Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Marmol, more

by Nicholas Minnix on May 4, 2012 @ 12:15:08 PDT


What are the odds that you still own the relief pitchers you rostered in your fantasy baseball draft?'s Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

New York Yankees

Closer: David Robertson, Rafael Soriano

You've heard the news. Now, it's a question of which of Joe Girardi's setup men will replace Mariano Rivera. Late on Thursday night, Girardi told the media that he'd drink himself into a coma and let the people know what he decided when he felt like it. Or at least that's what we heard.

It isn't easy to bid adieu to the best who ever did the job, so when Mo's skipper is abruptly confronted with the tough goodbyes, he has to wait for the shock to wear off. He indicated that he was leaning toward the filthy Robertson, however.

Robertson has been an eighth-inning rock, with that ridiculous K/9. He should be owned in all formats, but he may already be hard to find. Soriano still warrants a roster spot in the majority of leagues, though. He may see opportunities, and he's not a bad reliever, either - easy to forget against the backdrop of his bullpen mate.

Job security score: 5
Health score:

Chicago Cubs

Closer: Committee
Understudy: James Russell, Rafael Dolis
Lurkers: Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol

Toronto Blue Jays RP Sergio Santos
Santos on the mend

Tim was all over it. Dale Sveum officially kicked Marmol off the seat, and Toni Ginnetti (Chicago Sun-Times) revealed that the skipper plans to go with the dreaded committee initially.

Russell sounds like the leader of the matchup militia, despite the fact that he's the Cubs' only lefty in the 'pen. His repertoire and ability to generate K's has helped him to become the North Siders' most effective reliever, which is frankly all that Sveum seems to care about at the moment - understandably. He's the best choice in any league, and probably the only rational addition in a mixed league.

Dolis has already picked up a save - in relief of Marmol, in fact - but he has more difficulty getting himself out of trouble that he gets himself into. He warrants an NL-only roster spot. Wood in theory is a possibility, but Sveum hasn't yet mentioned him. Those in deep NL leagues could tuck him away.

The manager wants to restore Marmol's confidence and be able to reinstall him in the ninth. That much is certain. How long will that take? Who knows. The staff has been working with him for nearly three months.

They want him to be more aggressive. They want him to throw his fastball. It's probably fair to say that Marmol lost the job more so because he was doing less of both than because he was blowing saves, although they go hand in hand. In most leagues, keep Marmol around, but if you're in a very shallow league and you have more pressing needs, you could take a shot and cut bait.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

Sergio Santos (inflammation in right shoulder) hopes that he's ready to be activated from the disabled list in two to three weeks, per the Toronto Blue Jays' official site. His rehab will consist of some shoulder strengthening exercises before he begins throwing, which he's expected to do on Tuesday.

Considering the difficulty that Francisco Cordero has had in his appearances, especially save chances, Santos won't have any trouble reclaiming his job at the back end, despite his up-and-down start.


Naturally, on a day that the struggling Heath Bell was unavailable, the Miami Marlins came face to face with a save situation. The effective Steve Cishek also had Thursday off, so Edward Mujica was Ozzie Guillen's clear fallback plan, with Ryan Webb the backup ... backup. Mujica gave up a one-out single but otherwise had no trouble retiring the San Francisco Giants in the ninth to preserve Miami's 3-2 victory.

As Tim discussed yesterday, Guillen seemed to rethink the stance he recently took on Bell's job security, but the 34-year-old has chiseled away some of his skipper's confidence. Ozzie has alternatives, should Bell need a break. Ultimately, the Fish want Bell shutting the door. The vet may need a break sooner or later, though.

Yesterday, Mujica may have scored a point to pull ahead of Cishek in the roto contingency plan, but either is a good stash in pretty deep leagues.


It's unlikely that Jesse Crain will factor heavily into the saves race in the Chicago White Sox's bullpen, but he's been a reliable setup man for the past two-plus seasons. His recovery from a strained oblique hasn't gone smoothly, but the righty has been throwing and is close to beginning a rehab stint.


The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim haven't pulled off a deal for Grant Balfour, Joel Hanrahan or Brandon League, but they picked up bullpen help from the San Diego Padres (usually not a bad source of it). The Halos acquired Ernesto Frieri for infielder Alexi Amarista and reliever Donn Roach.

Frieri has a 2.33 ERA in 108 1/3 MLB innings and boasts an 11.38 K/9 and 4.65 BB/9. Despite his salivating rate of strikeouts thanks largely to a darting heater, the right-hander isn't considered an option to close. Given the Angels' problems in the bullpen, nothing can be ruled out, though. He could fill in on a day off or in matchup arrangements, and the peripherals make enough to warrant deep AL consideration.

Frieri's home ERA and road ERA are virtually identical, but PETCO Park helped to hide negative results of his extreme fly-ball nature. He generates infield flies often, at least, and moves to a park that favors pitchers as well, although not nearly to that extreme.

Other Thursday saviors

Fernando Rodney (9), Rays
Chris Perez (9), Indians
Henry Rodriguez (6), Nationals Bounced back nicely from 1st BS
Jonathan Broxton (5), Royals Induced 2 weak grounders, 1 for DP, to smother Yanks' rally
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Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

About Nicholas Minnix

Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.

The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.

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