May 23, 2012
Relievers for 5/23/12
The closer carousel has stabilized a bit over the past week relative to its frenzied early-season pace, so we’ll have to dig a little bit deeper to find some new relievers of interest…
The vultures were circling the Marlins’ bullpen a couple weeks back as Heath Bell’s struggles became painful to watch, but not much came of it other than a stray save for Edward Mujica (Yahoo! 6%, ESPN 1.4%, CBS 8%) during Heater’s very brief sabbatical. Mujica hasn’t even been the best reliever in Miami’s ‘pen this year—that title belongs to Steve Cishek (Yahoo! 18%, ESPN 6.5%, CBS 23%). Neither looks like a worthwhile own right now, though, as the Marlins are committed to keeping Bell in the ninth, results be damned. Bell has strung together a modest four-outing scoreless streak (over 3 2/3 innings), which doesn’t sound like a lot but is nothing short of a Herculean feat considering where he was three weeks ago. It should buy him some leash, and the Fish seem eager to afford him that.
Despite pitching well enough to have closed for a couple years now, Tyler Clippard (Yahoo! 27%, ESPN 14.9%, CBS 18%) was usually “relegated” to a hybrid long/setup relief role. But with Drew Storen injured and Henry Rodriguez struggling, Clipp may finally get the call, despite Davey Johnson’s insistence that he’s going with a committee. The right-hander has 19 one-inning appearances on his ledger this year, so the Nats appear to have revised their approach in handling him, with former starter Craig Stammen manning Clippard’s old role. A conservative estimate would put Clippard among the top half of closers should he get the gig, so snatch him up now in case he does. Storen, by the way, is tentatively due back sometime around the All-Star break.
As outlined above, Reed (Yahoo! 44%, ESPN 42.6%, CBS 55%) is the guy you want to own in the White Sox bullpen. A six-run meltdown is to blame for his 4.05 ERA, but his 2.13 FIP paints a far rosier picture. Add him now if you still can.
As with Janssen, the Padres’ Dale Thayer (Yahoo! 46%, ESPN 59.4%, CBS 49%) is keeping the seat warm for a household name, in this case Huston Street. Thayer has been lights-out, poaching five saves in as many chances across 10 scoreless innings, and with Street’s return from a strained lat still a couple weeks off, Thayer makes for a nice short-term own with the possibility of more saves.
Fantasy types remain skeptical of Brian Fuentes (Yahoo! 41%, ESPN 40.1 %, CBS 44%), as evidenced by his modest ownership rates despite his solid performance and relative job security. I can’t blame them, really, because to own Fuentes is to eventually be burned by him, but sometimes you’ve got to ride the hot hand in the name of saves. In the past week, the lefty has made three scoreless appearances, earning two saves in the process.