Before I get into my normal article about the wonderful world of closers, I wanted to take a few moments to write about a pitcher that I am completely enamored with and that is the one and only Jose Fernandez. I am in a 16-team, roto, auction-style keeper league and I was very interested in drafting Jose Fernandez before reading some notes to the effect that his secondary stuff needed a lot more work. I decided not to draft him and went with another young pitcher. Needless to say, Jose Fernandez has pretty much been nailz all season long. About a month ago, my team was in last place, so I decided to look towards next year and trade for a protection. I took a gander at each team’s roster and noticed there were not many offensive keepers, so I went after a $1 Jose Fernandez. I offered the owner Zack Greinke for him. I didn’t have to wait long, maybe an hour tops before the owner accepted the trade. I was pumped-- I knew I was giving up a lot but thought maybe this trade would help me out this year as well as next. My offense woke up, Greinke has been decent but Fernandez has been great. Now my squad is in 11th place and charging. I get that Fernandez is not carrying my team but the point is that since I received him, my team has been on a tear, and as a new Fernandez owner, I've been watching more closely, and I've got to tell you that this guy is an absolute stud and an eventual star. His changeup and curveball/ slurve are just sick. I recommend you jump on board the Fernandez train, too, and ride it all the way to Nailz Station.
Week 13 Closer Report
Jim Johnson: On Wednesday, Johnson’s record fell to 2-6 on the season as he blew his fifth save chance. Johnson has really not pitched that well this year, and don't forget that he's never struck out many batters. He had a nice run at the beginning of the season, then went on to blow four consecutive opportunities. After that slump, he turned it around and closed out 12 straight games. Nevertheless, after Wednesday’s debacle, you've got to monitor this situation for fantasy purposes. Most websites have it that Darren O’Day is next in line to man the ninth inning, but I have to disagree. I believe that Tommy Hunter would be the next man up. On Friday, Hunter pitched two innings to pick up his second save on the season. Now, I am not necessarily telling you to run out and grab Hunter, but if you're desperate for saves like me, keep an eye on this, because when changes happen and you want to be the first one to pounce.
Addison Reed: On Thursday evening the Chicago White Sox’s ownership announced that everyone on the team is available for trade except for Chris Sale and Paul Konerko. Notice that Reed's name was not excluded, so he is available for potential trade. Addison Reed is a great closer, but as fantasy owners we need to prepare ourselves for a change at the closer position. The consensus seems to be that Jesse Crain and Matt Lindstrom would replace Reed, but you've got to remember that they are both veteran relievers, and so they'll likely get traded as well. Matt Thornton is another option, but I'm fairly sure that ship sailed years ago-- the White Sox have been there and done that, so he is obviously not the choice. Call it a hunch, but I believe that if all of the above speculation comes to pass, then Nate Jones could get the call to finish out games. I don't he'll be traded because of how fond of him the White Soc front office is. As the next month transpires, keep this situation in mind and get ready to speculate on Nate Jones.
Jason Grilli Cheese: Thursday, June 20, Jason Grilli blew his first save of the season. On Saturday the 22nd, he bounced back to earn his 26th save. Then on the very next day, Grilli gave up 5 hits and 3 runs over 1 inning of relief. Three days later on Wednesday, Mark Melancon was brought in to close, and he converted his second save of the year. Jason Grilli is not in danger of losing the role but he has been struggling a bit of late, and if the wheels start to fall off, then Melancon would be next in line. Again, this is another situation to monitor as the season wears on. Jason has pitched a lot of innings in the first half; he is 36 years old, and he could start to wind down. I certainly don't think this situation is urgent, but keep Mark Melancon in the back of your mind.
J.J. Putz will be activated tomorrow and should resume the closer role.
Koji Uehara notched his fourth straight save on Friday.
Chris Perez returned to action on Wednesday and will likely be eased back into the closer role.
Joaquin Benoit earned his fifth save of the season on Friday. One thing worth nothing is that Al Alburquerque pitched the 8th inning on Friday. Bruce Rondon was also recalled on Friday, but Jim Leyland stated that he would not serve as closer. Really?? I would watch this…
Steve Cishek has pitched great and is on a nice roll.
There are trade rumors circulating about Glen Perkins, Bobby Parnell and Jonathan Papelbon. I cannot report on whether there is any truth to these rumors, but certainly they're situations worth watching.
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