Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: Diamondbacks, Andrew Bailey, more

by Nicholas Minnix on July 12, 2013 @ 13:12:46 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


Arizona Diamondbacks
  Brad Ziegler
J.J. Putz
Heath Bell 
David Hernandez

The Snakes don't know the identity of their closer. This can be a problem for fantasy owners. Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson seem to be at a loss since Bell (ninth inning) and Hernandez (seventh) coughed up leads to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday. KT said that the club would examine internal as well as external choices, although he prefers that the solution be internal, he noted. (Prospect Archie Bradley isn't an option.)

Arizona Diamondbacks RP J.J. Putz
It Putz the lotion on the hot seat

Naturally, given the predicament, Arizona would face a save situation on Thursday evening. Gibson called on Ziegler, who put a bow on a 5-3 victory for Arizona, and afterward responded to a question about whether the right-handed side-armer could get another shot in the ninth this weekend: "He could," so revealingly. "We'll see."

Ziegler's 4.98 K/9 won't excite fantasy owners, but he has a 2.49 ERA, along with two saves (the other coming in extra innings on Independence Day), in 43 1/3 innings. He's doing that one thing most essential to ending a game: getting outs. Of course, last night, he hit the leadoff man and yielded a base hit after a line-drive out to make things interesting.

Lost in this shuffle is the fact that Putz hasn't allowed a base runner in 3 1/3 innings since a blown save chance on July 1 cost him the job. He put the Dodgers down without incident on the night before Towers and Gibson threw up their hands.

The decision-makers have fantasy managers by the baseballs. That's life in this category. Look at this team's pitching staff. Who among the relievers stands out? Why would the Diamondbacks trade for a known back-end reliever when they have plenty of other tough questions to answer?

Putz seems deserving -- whatever that means -- of another look in a save situation. Why he lost the role so quickly isn't clear. Ziegler has endeared himself to his skipper, for one night at least, as far as that job is concerned. Those two seem to be the best bets to roster, with Putz requiring some patience. Meanwhile, Bell and Hernandez are probably better off if they stay out of sight, at least until after the break.

Good luck, fantasy owners. If you have a D'backs reliever, you'll need it.

Boston Red Sox
Junichi Tazawa

Uehara struck out two Seattle Mariners and didn't allow a base runner on Thursday to pick up a Boston Red Sox save on Thursday. The righty is 6-for-8 in conversions since assuming the role for an indefinite period. Unquestionably, he has the skills to remain quite serviceable in the ninth for the balance of the season.

Interesting, however, is Bailey's performance this month: 4 1/3 shutout innings in three games, with two hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Two of the appearances were for five outs. At the open of this week, there were hints that the righty was regaining favor as a back-end option. Yesterday, Bailey discussed his rebound, which he largely attributes to the revival of his cut fastball.

Manager John Farrell has already made comments indicating that he believes his club's best bullpen arrangement is probably one that features Bailey as his closer, too. If these things don't add up to the figurative "writing on the wall," well, then, it's no longer an idiom. And the BoSox's clubhouse walls are blanketed in graffiti.

Of course, an adjusted grip doesn't mean the end of all problems. Bailey may have to prove that the changes will stick. Signs supporting this news are extremely positive, however. Farrell will probably wait for the break to make the switch -- or perhaps longer, if it ain't broke and all -- but sooner or later, Bailey should be closing again. And fantasy owners should've been waiting for it.

Mound meetings up next....

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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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