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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
Giants closer Santiago Casilla struggles in return from short layoff
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) Giants closer Santiago Casilla made his return to action Monday against the Mets, which was his first appearance since suffering his fourth blown save Wednesday. Manager Bruce Bochy said he wanted to give Casilla some time off since he looked tired last week.

Casilla pitched in the ninth inning Monday during a non-save situation. Unfortunately, it was not a very strong performance.

The right-hander relieved Sergio Romo after Romo allowed a single and double to the first two batters in a scoreless game in the ninth inning. Casilla gave up a two-RBI double to the first batter he faced. He bounced back to strike out Lucas Duda before allowing an RBI single to Juan Lagares.

Casilla was lifted after Lagares' single, which gave New York a 3-0 lead. Casilla was charged with one run on two hits in one-third of an inning.


Dodgers 2B Howie Kendrick posts third four-hit effort in 10 games
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Some players might accept one four-hit game in a season. Or a month. But Dodgers second baseman Howie Kendrick has three of them in the last 10 games.

The latest, achieved Monday night against Philadelphia, left him a home run shy of the cycle. Kendrick tripled and scored in the first inning, doubled and scored in the fifth, slammed an RBi single in the sixth and singled again in the eighth.

Kendrick has 20 hits in his last 46 at-bats and is batting .300 for the first time since May 22.


Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen makes progress in securing save
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:57 am ET) It's too early to determine if the mini-slump of Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has ended, but he did manage his first scoreless performance since June 28 on Monday night.

Jansen had endured three straight appearances in which he allowed a run before blanking Philadelphia for his 14th save. But it wasn't easy. He yielded a walk and single to start the ninth before retiring three straight, fanning Domonic Brown and Andres Blanco in the process.

His ERA has been lowered a bit to a still-strong 1.82.


Tigers LF Yoenis Cespedes part of offensive explosion Monday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:52 am ET) Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes joined the hit parade Monday night in Seattle. He homered and singled as part of a 19-hit onslaught and lopsided win for the Tigers.

His solo blast in the sixth cut the deficit to 5-4 and began a 9-0 blitz over a two-inning period. He also scored in the seventh.

The big game pushed his hitting streak to four and gave him seven hits in his last 19 at-bats.


Rays SP Jake Odorizzi says he's eager to rejoin rotation
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:47 am ET) Rays starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi (oblique) made his second and final rehab start for Class A Charlotte on Monday.

The right-hander was brilliant, tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and one walk, while striking out six.

“I haven’t had any pain for quite a while now, so I was just looking to get through this healthy and make sure to get all my pitches in, and I was able to get more outs than the five innings I was scheduled for,” he said, per The Tampa Tribune.

Odorizzi is expected to rejoin the Tampa Bay rotation Saturday against the Astros after he allowed one run in 9 2/3 innings during his rehab assignment.

“Everything went well,” he said. “It went as best as it could, and I’m ready to get back and contribute again.”


Phillies recall RP Hector Neris from Triple-A Lehigh Valley
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:39 am ET) The Phillies recalled reliever Hector Neris from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. Neris has made two relief appearances in 2015 for Philadelphia, tossing 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

Dodgers SP Yimi Garcia goes two innings in Monday's start
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) The Dodgers tabbed relief pitcher Yimi Garcia to start Monday’s game against the Phillies, and Garcia allowed two runs on four hits over two innings of work. It was his first start of the season.

Garcia struck out two and did not walk a batter, as the Dodgers chose to go with a bullpen game Monday. His biggest mistake was giving up a two-run home to Freddy Galvis in the second inning. He received a no-decision for his effort.

Phillies SP Sean O'Sullivan allows seven runs Monday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(9:30 am ET) Phillies pitcher Sean O'Sullivan continued to struggle during Monday’s start against the Dodgers.

O’Sullivan allowed seven runs (six earned) on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings of work. He struck out three and walked two during the outing. He also surrendered home runs to Adrian Gonzalez in the first and Yasmani Grandal in the fifth inning.

O’Sullivan is now winless in his last eight starts. He has not earned a quality start in his last five outings.

Following Monday's start, O'Sullivan was outrighted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


Working trade of Shin-Soo Choo won't be easy for Rangers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:13 am ET) The Rangers would like to trade outfielder Shin-Soo Choo to improve their hitting against left-handers, but that will be easier said than done and will probably have to wait until the offseason, per Fox Sports.

Choo owns a miserable .156/.233/.248 slash line against southpaws. He turns 33 on July 13 and is owed $102 million over the next five seasons. His contract also includes a limited no-trade clause that would limit Texas from trading him to only 20 teams.

The Rangers would likely need to pay much of that salary, toss in prospects and take back less expensive talent to swing it.


Tigers' J.D. Martinez homers in Monday's win
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:59 am ET) Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez hit his 24th home run of the season during Monday's 12-5 win over the Mariners.

Martinez hit the solo shot off Hisashi Iwakuma in the fourth inning. He finished the game 3 for 5 with three runs scored and two RBI.

Martinez has now homered in four of his last five games and he has 10 RBI over that time.


 
 
 
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