Several Closers On Shaky Ground Already
Baltimore Orioles: Several closers who some might say don’t have the greatest of job security struggled during the first few days of the season. Brad Brach is one of those closers. He blew his first save opportunity of the season by allowing two runs in two-thirds of an inning versus the Twins on Thursday, which had some wondering if he could lose his job to Darren O’Day. Well, yes and no. He did rebound to pitch a scoreless inning versus that same Minnesota team Sunday, so he will certainly get the next save opportunity for Baltimore, but another blown save or three and those rumors will pick up again.
Chicago White Sox: The first save for the White Sox this season went to Joakim Soria. This is not a surprise as Soria was expected to get the first shot at the job. This doesn’t mean that you should release Nate Jones. The worst-case scenario is that Jones will protect your ratios (WHIP and ERA), but he is still expected to get his share of saves this season. At this point in their careers, Jones is the better reliever and via trade or poor performance, he should get his shot at the job before long.
So more or less 3 closer changes on Opening Day (TEX, STL, SF). Going to be a long season of turnover in closers.
— Peter Schoenke (@PeterSchoenke) March 30, 2018
Detroit Tigers: If you own Shane Greene, don’t panic about his less than stellar start. Sure, he has given up three runs (two earned) and five hits in 1.7 IP so far this season, but the truth is that the Tigers just don’t have anyone else to take over the job. It’s Greene or bust.
Los Angeles Angels: Who is the closer for the Angels right now? It’s not Cam Bedrosian, as he was used in the seventh inning in his most recent appearance. Technically, it’s Blake Parker but he has been nothing short of awful in the early going this season, and he may be holding onto the job by a string. He had to be replaced by Kenyan Middleton in his most recent appearance Sunday. This is a mess. Manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t trust Bedrosian in the role, Parker doesn’t seem suited for it, and Middleton may have the stuff to close, but his habit of giving up the long ball surely scares Scioscia. This is a situation worth avoiding if at all possible.
Los Angeles Dodgers: What is wrong with Kenley Jansen? In his first outing of the season, he didn’t hit 90 MPH on the radar gun. Last night, the velocity was better, 91-92, but he was also observed rubbing his shoulder in the dugout and blew the save versus Arizona. This could all be nothing; perhaps he is going through a dead arm period. Fantasy owners may want to cover themselves and claim Josh Fields just in case this “dead arm” is actually an injury.
Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris is another one of those closers with low job security who struggled out of the gate. It concerns some Fantasy owners, and rightfully so, that manager Gabe Kapler doesn’t seem to have much confidence in Neris, or really any of his relievers at this point. The problem is that half of the closers in MLB are in the same boat.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Felipe Rivero rebounded nicely during Sunday’s doubleheader after bombing Opening Day. He picked up saves in both games and should be just fine going forward. There was a reason he was a Top 10 closer at draft time.
St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals made the move that some would say they had to make. They signed Greg Holland to be their closer. Dominic Leone will close out for the remainder of this week but if all goes as planned, Holland will take over the role Monday. Congratulations to all of those Fantasy owners who selected him in their draft, as he could end up being one of the better closers in the game this season.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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Joakim Soria Photo Credit: AP Photo/Orlin Wagner
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