This time of year can drive a Fantasy owner crazy when it comes time to try and make up ground in the save department. Major League Baseball teams that are out of contention and don’t have a bona fide closer seem to play musical chairs when it comes to finishing out games. They are battle testing players to see who fits the mold for a chance at the full-time role next season. It’s nothing less than an audition. Managers also aren’t that patient at this time of year. They can’t afford to let an inexperienced closer time to grow into the job. A couple of blown saves, sometimes even a single one, could lead to an already tenuous job situation, impossible. We have to remember that managers are people too. They are coaching for their jobs. When you put people in stressful situations, they don’t always react the way they should.
Boston Red Sox: First off, our best wishes go out to manager John Farrell in his battle with lymphoma. There really is no conclusive answer as to who the closer will be. Jean Machi looks to be the answer right now, but that is far from being carved into stone. Junichi Tazawa or even Alexi Ogando could see save opportunities as well. A new interim manager also adds some spice to the mix, as he may have a different idea as to who should close. No matter who ends up being the closer, Koji Uehara (wrist) still has a contract for next season and should regain his closing role.
Chicago Cubs: With a 1.65 ERA and 0.99 WHIP, it’s amazing that manager Joe Maddon ever removed Hector Rondon from the closing role. Sure, Rondon has blown four saves this season and he’s never going to be considered the next Craig Kimbrel or Aroldis Chapman, but he’s good enough to get the job done. Those Fantasy owners who are on their knees praying that Rafael Soriano gets another chance should probably start worrying about something else.
Colorado Rockies: It was literally just announced that manager Walt Weiss has re-installed John Axford
as the closer in Colorado. Tommy Kahnle had a rough couple of outings, giving up five earned runs in less than two innings. Axford will always have his ups and downs but hey, we all need saves, and he’s the one that will get them in Colorado for now.
Detroit Tigers: Now Bruce Rondon did blow his last save opportunity on Saturday, but all signs, including a statement from manager Brad Ausmus, point to him remaining the team’s closer. The Tigers’ season is over. It’s time to find out if Rondon can be the closer of the future. Will there be growing pains? Yes, but why not suffer those pains in a season where mistakes can afford to be made? If you’re in a keeper or dynasty league and looking for a closer, Rondon could be a cheap pick up if he is still available.
Oakland Athletics: Sean Doolittle (shoulder) should be ready to come off the disabled list just about any day now. That is not the question. What is the question is if and when he will regain his closer’s role. Does he need one major league outing, two, three? No one really knows but he should get the job back, it’s not like Edward Mujica is the long term answer. The problem is Doolittle may not be either. It’s anyone’s guess how long he can stay healthy for.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz[table “1409” not found /]