Closer Roles Up For Grabs
One category in fantasy baseball where you can make a quick move in the standings is to have more closers in the lineup than anybody else. With that in mind, let’s take a close look at the closer situation at three National League teams.
NOT STATUS KUO: Kuo new LA closer
Jonathan Broxton has continued to implode since the All-Star Break and manager Joe Torre has finally had to make a move to hang on to late game leads.
Broxton nailed down the National League’s first win in 14 years at the All-Star Game, but Broxton has blown three of his five save chances since. The big man blew leads of four runs against the Phillies and two runs at St. Louis. In eight second-half appearances overall, he has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits over eight innings, with 11 walks and a staggering 10.13 ERA.
Hong-Chiu Kuo will take over the closer job for now and he has Octavio Dotel, acquired from the Pirates, as another potential closer. Dotel closed out 21 wins this season before becoming Broxton’s set up man. Certainly, Dotel knows a thing or two about saves.
“We definitely want him to get it back,” Torre said. “He was the All-Star closer, and he is the reason the National League will have home-field advantage for the World Series. But this game can beat you up a little bit. You just have to be able to fight back. He is capable of that, and he will do that.”
Fantasy Baseball Tip: Based on what Torre has said, we believe that Broxton will get his job back soon. If you can acquire Broxton in a trade from an owner who has given up hope on him, now is the time to get the big man on the cheap.
H-ROD: Hisanori takes over in NY
K-Rod beat up his girlfriend’s Daddy and so the Mets decided to cut him. Clearly, the Players’ Association will appeal, as cutting him just seemed to be an after-thought after he was initially given a two day suspension without pay.
Manager Jerry Manuel said Hisanori Takahashi would likely remain the team’s closer as long as he continues to succeed in the position. Takahashi worked a perfect ninth for his first save Monday.
“For the most part he’ll be the guy if he’s fresh and the matchups look favorable for him,” Manuel said. “He’ll be the guy that we’ll close the games with.”
Takahashi has fared much better as a reliever than as a starter. He is 7-6 with a 4.16 ERA this season in both starting and relief roles. As a reliever, he is 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA.
Fantasy Baseball Tip: If you can pick up Hasinori Takahashi on the cheap, he’s likely to pick up most of the saves for the rest of the Mets season. That being said, this author believes that the Mets situation with K-Rod has officially caused the Mets to self-implode.
In Houston, Matt Lindstrom is out as the Astros’ closer. Lindstrom was 0-3 with two blown saves in his previous four appearances entering Tuesday, allowing nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
ROAR: Brandon Lyon new closer
Manager Brad Mills said Brandon Lyon, who has experience closing with Arizona, will take over as closer. Lyon, who signed a three-year, $15-million deal with the club in December, is certainly capable of handling the closing duties. He has 58 career saves, including 26 with Arizona in 2008 and four with the Astros this year.
General Manager Ed Wade commented that Lindstrom is still the guy for the Astros. “Matt’s done a terrific job for us, and we have a lot of faith in his ability to close games out for us. Fortunately, we’ve got Lyon and the way Wilton Lopez is throwing, it gives us some alternatives. At the end of the day, we want Matt to be the guy in the ninth inning for us.”
Fantasy Baseball Tip: Our advice is that Brandon Lyon is the guy for Houston for the rest of the season. Lindstrom continues to have back spasms and with the Astros going nowhere, we expect Lyon to get most of the saves the rest of the way. Houston didn’t pay Lyon $5 million per year to not be given the chance to earn the job–one that he would have won in spring training had he not missed time due to having a cyst removed.