Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Bruce Rondon, Edward Mujica, more

by Nicholas Minnix on April 23, 2013 @ 13:19:13 PDT


Pages 1 | 2 | all'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):
1 (unstable)
5 (untouchable)
Health Outlook (HO):
1 (fragile)
5 (durable)
: Up
+: Added
INJ: Injured
: Down
M: Minors
DL: Disabled List


St. Louis Cardinals
Jason Motte DL Edward Mujica
Trevor Rosenthal
Mitchell Boggs
Fernando Salas
Maikel Cleto M

Here's what we think we know about the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen:

  • St. Louis Cardinals RP Edward Mujica
    Mujica to owners' ears
    Motte (partial tear in UCL) is, informally, toast for 2013.
  • Boggs sucks (right now) and isn't getting near a ninth-inning save situation any time soon. (Maybe never again!)
  • Mujica is getting outs -- 22 of them in April, with just one run allowed. That alone gives him a big advantage over Boggs and, in the short term at minimum, anyone else. Mike Matheny and other St. Louis staffers have publicly expressed their confidence in him recently for his ability to do consistently exactly what he's done to this point.
  • Rosenthal is one of those over whom Mujica has an advantage. As Derrick Goold reported (and has been implied for some time), the righty is also the reliever the organization would like to see lay claim to the closer's role, given the circumstances. Matheny even seems to be willing to push him out there sooner or later.

Where does that leave us?

If you scooped up Mujica, you may have the club's closer for the next two weeks, next two months or rest of the season. You cannot know with anything resembling certainty, but the longer the period is that you think he'll remain closer, the likelier you are to be incorrect.

Rosenthal's opportunity to garner saves appears to have a practically inverse relationship with Mujica's. If you have him, you want to hold him. If you don't have him, you want to get him. His price may seem high for a non-closer, but it's unlikely to dip much because of the perception about him.

Mujica will close as long as he pitches well and the alternatives aren't as good. If one or the other changes, all bets are off. Good luck.

Detroit Tigers
Joaquin Benoit Phil Coke
Octavio Dotel DL
Bruce Rondon
Jose Valverde M
Al Alburquerque

The Detroit Tigers called up spring training darling Rondon to replace Dotel (inflammation in right elbow) on the 25-man. The 22-year-old righty didn't allow a run, with five hits and two walks surrendered as well as nine K's, in 7 2/3 innings with Triple-A Toledo. Along the way, he registered three saves.

Valverde has made three one-frame appearances for Class A advanced Lakeland. He's walked two, given up two hits and fanned four. In his last, he struck out the side. The 35-year-old right-hander has to be near a promotion to the Mud Hens. Perhaps Rondon's call-up will be a catalyst for that transaction.

Speculation has abounded that Detroit will deploy Rondon in low-stress situations, with opportunities to move into later innings based on his performance. Eventually, closing consideration could be in play. For that reason, he warrants a spot on fantasy rosters, where folks can spare it.

Valverde's viability gains traction each time he faces greater competition, but the comp still hasn't been great. His salary won't dictate an impetus to give him a shot at the gig, but his ownership of it in the previous two seasons will carry some weight. If you can stand it, you can own him. Los Tigres don't have to promote him by May 8 if they're happy.

Detroit has a very good bullpen. They just don't have someone they call "closer" yet. Jim Leyland won't endorse Benoit for the long term, so Benoit probably isn't the long-term answer, no matter how well he pitches. Unfortunately for Alburquerque (and his owners), it doesn't look good for him, either, although his performance isn't a reason for that.

It sure seems like the Tigers want Rondon to stake his claim, doesn't it?

Mound Meetings....

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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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