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.
So far this season, there have been no major decisions made by MLB managers to change their closers, outside of Phil Garner in Houston (looks like the job is Wheeler’s for good). However, there is no shortage of interesting bullpen situations in the league at this early point in the season. We will start off in the NL:
Closer: Tom Gordon
In Waiting: Brett Myers
Verdict: Charlie Manuel said this week that the job is Gordon’s…for now. "We're committed to [Gordon] until Brett becomes better or whatever, and we'll see from there," Manuel said, “we have to get Myers out there in a save situation and see how things go. I want to break him in right." In most leagues, owners should hold onto Myers, as he should take over the closer role before the end of May. Gordon has not looked great in any of his outings, and fans are pushing for Myers to either be returned to the rotation or put in the closer role.
Closer: Henry Owens
In Waiting: Taylor Tankersley, Renyel Pinto
Verdict: A week ago, manager Fredi Gonzalez said he was 92% sure about who the closer was going to be, and it was easy to assume he was talking about Henry Owens, who was confident that Gonzalez was referring to him. Since then, he has given up 4 ER in 3.2 IP. He was pulled after giving up 2 runs against the Braves and Pinto got the save. The job is still Owens to lose, but he is on a shorter leash now.
Closer: Francisco Cordero
In Waiting: Derrick Turnbow
Volatility: Very Low
Verdict: There is no controversy here, as Cordero has been on fire, getting 3 saves in the past 4 Milwaukee games (all wins). Turnbow got the save Monday, but that was more because Cordero needed a rest after pitching 4 times in 5 days.
And now onto the AL…
Closer: Joakim Soria
In Waiting: David Riske, Octavio Dotel (DL)
Verdict: Not that the Kansas City closer is that important to fantasy owners, but this one has the potential to be a bit of a headache. Neither Soria nor Riske has been great, as Riske has given up a run in three straight, and Soria is coming off a loss. However, they have both picked up saves in the last week, although Riske pitched two innings for his save. It looks like the job is still Soria’s until Dotel comes back in May, but there may not be too many saves here anyway.
Closer: Akinori Otsuka
Injured: Eric Gagne (DL)
Verdict: Here he goes again: Gagne to the DL. After being one of the most dominant closers in the history of the game for a few years, injuries have hurt Gagne big time. He looked pretty good so far this year, and had picked up one save, but strained his right hip after getting one out in the 9th inning on Sunday. Otsuka will close while Gagne is out (2-3 weeks) and could be worth holding onto, because Gagne is no lock for a quick recovery.
Toronto: Closing Notes:
Closer: Jason Frasor
Injured: BJ Ryan (DL)
Verdict: No issues here, but Ryan was recently moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. The job is Frasor’s until Ryan comes back and Frasor has not yet allowed a run in a save situation. Ryan should be able to avoid surgery, but even if he does, he might not be back until around the All-Star Break.
-Mariano Rivera still has not gotten a save and has a 7.11 ERA
-Joe Borowski (CLE) has a 10.00 ERA but has more saves than Billy Wagner and Trevor Hoffman combined
-Salomon Torres is officially done with his Mariano impression and is back to the shakiness that we are used to from Pittsburgh
-Hoffman, Bob Wickman, Francisco Cordero and Akinori Otsuka have yet to give up a run
-The Yankees are in last place in the AL East