Fantasy Baseball Closer Report and Bullpen Depth Charts: Zach Britton is Back
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton was activated off the disabled list Monday. Manager Buck Showalter has stated that he would prefer Britton’s first outing or two to not be in a closing role but rather in a lower leverage situation. None of this really matters though as it won’t be long until Britton does take over the role from Brad Brach and it also won’t be long until the Orioles trade him. The next 6-7 weeks is all about proving that Britton is healthy to other clubs so the Orioles can trade him should they decide to do so, and make no mistake, they should do so. They are 25 games out of first place in the American League East and 22 games out of a wildcard spot. The season is over. They should be looking to deal anything that isn’t nailed down.
Chicago Cubs: The Cubs didn’t use Brandon Morrow in a save situation last Friday and Saturday, which raised some concerns that he may have suffered an injury. Well, Fantasy owners can relax. Manager Joe Maddon let it be known that Morrow didn’t pitch Friday because he had pitched the prior two days, and he wanted to give him Saturday off also as preventative maintenance. Morrow will get the next save opportunity for Chicago.
Chicago White Sox: Manager Rick Renteria has been playing it coy of late as to who is the team’s closer of late. Joakim Soria has picked up four straight saves, but Renteria stated that although Soria has been closing of late, he has confidence in others to do the job also. That Soria could pitch the seventh, eighth or ninth inning depending on when he’s needed. Renteria is trying to indicate that he doesn’t want to be tied down to one reliever pitching the ninth inning. He would like to use any reliever in any situation depending on who he believes has the best chance to get the outs that the team needs. That’s good for the White Sox but bad for Fantasy owners. I’ll still take Soria right now if you need saves out of Chicago, but it could easily be Nate Jones next week.
New York Mets: Remember last week when we were worried about the Mets going with a committee in the ninth inning and Jeurys Familia possibly losing some save chances? Problem solved. Familia went on the disabled list Friday with a shoulder injury. Familia isn’t expected to be out much longer than the minimum 10 days. It was thought that Robert Gsellman would take over the closing role in his absence, but he pitched during the seventh inning in games versus the Yankees over the weekend with Anthony Swarzak picking up the only save opportunity. You may not want to read to much into this however as manager Mickey Callaway has hinted several times this season that he would like not to have a designated closer but rather use any reliever in any situation depending upon need.
New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman had the Yankee trainers visit the mound Friday which might have raised an eyebrow or two. It turns out that Chapman is dealing with tendinitis in his knee, something he has been pitching through. It doesn’t seem to bother him enough to keep him out of games or put him on the DL, but it could be enough reason for Aaron Boone to manage his workload and make sure he doesn’t pitch three days in a row. Just something to keep in mind.
San Diego Padres: Are the Padres preparing for life without Brad Hand? Possibly, as Kirby Yates seems to be in a timeshare in the closing role with Hand at present time. The Padres should certainly be putting Hand’s name out there in the trade market, but that might not be the only reason for the timeshare. It could also be because Yates has a 1.08 ERA with a 0.96 WHIP while only having walked eight batters and striking out 31 batters in 25 innings. It’s not that Hand has pitched poorly, just that Yates has pitched better. The Padres could also be marketing Yates. He’s 31 years old. It’s not like he’s in their long-term plans either.
San Francisco Giants: Nothing much has changed in San Francisco. Hunter Strickland is still the closer at present. Mark Melancon has made four appearances since coming off the DL and is certainly ready to pitch in high leverage situations. The only question now is if/when manager Bruch Bochy will make the change. Once again, Hunter Strickland isn’t making the decision easy as he has done nothing to show he can’t handle the job. Bochy may be waiting for a bad outing or a series of them to make the decision easier.
Toronto Blue Jays: Roberto Osuna’s stay on administrative leave has now been extended until the end of June. This isn’t a shock as no one truly knows when he will pitch for Toronto again. Ryan Tepera is the current closer for Toronto, but he will only hold that job for as long as he pitches well. His leash is short and Seung-Hwan Oh and John Axford aren’t out of the picture yet.[table “2733” not found /]
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky