Welcome to the Closer Report, where each week we will give you the information you need to keep up with volatile bullpen situations around the league and update you on injuries to closers and who their replacements will be.
There has been only one major closer change since last time the Closer Report was published. It happened in Philadelphia, where Tom Gordon hit the DL and Brett Myers took over his role. Even though Myers took over just because Gordon hit the DL, this may not be temporary. Myers has looked excellent and there is reason to believe the job will be his even after Gordon comes back. Here’s some other NL news:
Closer: Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano
In Waiting: Bob Wickman (DL)
Verdict: Wickman hit the DL with an upper back strain, but he didn’t go out smoothly. In his last three outings before landing on the DL, he pitched only 1.2 innings, gave up 6 runs, blew two saves and took a loss without successfully closing out any games. It seems like it will be a closer by committee for now, with the Braves playing matchups to determine who closes. Both Soriano and Gonzalez should be owned.
Closer: Henry Owens
In Waiting: Jorge Julio, Taylor Tankersley
Verdict: Even though Owens has looked great in the closer role and Julio looked horrible before he went on the DL, Manager Fredi Gonzalez says, “Our plan is for [Julio] to be the closer.” Until Julio gets consistent game action, don’t pick him up unless you have a roster spot available. Even if Julio gets the job there’s a chance he may lose it, so hold onto Owens.
Closer: Armando Benitez
In Waiting: Brad Hennessey
Verdict: Benitez has looked pretty good outside of his May 9th loss, and currently has a firm grip on the closer job. However, Benitez has a history of injuries and Hennessey has looked great in relief work this year. He is certainly second on the Giants depth chart at closer right now.
And now to the AL…
Closer: Jason Frasor
In Waiting: Jeremy Accardo
Verdict: Frasor’s ERA has ballooned to over 6 with three straight bad outings from April 28 to May 3. It appears the job is still his but manager John Gibbons wasn’t willing to say Frasor was the go-to guy in the 9th inning when asked. Right now the Blue Jays aren’t playing very well so it may be a while till they sort this one out.
Closer: Akinori Otsuka
In Waiting: Eric Gagne
Verdict: Otsuka looked decent while Gagne was on the DL, but did have a blown save and gave up his first ERs of the year. Gagne is expected to take the closer role back after returning from the DL but Otsuka owners should definitely hang on, knowing that Gagne could return to the DL at any time.
Closer: Todd Jones
In Waiting: Fernando Rodney
Volatility: Very Low
Verdict: There is no chance Jones is being challenged right now, as he is sporting a 2.65 ERA with 13 saves. The thing here is, Joel Zumaya tore a tendon in his right middle finger. He will be out for at least three months and this pretty much eradicates the chances of him taking over the closer role for Detroit like some had hoped he would do this season.
-I jinxed Wickman, Hoffman, and Otsuka as they all gave up runs within days of me mentioning that they hadn’t yet given up a run.
-Francisco Cordero finally allowed his first ER of the season on May 8, giving him a 0.54 ERA with 15 saves.
-While Dan Wheeler’s ERA slowly climbs, so does his save total, as he picked up 4 last week.
-Mariano’s ERA is still over 7
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