Come one, come all, let's take a ride on the closer carousel! Starting this week on Thursdays, I will be taking a look at the closing situations around the league. Let's get started.
Baltimore Orioles: With Jim Johnson stuck in the hospital with an undisclosed illness, young flame-thrower Pedro Strop took over as closer for the Birds.
He didn't miss a beat racking up two straights saves and he now sits with three wins as well on the season. With a strikeout rate of over one-per inning, Strop is rosterable in all formats.
While I don't feel Johnson - who has performed flawlessly himself - is in danger of losing his job, the tall righty has an injury history and at the very least his owners should try to grab on to Strop as a handcuff.
Anaheim Angels: Curiously manager Mike Scioscia yanked last year's closer Jordan Walden after just one blown save and inserted veteran lefty Scott Downs in to the closer's role.
I can't imagine Walden will stay in a low-leverage role for very long and is worth picking up if an impatient owner has dropped him already. After first signs of struggles from Downs, I think Walden gets his job back.
Tampa Bay Rays: With every smooth ninth inning from the once-erratic Fernando Rodney, it seems less likely that Kyle Farnsworth will get his job back if he ever comes off the disabled list.
Rays manager Joe Maddon has always been patient with his players so I wouldn't be alarmed if Rodney has an ugly game or two, like pretty much every closer does.
Invest with confidence in Rodney and try to steal him from another owner that may be wary of his past track record of inconsistency.
Florida Marlins: Turns out Heath Bell might not be worth that large contract the Marlins inked him to over the offseason. With his velocity on a downward spiral, the burly righty looks all too hittable.
Two things are in Bell's favor though. His large contract ensures he will continue to get save chances and the lack of a better option helps as well.
Steve Cishek has put together a nice stretch but his control wanes from time to time and I don't see him a legit threat to usurp Bell. I won't touch Bell in any league and I have a feeling his time as a closer is on the verge of ending.