owner, I just might be biting my nails a little bit, especially with how this season is working out so far for pitchers. As of right now, I would still buy rather than sell Kimbrel, but that could change in a heartbeat. Should something happen to Kimbrel, Jordan Walden would be next in line to pick up some saves.
Koji Uehara has returned to the closer’s role for Boston and looked pretty good in doing so. Panic may have set in when he missed a little less than a week’s worth of games with a stiff shoulder but all has returned to normal in the Red Sox bullpen.
Cubs manager Rick Renteria stated Monday that the team still wants to get Jose Veras back in the closer’s role. Why? He has been awful this season and isn’t pitching any better in the setup role. Other than trying to give some incentive to Veras, there is very little reason to make this statement. It’s not like Veras is a big (or small) part of their future. He won’t be with the team once they turn things around. Perhaps they want to put Veras back in the role to boost up his trade value. Whatever the reason, it would seem to be a mistake to put Veras on the mound anywhere near the ninth inning. I’m not a huge fan of Pedro Strop but would still rather have him over Veras.
If you’re a Matt Lindstrom owner, what are you going to do? He’s not very good and will be replaced eventually, but for now there is really no one there to take his job. He should remain the closer until Nate Jones returns.
Should Jason Grilli owners be worried (yes, a bit)? He hasn’t pitched well of late, blowing his last two save chances while allowing three runs in the process. It certainly won’t make Fantasy owners feel any better that there is another closer on the team in Mark Melancon. That just makes it really easy for a manager to make the switch. Grilli had some of the heat taken off of him when the team still managed to win the game Monday night, but one more blown save in his next couple of outings could turn the heat up considerably.
Sergio Santos owners caught a break when Casey Janssen had to be shut down with a lower back strain. Santos has been extremely inconsistent since taking over the closer’s role for Janssen. Even when he notches the save it usually comes at the expense of ERA and WHIP. Janssen should get the job back if and when he returns.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.