The Latest Closer News and Insights, Plus Full Fantasy Bullpen Depth Charts
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton has been cleared to throw off a mound and is scheduled to throw batting practice on May 15. Britton is on the 60-day DL and the earliest he can be removed from the list is May 28, which could be right around the time he’s ready to return to Baltimore, assuming he doesn’t suffer any setbacks. As if there was any doubt, Darren O’Day is the closer for Baltimore right now as Brad Brach has continued his poor season by giving up at least one run in four of his last six outings. O’Day is far from a lights out closer and his days are numbered in the position, but if you need saves, he could get you a couple this month.
Cleveland Indians: Andrew Miller is expected to return to the Cleveland bullpen no later than this coming weekend. His return won’t come a minute too soon as the entire bullpen, including closer Cody Allen, has struggled in his absence. Allen will still be the closer upon Miller’s return but could lose a save opportunity here and there with Miller back in action.
Houston Astros: Ken Giles hasn’t pitched since giving up four runs in 1/3 of an inning versus the Yankees on May 1. Giles’ hold on the closer position has been slippery at best. The surprising move came when it was Will Harris and not Brad Peacock or Chris Devenski who received the next save chance for Houston. Harris blew that save chance also and is unlikely to be given a second chance. So, who is the current closer for Houston? Probably still Giles, but another poor outing or two may force Houston to go in a different direction and that could point towards Devenski.
Los Angeles Angels: As if it was scripted, Cam Bedrosian blew his first save chance in place of Kenyan Middleton. Will he get another? That remains to be seen. Middleton is not expected to be out long term and could return this weekend or next week from his elbow ailment. Who could close if not Bedrosian? Quite a few people liked Justin Anderson, but he was also rocked over the weekend, giving up three runs without recording an out Saturday. Jim Johnson is also hanging around in this bullpen. This could be a full-blown committee until Mike Scioscia finds someone he can trust and that may not happen before Middleton returns.
Milwaukee Brewers: Corey Knebel is scheduled to return to the Brewers and the closing role before the week is out. The only hurdle Knebel has yet to clear is pitching on back-to-back days and that should come shortly. While it’s true that Milwaukee could ease him back into high leverage situations, he will be the team’s closer sooner rather than later. Josh Hader is a very good reliever, but he is still more valuable to the team pitching multiple innings.
Minnesota Twins: While it looked like Fernando Rodney was pitching himself out of the closer role, three straight saves and five straight scoreless outings have put that fear to rest. It’s still likely that we will revisit Rodney’s job security and the chances for Addison Reed taking over the role at another point this season.
St. Louis Cardinals: With Bud Norris day-to-day because of a triceps injury, Greg Holland will once again get a shot to close out games for St. Louis. Holland has pitched back-to-back scoreless outings, but we have seen this movie before. Holland has pitched well in a setup role, but not so much when it comes to closing games. Hopefully for Holland’s owners, this time will be different.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon threw a bullpen session over the weekend and is on pace to return when first eligible on May 25. The question will be, should he automatically assume the closing role upon his return? Hunter Strickland has done nothing wrong to lose the job but Melancon was given the big contract and will likely get a chance to close once again. If and when the Giants fall out of contention, maybe by some miracle they will be able to trade Melancon and part of that contract by the trade deadline.
Toronto Blue Jays: It was announced that Roberto Osuna was placed on Administrative leave by the team earlier Tuesday. Osuna was arrested and charged with assault on a woman in Toronto. His court date has been set for June 18. Major League Baseball could elect to suspend him at any time as they don’t need a conviction to do so or could just leave him on Administrative leave until the outcome of their own investigation. We have seen MLB suspend players anywhere from 51 games (Jose Reyes) to 15 games (Jeurys Familia and Steven Wright). As for who will close starting Tuesday for Toronto, the team hasn’t announced whom that might be, so we are unlikely to know until a save situation arises. The options would seem to be Seung-Hwan Oh, Ryan Tepera, John Axford and Tyler Clippard. Oh and Axford do have closing experience and if I had to place a handicap on this quartet, Oh would be my choice. Tepera (2.70 ERA, 1.14 ERA) and Tyler Clippard (1.47 ERA, 0.93 WHIP), could also be the choice for manager John Gibson. The Jays could also drive Fantasy owners crazy and just go with a closer-by-committee or leave it as an open competition until one separates them from the others. It’s still Oh for me, but this is just an educated guess as I can make an argument for and against each reliever.[table “2727” not found /]
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Fernando Rodney Featured Image: (AP Photo/David Banks)