Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Matt Capps, Francisco Rodriguez, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 18, 2012 @ 12:00:00 PDT



Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts'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)

Minnesota Twins

Closer: Matt Capps DL
Understudy/Fill-in: Glen Perkins, Jared Burton

Milwaukee Brewers RP Francisco Rodriguez
K-Rod wastes no time

Or not. After his ill performance on Monday night in a lopsided contest against the Baltimore Orioles, Capps felt irritation in his right shoulder, specifically in the rotator cuff. On Tuesday night, the Twins placed him back on the DL.

The recurrence of Capps' shoulder problems so soon since his return from the disabled list probably isn't a good sign. At minimum, it'll probably prompt the Twins to be more cautious this time around before activating him. It could also be worse than they realized, unfortunately.

Capps is worth holding until fantasy owners know more. The injury could turn out to be serious, but even if it isn't, this development makes it virtually impossible to trade the reliever before the non-waiver deadline. Capps could eventually appear in save situations again this season. Could.

On Tuesday night, Perkins struck out the side to set up the ninth for Burton, who shut the door on the O's, despite issuing a hit and a walk, for his third save. B'more was scheduled to send two left-handed sticks and a switch-hitter to the dish in the eighth. Interestingly, if Perkins were to pitch a perfect frame - which he did - the Orioles had a similar stack ready in the ninth.

Perkins, by virtue of his more frequent availability and how things played out during Capps' pre-break DL stint, maintains a slight edge for saves prospectors. Burton hasn't been a slouch, though. This time, interest in both should be greater; Capps' absence may be longer, perhaps for the rest of the season.

Job security score: 4
Health score:

Milwaukee Brewers

Closer: Francisco Rodriguez
Understudy/Fill-in: John Axford
Lurkers: Jose Veras, Kameron Loe, Manny Parra

Not long after Closer Hot Seat hit the wire on Tuesday, Axford hit the road to Setupville. So, now it's official: K-Rod is a closer again.

Rodriguez's first save chance with his new title came ASAP, on Tuesday night versus the St. Louis Cardinals. He opened the ninth with a 3-2 lead and gave up a leadoff double and a base knock. Great start! But the right-hander buckled down to retire the next three men without allowing the tying run to cross the plate. Kudos. That's No. 2.

K-Rod's distinct advantage over the Ax this season appears to be his results with men on base. Axford's 5.11 BB/9 is certainly more troubling than his deposer's 3.80 BB/9, but the performance of the deposed has been just ghastly once he's allowed those runners to reach. Axford's inconsistent command doesn't allow him the luxury to fall behind. He becomes too predictable.

Until that changes - or until the Brew Crew trades K-Rod - Ron Roenicke will go with the lesser of two evils. Fantasy owners won't be thrilled with Rodriguez, but the looks on their faces will be priceless if he's dealt because of the potential merry-go-round of options that'd remain.

For what it's worth, Bob Melvin told the media of his enduring confidence in Axford and his hopes that the club will turn the reliever around in short order. Roenicke has been pleased with Parra's performance.

Job security score: 1
Health score:

Mound meetings

Tyler Clippard's ninth-inning performance on Tuesday night against the New York Mets killed the W for Ross Detwiler, who'd pitched extremely well. The Washington Nationals' closer gave up two singles and struck out a batter before serving up a three-run bomb to ... Jordany Valdespin. Clippard retired the next two, but the two-run lead had become a one-run deficit.

He picked a great night to blow one. In his latest rehab appearance, on the same night, Drew Storen (elbow surgery) needed only 11 pitches (10 strikes) to retire the side for Single-A Potomac. The righty fanned two, both swinging. The results suggest that he found the consistent command that had eluded him in previous rehab outings.

Again, Davey Johnson will reconsider his commitment to Tyler Clippard in the ninth once Storen returns and if he demonstrates his dominant form. Clippard has built up some cred with his manager, so it'll take him a couple of rainstorms on the Nats' parade before he's ousted. Still, no one should write off Storen in fantasy leagues; he should be owned, at least in deep ones.


Hold your horses! Bobby Parnell failed to make the Mets' newfound lead in that contest versus the Nats stand up in the bottom of the ninth. Three non-consecutive singles did him in.

New York's bullpen fell apart again in the 10th, with another opportunity to win it, and instead took the loss. Against the backdrop, Parnell still looks like the most competent option. His performance as closer thus far does lend to the idea that he lacks the mental toughness to do the job, though.


The Miami Marlins aren't counting on Juan Oviedo (strained ulnar collateral ligament) to return this season. It's unclear as to whether the club has interest in re-signing him, but he'll probably be in another uni next year.


The Mets continue to flip through the catalog of available relievers. They've reportedly deemed the San Diego Padres' Huston Street and K-Rod too expensive. The Kansas City Royals' Jonathan Broxton interests them a bit, according to one reporter, but it sounds like Grant Balfour is the organization's top target.

How long will Frank Francisco (strained oblique) be out? There's no timetable yet, so if Balfour ends up in the Big Apple prior to Francisco's return, the Oakland Athletics setup man could become the Mets' interim closer.

Other Tuesday saviors

Fernando Rodney (27), Rays
Joel Hanrahan (25), Pirates
Rafael Soriano (24), Yankees
Jonathan Papelbon (21), Phillies
Addison Reed (15), White Sox
Aroldis Chapman (14), Reds
Tom Wilhelmsen (8), Mariners







Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat | AL depth charts | NL depth charts

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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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