Sunday, July 27, 2008

Other Closer Situations: American League

Tonight I'll conclude my two-parter and look at bullpens in the American League where there might be a closer stepping in even if there isn't a trade.

Devil Rays: Troy Percival has two saves this week and has looked healthy (if not spectacular) in the role. If his hamstring acts up again and he needs to miss some time, Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour would be the favorites for saves. I keep thinking that hitters will eventually catch up to Balfour's heat, since he throws nothing else, but so far that hasn't happened. I'd assume Percival stays healthy most of the rest of the way and gets most of the saves.

White Sox: Like Percival, Bobby Jenks has looked healthy this week and picked up saves in back-to-back nights for the Sox (and probably turned the Tigers into sellers in the process). Scott Linebrink just hit the DL, so if Jenks did go down, I'd assume that Octavio Dotel is the favorite for saves. That assumption is challenged, though, by the fact that Ozzie Guillen seems more inclined to go with a committee, and Matt Thornton could get a couple of opportunities as well. Again, I'd assume Jenks is OK unless I heard otherwise.

Indians: I mention them only because Masahide Kobayashi couldn't finish the save last night and gave way to Rafael Perez, who did get it. Kobayashi still figures to be the closer, but he's not a lock by any means and Perez, Jensen Lewis, and even Rafael Betancourt would all figure to be in the mix if Kobayashi strung together a few bad outings. I'd put my money on Perez if Kobayashi faltered, but I still suspect the Indians would love to see Betancourt return to his 2007 form and grab the job.

Mariners: It's starting to sound like the Mariners are going to send Brandon Morrow down to the minors and stretch him out to start. That sounds like a bad plan to me to do that mid-year, but this is the team that insists on trotting Miguel Cairo out at 1B and calling it progress. Incredibly enough, J.J. Putz is a buy low candidate in mixed leagues if you can get him. Jim Riggleman is still using Putz as a set-up, but I'd think that will change sooner rather than later.

Rangers: C.J. Wilson has the worst VORP of any A.L. closer. The Rangers don't have any extremely appealing options, though. Eddie Guardado's probably the guy if Wilson did blow up or if the Rangers decided to send Wilson down to AAA to work on some of his issues. Last night, they had Jamey Wright warming up in the pen while there was still a save situation. I'd do what Wilson owners should have been doing all year long: watching the situation, but assuming that Wilson's the guy until the Rangers - and Wilson backer Nolan Ryan - say otherwise.

I only mention the Angels because Francisco Rodriguez has logged a ton of innings, the Angels have a double digit lead in the A.L. West, and it's not out of the question that the Angels will try to reduce K-Rod's workload in September. I'd say that Jose Arredondo has passed Scot Shields in the CIW role, and I'd guess that Arredondo might be a guy who could sneak 3-5 saves in for the Halos down the stretch. If I had to guess, I'd say the Angels will take this tack in the last 2-3 weeks and play it safe with K-Rod.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you see any NL minor-leaguers who could be traded at the deadline? I'm looking for guys to pick up who might be dealt for starters/good Tuesday-Thursday players as the trade deadline approaches.