It's been far too long since we've taken a look at the Closers' Grid, but with so much action and news surrounding bullpens these days, it was high time we took a look at some of the current changes that are taking place. Between recent injuries, poor performances and managerial hooks, your fantasy league’s waiver wire is likely a hotbed of action. Here’s a quick look at some of the recent changes that have occurred and we’ll follow them up with a new and updated version of the grid.
Let’s actually start in Chicago with the most recent news, but we’re actually turning to the South Side where Robin Ventura has officially removed Chris Sale from the rotation and bumped Hector Santiago from the closer’s role. Apparently, Sale has been experiencing some tenderness in his elbow and the decision was made to take him off of a starter’s workload in an effort to spare the arm. Unfortunately though, I find it difficult to believe that his elbow is going to get any real rest since now he’s going to come in for the ninth and just throw it as hard as he can for one inning. Sure, he’ll throw less pitches, but he’s going to be more amped up in his new role and will likely put just as much strain on the elbow as he would being a starter and holding back some of the heat to save it for later. So I wouldn’t just dismiss Santiago just yet, because it now sounds like there’s a good chance Sale could hurt himself and end up on the DL sooner than later. That’s planning for the future though, as the present has Sale notching the saves.
Across town, manager Dale Sveum has made good on his recent comments and removed Carlos Marmol for the closer’s role. He’s going to leave Kerry Wood in his usual set-up role because he likes using him in the sixth and seventh innings, so expect to see an early platoon of Rafael Dolis and James Russell. There’s no word as to who will get the majority of the work, but early speculation has it going to Dolis. This is, more than likely, just a temporary situation as Sveum will eventually put Marmol back in the role if he turns things around quickly.
As for the Mariano Rivera saga, what more needs to be said? Exactly. Nothing. It’s a horrible shame and if you own Mo, then hopefully you’ve already scooped up David Robertson. Word is that he is where the Yankees are leaning, but don’t count out Rafael Soriano just yet. There is still a chance that the former Rays reliever gets some save opportunities as well.
Arizona closer J.J. Putz blew another one and it could just be a matter of days before manager Kurt Gibson tires of the late inning dramatics and replaces Putz with David Hernandez, who filled in admirably last year when Putz was hurt. There is also the possibility that Bryan Shaw gets some extra looks here as he has been used in a similar role to Hernandez’ and could find his way into a few saves.
Ozzie Guillen has given another vote of confidence to Heath Bell, but that could all be lip service for all we know. Bell has been somewhat of a train wreck this year and so his drop in Ks from last year is looking more like an indicator than an aberration. Both Steve Cisheck and Edward Mujica could get some work if Ozzie decided to give Bell the boot.
The news has been out for a while now, but it’s worth noting that what happened to Jordan Walden this year is exactly what he did to Fernando Rodney (who is killing it in Tampa) last season. Mike Scioscia, again, went with a super quick hook and got himself a reliever for the year, but certainly nothing beyond that. Scott Downs is getting the saves for the Halos now.
And finally, before we get to the grid, just keep an eye on the other situation in New York. Frank Francisco is technically still the closer, but the leash is getting shorter and shorter. There’s a very strong chance that Jon Rauch becomes worth a look in your fantasy league as he would be the one to take over.
The scene is as volatile as ever, so if you’re in need of saves, worry not. Plenty more are likely on the way.
Now here's the grid...
|Closer||On Deck||In the Hole|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||J.J. Putz||David Hernandez||Bryan Shaw|
|Atlanta Braves||Craig Kimbrel||Johnny Venters||Eric O'Flaherty|
|Baltimore Orioles||Jim Johnson||Matt Lindstrom||Kevin Gregg|
|Boston Red Sox||Alfredo Aceves||Franklin Morales||Vicente Padilla|
|Chicago Cubs||Rafael Dolis||James Russell||Carlos Marmol|
|Chicago White Sox||Chris Sale||Hector Santiago||Matt Thornton|
|Cincinnati Reds||Sean Marshall||Aroldis Chapman||Nick Masset|
|Cleveland Indians||Chris Perez||Vinnie Pestano||Tony Sipp|
|Colorado Rockies||Rafael Betancourt||Rex Brothers||Matt Belisle|
|Detroit Tigers||Jose Valverde||Joaquin Benoit||Octavio Dotel|
|Houston Astros||Brett Myers||Wilton Lopez||Brandon Lyon|
|Kansas City Royals||Jonathan Broxton||Aaron Crow||Kelvin Herrera|
|Los Angeles Angels||Scott Downs||Jordan Walden||LaTroy Hawkins|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Javy Guerra||Kenley Jansen||Matt Guerrier|
|Miami Marlins||Heath Bell||Edward Mujica||Steve Cishek|
|Milwaukee Brewers||John Axford||Francisco Rodriguez||Jose Veras|
|Minnesota Twins||Matt Capps||Glen Perkins||Alex Burnett|
|New York Mets||Frank Francisco||Jon Rauch||Ramon Ramirez|
|New York Yankees||David Robertson||Rafael Soriano||Boone Logan|
|Oakland Athletics||Grant Balfour||Brian Fuentes||Jordan Norberto|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Jonathan Papelbon||Antonio Bastardo||Chad Qualls|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Joel Hanrahan||Juan Cruz||Jason Grilli|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Jason Motte||Fernando Salas||Mitchell Boggs|
|San Diego Padres||Huston Street||Andrew Cashner||Luke Gregerson|
|San Francisco Giants||Santiago Casilla||Sergio Romo||Javier Lopez|
|Seattle Mariners||Brandon League||Tom Wilhelmsen||Hisashi Iwakuma|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Fernando Rodney||Joel Peralta||J.P. Howell|
|Texas Rangers||Joe Nathan||Mike Adams||Koji Uehara|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Francisco Cordero||Jason Frasor||Casey Janssen|
|Washington Nationals||Henry Rodriguez||Tyler Clippard||Sean Burnett|
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over ten years on a variety of web sites including his own, The Fantasy Baseball Buzz. You can follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or email him at email@example.com.