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Bullpen Report: Who are these guys?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Keeping up with the ever-changing world of closers requires a lot of attention during the season. But when August hits, it becomes an exercise in micro-management. Teams out of the playoff race try out previously unheard-of youngsters. Fantasy teams out of the playoff race beg off, start three guys on the DL every week and give you a false sense of security. As much as we may not want to admit it, football also creeps into our lives and our minds are split between scouring updates for who will close for the Rockies and scouring updates for any kind of clue on who will start at running back for the Broncos.

So you can be forgiven if you go to your Free Agent page, sort by saves and a list of unrecognizable names pop up. My job, as your friendly neighborhood bullpen reporter, is to explain who they are, how long they'll be here and if they're worth picking up. It's a little column I like to call ...

Who Are These Guys?

Danny Farquhar, Mariners
Saves in last 14 days: 5
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Not much. Even though Farquhar's numbers this year don't look great on the surface (a 5.17 ERA and 1.33 WHIP), he has a 13.6 K/9 and a 2.16 xFIP. His strand rate is way below the league average and his BABIP is well above it. In short, Farquhar has masked a ton of great underlying numbers with a bad ERA. Watch it dip over the next month and a half as he racks up saves for the Mariners.
What has to happen for him to lose it: It will be unlikely, but Farquhar's peripherals will have to rise and meet his ERA. With Tom Wilhelmsen in the minors, being quasi-converted to a starter, there's not much competition for Farquahar at the back-end of the bullpen, especially considering the Mariners are out of contention and will benefit from seeing how Farquhar handles the closer role as the season draws to a close.
Chances Farquhar is closing at the end of the season: 95 percent.

LaTroy Hawkins, Mets
Saves in last 14 days: 3
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Hawkins needs Bobby Parnell to remain on the disabled list with his neck/herniated disc issue, first and foremost. He then has to prove that he's past his recent groin injury. And then Hawkins has to simply pitch well enough to hold onto the job -- meaning not blowing a ton of games. He doesn't really have to blow anyone away to keep closing games.
What has to happen for him to lose it: The opposite of everything listed above. And he may be facing a surprise run for the closer title from youngster Gonzalez Germen, who successfully converted the save Thursday night.
Chances Hawkins is closing at the end of the season: 71 percent.

Rex Brothers, Rockies
Saves in last 14 days: 4
What has to happen for him to keep his job: With Rafael Betancourt coming back, Brothers is probably going to lose save opportunities to the incumbent. However, the Rockies have suggested that Brothers -- the clear closer of the future (Betancourt is in the last year of his contract) -- may still get chances. There's also a chance the team trades Betancourt to a contender before the waiver trade deadline passes on August 31.
What has to happen for him to lose it: If Rockies manager Walt Weiss decides Betancourt should get his job back after returning from injury.
Chances Brothers is closing at the end of the season: 63 percent.

Josh Fields, Astros
Saves in last 14 days: 2
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Chia-Jen Lo probably has to blow his next outing in spectacular fashion. While it looks like Fields may be working his way back into the closer mix, he got his second save after Lo had pitched in back-to-back games and was essentially unavailable.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Either Lo goes on a run, saving games every chance he gets, or Fields has a couple more rough outings.
Chances Fields is closing at the end of the season: 15 percent.

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Dane De La Rosa, Angels
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: All De La Rosa really has to do right now is not be Ernesto Frieri. While Frieri has been on an epic slide -- he's given up 12 runs in his last 6 2/3 innings -- De La Rosa appears to be the most obvious choice to fill in, a supposition helped along by the fact that he was given the opportunity to save the game last week against the Indians.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Frieri has to figure out what's wrong. While he's been decent this year (3.62 EA, 1.23 WHIP), De La Rosa doesn't scream "closer." Frieri is still the high-strikeout intimidator in the bullpen. If he can fix whatever is wrong with him -- and he may be getting close, as Frieri hasn't allowed a run over his last two appearances while striking out three in two innings -- the Angels may go back to Frieri for the last month, just to make sure their closer is back to form.
Chances De La Rosa is closing at the end of the season: 35 percent.

Chia-Jen Lo, Astros
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: Lo just has to keep doing what he's doing. The 27-year-old rookie hasn't allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and posting a 1.11 WHIP. Over five minor league seasons (in which he often battled injury), Lo had a 2.11 ERA and 1.08 WHIP, with a 10.0 K/9 over 128 innings. He could be a stellar keeper target for saves.
What has to happen for him to lose it: The team may want to mix and match closers to see what it has in its 2014 bullpen.
Chances he's closing at the end of the season: 75 percent.

Gonzalez Germen, Mets
Saves in last 14 days: 1
What has to happen for him to keep his job: LaTroy Hawkins has to either continue to be sidelined, or return and simply ... not be good.
What has to happen for him to lose it: Considering Germen doesn't technically "have" it -- he's simply the guy who got the last save for the Mets -- there's not much he can do to change his fate. However, Germen makes for a wonderfully speculative play in NL-only formats, and not just by process of elimination. Converted to reliever this season, Germen had an ugly 5.52 ERA in 35 games for Las Vegas. But he did show some decent control (1.32 WHIP is a little low for that ERA) and has been solid with the Mets -- in 13 games, he has a 2.60 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. Hawkins is 40 years old and is on pace to throw more innings than he has in any season since 2003. And David Aardsma blew his only two save chances this season and hasn't pitched since Aug. 11. Germen has momentum, has an opportunity and could just quietly slide into the closer role so the Mets can see what they have through September.
Chances he's closing at the end of the season: 25 percent.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Nando Di Fino at @NandoCBS . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com .

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Player News
Yankees' Dellin Betances unlikely to pitch Tuesday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, who has pitched three out of the last four games, will not be available out of the bullpen Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, per the Journal News. Betances has not permitted an earned run through 15 1/3 innings of relief this season.

Padres' Myers out of lineup Tuesday, Spangenberg leads off
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:43 pm ET) Padres center fielder Wil Myers is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Giants.

It's just the second time Myers has gotten a break from starting this season. Will Venable is starting in center field as he did the last time Myers sat, but rather than leading off, Venable is batting sixth Tuesday. Second baseman Cory Spangenberg is leading off for the Padres Tuesday.

The Padres are road favorites (-120) in San Francisco Tuesday.


Nationals 1B Michael Morse on benching: I understand
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:40 pm ET) If you figure Marlins first baseman Michael Morse is upset with Mike Redmond for playing Justin Bour ahead of him lately, figure again. He completely understands.

Morse, after all, is batting just .183 with two home runs and eight RBI in 23 games. He has fanned 28 times, including in three of four at-bats Sunday. So never mind the two-year, $16 million deal he signed in the offseason.

"I'm always just about winning and I'm happy for anybody that gets a chance to play - especially [Justin] Bour," Morse told the Miami Herald. "He's swinging the bat awesome. ... Even if I was in there (Tuesday) I'd probably run into the manager's office and tell them, 'Better play that guy.'"

Bour has seven hits in 12 at-bats and homered Monday.


SS Chris Taylor makes second start for Mariners on Tuesday
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(6:18 pm ET) Chris Taylor is back in the Mariners’ starting lineup on Tuesday, batting ninth and playing shortstop in Los Angeles against the Angels.

Taylor was promoted from Triple-A on Monday and went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts in his first major-league action of the season.

Taylor was competing for the M's shortstop job in spring training but got derailed with a broken wrist on March 13.


Cardinals' Marco Gonzales to make Triple-A start Saturday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:18 pm ET) Cardinals pitcher Marco Gonzales (pectoral) is scheduled to start Saturday with Triple-A Memphis, MLB.com reports.

Gonzales is on the minor-league disabled list with a left pectoral strain. He has a 4.50 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 16 innings pitched and could be a factor in the major-league rotation soon.


Tigers pitcher Buck Farmer set as starter for Triple-A Toledo
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:16 pm ET) Brad Ausmus has declared that Tigers premier pitching prospect Buck Farmer will remain in the starting rotation at Triple-A Toledo for now rather than be promoted and moved into the bullpen.

Farmer owns a 4.10 ERA with the Mud Hens, but is coming off a terrible outing against Gwinnett. He has shown the ability to miss bats with 32 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings pitched.

"(Justin Verlander)'s probably going to be a little while so it doesn't hurt to have another guy that can come and pitch at the major league level as a starter," Ausmus told the Detroit Free Press. "And starting for him right now is good for him developmentally, developing his pitches and throwing strikes."


Angels OF Collin Cowgill gets rare start on Tuesday vs. Mariners
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:11 pm ET) Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill was in the starting lineup, batting ninth and playing left field Tuesday against the Mariners. Cowgill hasn't started a game since April 24, as he has been mainly used as a late-inning defensive replacement in recent games.

Cowgill is replacing Matt Joyce in the lineup, who has started nine straight games and has really struggled over that stretch. He will get a breather on Tuesday, but will likely be back in the lineup on Wednesday.


Angels C Carlos Perez makes MLB debut on Tuesday
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(6:07 pm ET) Angels catcher Carlos Perez will make his Major League debut on Tuesday against the Mariners. Perez will be the starting catcher, batting eighth for manager Mike Scioscia.

The 24-year-old was recalled from Triple-A on Monday, after hitting .361 in 72 at-bats with the Salt Lake Bees. 

Regular catcher Chris Iannetta has struggled mightedly this year, batting a putrid .094 with just one double on the season. 


Pirates' Hurdle not concerned with McCutchen's knee 'right now'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) Pirates manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged Tuesday that center fielder Andrew McCutchen is picking his spots to run to first base on batted balls to limit the wear on his knee, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

"I don't think it's a concerning area right now," Hurdle said about McCutchen's knee.

McCutchen has struggled in the early part of the season while dealing with the health issues. He's hit just .193/.291/.307 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 88 at-bats.


Twins' Oswaldo Arcia feeling better with hip injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia said Tuesday his hip is feeling better and noticeably limping for the last two days, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Arcia missed Monday's game with the issue and played two of the last five games for Minnesota. He is hitting .276 with eight RBI in 58 at-bats this season.


 
 
 
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