Relief Pitcher Updates: The Closer Carousel Continues

Scott McCloy gives us relief pitcher updates for three major league teams and breaks down who is currently getting save opportunities, and who is next in line.

Scott McCloy - RotoBaller

As we head into the first week of May in the 2014 baseball season, we are seeing changes happening in the late-inning roles across baseball.  Whether due to injuries or failure, we here at Rotoballer will keep you up to date so that you can plan accordingly and adjust your rosters if need be.   Looking for closer news or need a late-inning reliever for Holds? We’re here to help you out.

For a complete look at all the closer situations across the MLB, make sure to check out RotoBaller's closer and saves depth charts.


What’s going on in Oakland?

Jim Johnson Oakland A's MLB News

Well, they haven’t had a closing situation since April 22nd, and Luke Gregerson blew that opportunity.  This long stretch of not needing a closer has actually helped expected closer Jim Johnson.  Johnson started off 2014 as bad as one could, and was demoted despite having signed a $10 million contract to be the closer.  Johnson hasn’t given allowed a run since April 9th, when his ERA was a robust 18.90.  In the 8.2 innings since then, he has allowed just six hits and two walks while striking out nine.  This has brought his ERA down to 5.25.  He has shown better control, and his sinker has been back to normal.  Although manager Bob Melvin has stated that he will stick with the closer-by-committee approach, it’s only a matter of time before Jim Johnson takes back his intended role on the A’s.   Owners who have patiently waited out his early April struggles shoould be rewarded nicely.


Do the Cubs actually need a closer?

Well, you do have to be in the lead in the 9th inning to need a closer; so far there have been few chances for the lowly Chicago Cubs.   And out of only six save chances, they've converted just two.  Jose Veras was brought in to be the closer, but he has blown two saves, showing total lack of control on the mound (10 BB in 5.2 IP).  James Russell was given a chance and proceeded to blow two saves.  The team leaders for saves are Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon, each with one.  Strop was the sneaky pickup early, as many thought he would be the guy, but he has had control issues as well, walking seven in 11.1 innings.   Rondon has earned the trust of new manager Ricky Renteria and looks to have the next crack at the job.  He has excelled so far in 2014, pitching to an ERA of 0.68 and WHIP of 0.98 while striking out 15 in 13.1 innings.  If you are in need of saves, go snag Rondon.


Blue Jays need a closer, eh?

Sergio Santos was thrust into the closer role with Casey Janssen’s injury, and though he has closed out five games, he has blown two and has put up some bad numbers (8.31 ERA, 2.o8 WHIP).  Santos has struggled against right-handed hitters-- they are hitting .333 against him with a .733 SLG %.  The good news for the Blue Jays is that Janssen had a bullpen session without any setbacks earlier this week, and he will look to make a rehab appearance soon.   Janssen had 34 saves last year, excelling at keeping runners off base (0.99 WHIP).   If you've waited out his DL stint, great job!  Jansen will start producing for your squad again soon.  If Jansen is somehow on your waiver wire, get him now.


Again, here at Rotoballer, we will do all the research for you to help keep you abreast on all the late inning roles in baseball. Got a specific question?  Find some help any time  in our live chat!