There have already been some big closer moves after just two months into the season. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies are two of the teams to make a switch early. There are three more teams to that list. Here is the news regarding the closer changes and how it affects your fantasy teams.
This is one that was bound to happen. Manager Lloyd McClendon stood by Fernando Rodney‘s side all season despite the poor numbers. His 6.94 ERA and 1.76 WHIP are helped by his 14 saves. He has allowed a run in nine of his last 13 appearances. The lack of closer dominance forced McClendon to make the move and appoint Carson Smith as the team’s closer. Rodney will get some time off to work on his mechanics. He is definitely not done as a closer, but there may be fewer opportunities for the veteran. While there are other relief pitchers that can be used in a save situation, Smith is the guy to add for now.
This move was one of the bigger surprises. Hector Rondon was doing a great job as the Cubs’ closer. He has 10 saves with a 2.96 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Management decided to go with Jason Motte to close the game on Sunday. The plot thickens as Pedro Strop picked up the save on Saturday. To make matters worse for everyone, the Cubs signed former Washington Nationals closer Rafael Soriano to a minor-league deal. This is likely just to get him in baseball shape and he could be called up later in the season. Manager Joe Maddon said he may use Rondon in other situations to work on his stuff, just like the Mariners are doing with Rodney. Strop looks to be the guy to fill in for Rondon.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays have the biggest question mark at the closer position. The team has four relief pitchers with at least two saves, Brad Boxberger, Kevin Jepsen, Ernesto Frieri and Steve Geltz. The Rays also have Jake McGee and Grant Balfour, both of whom have closer experience. Boxberger has been dealing with triceps tightness. Jepsen got the call as the closer and recorded three straight saves. The injury is minor and no DL stint will be necessary for Boxberger. Jepsen is the next guy in line and will get more chances whenever Boxberger misses time with another injury. The other relief pitchers should not be owned unless you play in a deep league or use holds as a stat.