In the sixth volume of “Save Me,” I’ll run down the wild and wacky world of baseball’s biggest necessity: saves. This is not intended to be a ranking; I’m just offering my opinion as to whom the closer is for each team.
Boston Red Sox – Curt Schilling secured his second save in three chances with a scoreless ninth against the White Sox. Schilling has declared himself ready to step in the rotation, meaning it only took him a week in the major leagues to prepare himself for the struggles of throwing 100 plus pitches a game again. He’s definitely not telling the truth about that situation, and I expect him to keep closing. If the Red Sox brass is stupid enough to move Schilling, pick up Mike Timlin just in case.
New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera easily appears to be the man but he has been getting plenty of work lately and I wonder about his ability to sustain the workload.
Baltimore Orioles – BJ Ryan has been looking very human lately and much of that can be attributed to his 1.14 WHIP.
Toronto Blue Jays – The Blue Jays handed Tony Batista the job at the beginning of the year and the righty has seventeen saves (with three blown). Even though he can bring back quite a bundle on the trade market, Batista figures to stay with the Blue Jays, who can increase their payroll this season and next. Jason Frasor or Justin Spier stand second and third in line, but won’t be necessary.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Lance Carter was sent down the AAA on Saturday and Joe Borowski still hasn’t rediscovered his velocity, even though he’s pitching the eighth inning now for the Rays. Danys Baez continues to throw for scouts and he is not really doing much to dissuade them from trying to make a trade for him, besides a somewhat high WHIP of 1.29. You may want to move him and take a gander at Chad Orvella, who is the next closer for the Devil Rays.
Chicago White Sox – Things aren’t looking that good for Dustin Hermanson, who has come down with a bad back recently. Fantasy owners only care about who is getting the saves in the South side of Chicago and it appears to be Damaso Marte or Cliff Polite if Hermanson is unable to go.
Minnesota Twins – Joe Nathan is the closer – at least until he becomes too expensive for the Twins.
Cleveland Indians – Bob Wickman has good numbers, accruing 24 saves with a 2.74 ERA. Have him on your team if you can stomach his Mesa-esque 1.31 WHIP.
Detroit Tigers – Things just do not go well for the Tigers. First they deal Ugueth Urbina for Placido Polanco, which hurt their bullpen. Then Troy Percival goes down with a forearm injury that will DL him for the remainder of the year. Finally Kyle Farnsworth body slams Royals’ closer Jeremy Affeldt, which results in a five game suspension. Fernando Rodney stands next in line, but with the appeals process, Farnsworth will continue to close for the time being.
Kansas City Royals – Speaking of Affeldt and those pesky Royals, they have a closer and believe it or not, it’s Mike MacDougal. Mac has 15 saves and a 3.47 ERA, but with a 1.37 WHIP, which is a signal that his control is not that good. Does have 6 Saves with an ERA under 1 in July.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Frankie “K-Rod” Rodriguez is the man, but don’t forget about Scot Shields who is almost as valuable in the fantasy game as he is in real life.
Oakland Athletics – Huston Street is the man.
Texas Rangers – Francisco Cordero has over 10 Ks per 9, but his ERA and WHIP are both high, standing at 3.83 and 1.35 respectively.
Seattle Mariners – Those Eddie Guardado rumors have gradually disappeared, but there is still time for the Mariners to move every-day-eddie. JJ Putz might be a good pickup if you have an extra spot available in a deep AL-only league.
Washington Nationals – There might be reason to actually deal Chad Cordero, considering it is nearly impossible for him to repeat the first half numbers he put up. Being used in multiple games repeatedly has to begin wearing on him soon, doesn’t it?
Atlanta Braves – Chris Reistma has closed before and he’s closing again. However, he’s a few mistakes from Danny Kolb or Roman Colon taking over once again.
Philadelphia Phillies – Billy Wagner has an arm and a mouth, and contending clubs know that the Phillies might want to move him. Wagner would bring back plenty, but Ed Wade doesn’t figure to move him.
New York Mets – The Mets’ bullpen is still a tremendous mess, but Braden Looper gets the saves. For better or worse, of course.
Florida Marlins – Todd Jones has been shutting the door and really hasn’t slowed down all year. Guillermo Mota will need Jones to suffer from an injury to reclaim the role. That and some very good pitching on his behalf.
St. Louis Cardinals – Jason Isringhausen had spectacular numbers from All Star Break to All Star Break, including 46 saves.
Chicago Cubs – Ryan Dempster is the closer, but the Cubbies need someone else to help out in the bullpen.
Houston Astros – Any doubts that Brad Lidge is a dominator of the grandest design?
Milwaukee Brewers – Derrick Turnbow is the man. However, he’s auditioning for bullpen work on another team, because the Brewers can’t afford to not deal him for prospects.
Pittsburgh Pirates – The Jose Mesa rumors are dying, but like Guardado and Wickman, Mesa could have a new home. Solomon Torres or Mike Gonzalez will get the save chances if Mesa does get moved.
Cincinnati Reds – David Weathers has had experience at the back of many a bullpen, so this means he’s the man in Cincy. This is a good news/bad news thing, though. Good news: there’s no one to compete against him. Bad news: the Reds don’t get save chances.
San Diego Padres – Trevor Hoffman is easily the guy here.
Los Angeles Dodgers – Yhency Brazoban is looking mortal, which means that some other guys might get the occasional opportunity. Steve Schmoll is someone you might want to keep an eye on in LA.
Arizona Diamondbacks – Rumor has it that Shingo “Mr. Zero” Takatsu is heading to Arizona, to a D’back bullpen desperate for a closer. Closer of the future Brian Bruney has struggled and Brandon Lyon comeback has been much slower than expected.
San Francisco Giants – Tyler Walker is a journeyman who gets the chances in the city by the bay. If you have him on your team, don’t forget he’s apt to get lit up at times. Good news for Giants fans however: Armando Benitez is progressing faster than expected.
Colorado Rockies – Brian Fuentes, an NL All Star, closes for the Rockies and he has 3.00 ERA with 14 saves. One major warning sign is that, while opponents are only hitting .202 against him, Fuentes’ WHIP is 1.24. This means he gives up plenty of walks, but he also strikes out batters, at a rate of 10.40 per 9 innings.