Jason Grilli is out and Mark Melancon is in. This one was kind of a surprise. Grilli had a bad game last Friday and gave up home runs Tuesday and Thursday, but there are closers out there who have done much worse and still have their job. Grilli hasn’t been the same man we saw last year, but this year Melancon picked up right where he left off in September. While Grilli owners may not be happy, those new Melancon owners are as are the fans in Pittsburgh. This may only be temporary, but something tells me once Melancon digs in, there will be no removing him.
Ernesto Frieri has been given every chance to succeed as a closer, and he keeps handing those chances back. Mike Scioscia stated he’s not going with a defined closer so Frieri still has
a second chance a third chance another chance to reclaim the job for his own. Those of you who have your finger on the button to pick up Joe Smith, slowly remove your finger and back away slowly. Looking at the roster Smith is the only obvious choice to take over, but we are dealing with Scioscia here and he went with Cam Bedrosian in a game this week. Frieri is his boy and nobody can tell him different, just like he stuck with his boy Raul Ibanez while C.J. Cron rode the pine most nights and Grant Green was sent back to AAA. An official change might not come for weeks, and even then it might only be temporary.
Sergio Romo blew his 3rd and 4th save of the year last Friday and Saturday and hasn’t pitched since. He had similar troubles at the end of May, but nothing like this. With Romo a free agent at the end of the season and the Giants on top in the NL West, you can expect a change soon if this happens again. Jean Machi would be the obvious choice for saves, but like I said last week the obvious choice hasn’t always been the guy who received the shot. If you’re speculating on who to grab, I would look at Santiago Casilla. He saved 25 games for the Giants in 2012 and has been the most consistent relief pitcher on the team since 2010. Casilla returned from the DL on Wednesday from a hamstring injury and looked to be in great form. A good game by Romo next time out could silence things for a while, but if he blows up again, all bets are off. Both Machi & Casilla should be on your watch list Now.
A few other notes that can be covered with bullets.
- Hector Rondon added some much-needed job security with a save on Friday. While Neil Ramirez is the obvious handcuff and one to keep an eye on, there is no imminent change on the horizon.
- The chants to remove Trevor Rosenthal have silenced with his 1.17 ERA in June. He’s still walking way too many batters, but at least he’s keeping them from scoring.
- Joakim Soria gets very little love and attention from the fantasy community, but he has earned and deserves it. He may only have 15 saves, but with a 1.80 ERA, 0.64 WHIP and 12.24 K/9, the overall package has been phenomenal. Just sayin.
- A change in arm slot seems to have done the trick as Joe Nathan earned 2 clean saves this week. He blew his 3rd save chance but got credit for the win thanks to a double by Miguel Cabrera. I recommended Nathan as a buy low candidate several weeks back. Hopefully one of you out there listened to me.
- If John Axford was two steps closer to regaining his job, he took a giant leap back on Friday. J.D. Martinez blasted a 3 run home run which gave Detroit the lead and eventual win. Cody Allen‘s job just got a little more secure.
- The Braves suffered a loss with David Carpenter hitting the DL with a strained biceps. Fortunately Jordan Walden was activated earlier in the week to ease the pain and rookie Shea Simmons has been on point.
- Sergio Santos returned this week to Toronto. He has looked good in the three games he’s played in so far, lets hope the guy we saw in April and May doesn’t show up again.
Below are my current closer rankings and the (alleged) player next in line for save opportunities. The Next in line guy may not be the man who has been setting the table, but as I explained last week, things have changed this year. Some teams have one clear-cut choice and the next in line guy is the current setup man, but for teams with several options I’ve listed the alternate player who may play a role in the save game.
Job security (1 = All Clear, 2 = solid ground, 3 = shaky ground, 4 = rocky ground, 5 = Avalanche…RUN
|Closer||Security||Team||Current Setup Man||Next in Line|
|1||Craig Kimbrel||1||Braves||Shea Simmons||Jordan Walden|
|2||Greg Holland||1||Royals||Wade Davis|
|3||Aroldis Chapman||1||Reds||Jonathan Broxton|
|4||Koji Uehara||1||RedSox||Junichi Tazawa||Andrew Miller|
|5||Kenley Jansen||1||Dodgers||Brian Wilson|
|6||Francisco Rodriguez||1||Brewers||Will Smith|
|7||Huston Street||1||Padres||Joaquin Benoit|
|8||Glen Perkins||1||Twins||Casey Fien|
|9||David Robertson||1||Yankees||Dellin Betances|
|10||Trevor Rosenthal||1||Cardinals||Pat Neshek|
|11||Rafael Soriano||1||Nationals||Tyler Clippard||Drew Storen|
|12||Casey Janssen||2||Blue Jays||Aaron Loop|
|13||Joakim Soria||2||Rangers||Jason Frasor|
|14||Sean Doolittle||2||Athletics||Luke Gregerson|
|15||Jonathan Papelbon||1||Phillies||Jake Diekman||Antonio Bastardo|
|16||Steve Cishek||1||Marlins||Mike Dunn||A.J. Ramos|
|17||Mark Melancon||3||Pirates||Jason Grilli||Tony Watson|
|18||Zach Britton||2.5||Orioles||Darren O’Day|
|19||Joe Nathan||2||Tigers||Joba Chamberlain||Al Alburquerque|
|20||Fernando Rodney||2||Mariners||Danny Farquhar||Tom Wilhelmsen|
|21||Sergio Romo||2||Giants||Jean Machi||Santiago Casilla|
|22||Addison Reed||2||Diamondbacks||Brad Ziegler|
|23||Hector Rondon||2.5||Cubs||Pedro Strop||Neil Ramirez|
|24||LaTroy Hawkins||2.5||Rockies||Rex Brothers||Adam Ottavino|
|26||Cody Allen||4||Indians||Bryan Shaw||John Axford?|
|27||Ernesto Frieri||5||Angels||Joe Smith|
|28||Jenrry Mejia||4||Mets||Vic Black||Jenrry Mejia|
|29||Ronald Belisario||5||White Sox||Zach Putnam||Daniel Webb|
|30||Grant Balfour||4||Rays||Joel Peralta||Jake McGee|
If the next in line box is empty, the setup man and next in line guy are one in the same.
If the current setup man is empty, the team uses multiple options.