Brian, Circle of Trust, Closers, Relievers

Closer Circle of Trust: July


by Brian Dorsey

Trusted

Solid

Danger

Fernando Salas Mark Melancon Francisco Rodriguez Brandon League
Antonio Bastardo Drew Storen Matt Capps J.J. Putz Heath Bell
Javy Guerra Carlos Marmol Mariano Rivera Sergio Santos Brian Wilson Jordan Walden
Kyle Farnsworth Houston Street Andrew Bailey Jonathan Papelbon Jose Valerde Kevin Gregg
Neftali Feliz Craig Kimbrel John Axford Francisco Cordero Joakim Soria
Frank Francisco Leo Nunez Chris Perez Joel Hanrahan

Notes: A lot of movement going on over the past month. We’ve had closers moving in and out of all three ranges, so let’s update this wild and wacky roller coaster ride. Starting with the beloved and “Trusted” closers, Sergio Santos, Andrew Bailey, and Jon Pap weasel their way into blue writing. I’d been reluctant to put any faith into Santos back in May (mainly because Ozzie Guillen is a maniac), but he’s put together such a solid first half, that he can’t be ignored any longer. Brian Fuentes, who seems to always be a winner when it comes to musical chairs, was only keeping the seat warm for Bailey, and we all knew it. And maybe I was a little harsh on Papelbon this year (because I thought if Bard performed well, the Sox would jettison their overpriced closer), but he too has been solid enough to earn his name in blue.

New to Solid: Heath Bell, Jordan Walden, and Joakim Soria. Two of these men, Bell and Soria, were among the trusted elite just two months ago and both have fallen to green for different reasons. First, Bell is still every bit a dominant closer, but with the Padres slowly slipping out of the playoff hunt, look for San Diego to move their big horse to a contender for some young talent. That would seemingly open the door for Mike Adams in the big SD, but that’s assuming he’s still in town, too. Regarding Soria, he had a dreadful May, and even lost his job. Now that he’s got it back, he should hold down the job, but owners should tread with more caution. Walden moved up from the red, even though he’s struggled in June. But if you look over his shoulder, you’ll find a box, and in that box is picture of Mike Scioscia crying. Walden owners have little to fear.

New to Danger, Danger Will Robinson: Brandon League, Fernando Salas, Antonio Bastardo, Javy Guerra, Chris Perez, and Francisco Rodriguez. The quick rundown…League was in the red, then lost his job for a few minutes, but now he’s back (until injury prone Aardsma returns)…Salas takes over for the Cardinals, but do you really trust any closer being managed by LaRussa?…Bastardo takes over for Madson/Lidge…Guerra, who has one save in June, shouldn’t be owned by anyone…Perez and the Indians have entered a closer by committee…and Rodriquez, who has been awful in June, told reporters that he’d likely allow the Mets to trade him to a team as a setup man (that’s no good).

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