Sunday, April 2, 2017


Sunday is here which means Opening Day for a few MLB teams and it also means our first of our regular Closing Time feature.  This weekly look into the world of closers is meant as a guide to help you stay on top of all the changes at this forever-evolving position.  We got off to a quick start on that front as we learned early Sunday that All-Star Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was placed on the 10-day DL with a cervical spams.  This is something that was bothering Osuna for a few weeks now but he was still able to successfully pitch through it during exhibition play.  The fact he was placed on the DL likely means the pain reached a new level and so old friend (and we mean OLD) Jason Grilli finds himself closing games again.  Last year at this time Grilli was beginning the season as the closer for the Atlanta Braves but he quickly gave away the gig to Jim Johnson and battled injuries,  Now an ancient 40, Grilli's nasty 5,29 ERA with the Braves paved the way for him to make it to the Blue Jays where he turned things around with a 3.64 mark in 42 innings.  What is interesting is that Grilli continues to miss bats at a high level as he struck out 81 batters in just 59 innings which came out to a K/9 rate of 12.36.  That number was one of the best K/9 rates among all relievers in baseball and so Grilli can still get outs that way which is always crucial in the ninth inning.  Closing games in the AL East and in Rogers Center is no walk in the park though and this has trouble written all over it.  Since he does miss bats at a high rate still, I would pick up Grilli where available but Osuna owners need to be a tad concerned here regarding how long he may be out.

-The San Diego Padres placed hard-throwing Carter Capps on the 10-day DL to begin the season with a designated elbow injury but no new issue has arisen there.  Instead the Padres just want Capps to get some more work in before he returns and so the ill-prepared Brandon Maurer will begin closing games.  Once Capps gets his feet underneath him, he should be ready to challenge and then claim the closing role as his stuff is so overpowering.  Stash Capps if you can.

-Those who own New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia had to be happy he got only 15 games and not the 30 in terms of his suspension for domestic violence.  Addison Reed will close in Familai's place but a mid-April return is in the cards after the ruling became official.  Of course there should be no "relief" about Familia's suspension given the nature of the offense and this whole thing is a bad situation for MLB.  Familia deserved what he got and hopefully he learned his lesson on this.

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