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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL CLOSING TIME: ROBERTO OSUNA PLACED ON LEAVE AFTER ALLEGED ASSAULT ON FEMALE, CHAOS ENSUES IN TORONTO BULLPEN

What a dirtbag.  Nothing less can be described when it comes to Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna who was placed on administrative leave after he was arrested Tuesday morning due to an alleged assault on a female.  While light on details, the allegations are serious enough that Osuna is basically being sent away by the team and MLB while things get sorted out legally.  We saw last season when New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia was suspended 15 games by Major League Baseball that this is an offense that Rob Manfred doesn't take lightly and so Osuna could be on the sidelines for awhile as he should.  Heading into the suspension, Osuna was once again performing like one of the better closers in baseball with a 2.93 ERA and 1.11 WHIP while nailing down 9 saves but he is no longer worth discussing given what has transpired.  Instead, we now must try and figure out who will step up and earn saves in Osuna's place and on paper this is tricky since the Jays have a batch of accomplished relievers who have closing experience as well.  Let's take them one at a time:

Tyler Clippard:  While it seems like Clippard has been with every team in MLB, he remains one of the very best setup men in the game as shown by his sparkling 1.47 ERA and 0.93 WHIP while striking out 20 batters in 18.1 frames.  Clippard was hit hard last season in a year split between three teams but he clearly has some more gas left in the tank and he has a long history of picking up saves through many of his MLB stops.  Knee-jerk reaction says he gets the first shot given this experience. 

Seung-Hwan Oh:  I jumped the gun right away and said Oh was the pickup for saves in place of Osuna but I think Clippard has just as much of a chance. As far as Oh is concerned, he has re-established himself this season as a dependable bullpen arm by pitching to a 1.76 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and striking out 15 batters in 15.1 IP.  While Oh did bomb out in losing his closer gig in St. Louis (and eventually his employment with the team) a year ago, don't forget he was excellent in 2016 in saving 19 games with a 1.92 ERA.  Up until now, Oh has pitched in more low-leverage situations which is why Clippard may have a bit of an edge. 

Ryan Tepera:  Here is the wild card of the bunch as Tepera has been very good himself with a 2.70 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and 18 K in 16.2 IP.  Tepera has been in high-leverage spots since the start of the season and he has the swing-and-miss stuff to be a decent option if this is the way things pan out. 

When you break it all down, I like the three of these arms in the order I wrote about them for saves.  I think experience wins out with Clippard but I also would not be shocked if anyone gets the chance.  

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