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Bullpen Report: March 30, 2014

Happy “Opening Night!” Well, domestically at least. An early version of the Bullpen Report tonight since your author is on his way to San Diego (unfortunately, I’ll be in the air during Dodgers/Padres and not in a seat).

• The big surprise this afternoon was the annoucement Casey Janssen will open the season on the disabled list with a back strain. The news is odd timing; Janssen had battled shoulder weakness during the spring, but had just made his spring debut last week (and pitched Thursday and Friday). If the team had any inkling he’d have to open the season on the DL, they likely wouldn’t have thrown him in major league games, because his stint is now backdated to March 29th, meaning he’s not eligible to return until around the 3rd week of the season (at the earliest).

If Sergio Santos hasn’t been claimed in your league, go grab him. After major shoulder surgery in 2012 and dealing with other arm woes that cost him most of 2013, he finally appeared to have his punchout stuff and velocity back in September. He remains an injury risk, but, unlike guys like Jose Valverde, he could conceivably “reverse Pipp” the ninth inning and has top-15 closer upside if that happens.

The White Sox continue to be coy about their closer situation. There has really been nothing to indicate it won’t be preseason favorite Nate Jones, but Matt Lindstrom has the most “proven closer”(TM) experience in the pen. To further complicate matters, Javy Guerra was slipped through waivers (after being claimed last week) and will open the season in the minors, opening a spot for the hard-throwing Daniel Webb. Lindstrom has the weakest peripherals of the three, but both Jones and Webb have the SwStr% (12+%) to operate as elite arms. I’d still probably want Jones if I had the choice between the three, but I might snag the other two if I had the roster space to burn the first week of the season. Remember, this is the same team that opened last year with Hector Santiago in the ninth.

Sean Marshall and Jonathan Broxton will both open the season on the DL. I still like J.J. Hoover‘s stuff here, but his weak spring is probably going to hurt his standing as the lone wolf in the ninth. Don’t be surprised if Reds lean on Sam LeCure, too. Last year he put up similar predictors to Hoover, just with a bit weaker punchout rate. My suggestion for chasing here is to grab Hoover or LeCure if you have the room and watch the box score. I’d bet the guy with the first clean save gets a bit of a leash.

• Other notes: Kevin Gausman has been sent to Triple-A. I think he’d make a fantastic closer if the Orioles can’t make room for him in the rotation in 2014, but they’ll keep him stretched out in the minors. The team hasn’t come out and say “Tommy Hunter, you’re the guy” but the job is his until further notice. David Hernandez has a torn UCL. Sounds like Tommy John is in his future. Drop him if you were hoping for a bounceback season in the holds department.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed J.J. Putz Brad Ziegler
Atlanta Craig Kimbrel Jordan Walden David Carpenter
Baltimore Tommy Hunter Darren O’Day Ryan Webb
Boston Koji Uehara Edward Mujica Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Jose Veras Pedro Strop Hector Rondon Kyuji Fujikawa
CHI (AL) Nate Jones Matt Lindstrom Daniel Webb
Cincy J.J. Hoover Sam LeCure Logan Ondrusak Aroldis Chapman
Cleveland John Axford Cody Allen Bryan Shaw
Colorado LaTroy Hawkins Rex Brothers Matt Belisle
Detroit Joe Nathan Joba Chamberlain Al Alburquerque
Houston Chad Qualls Josh Fields Matt Albers Jesse Crain
KC Greg Holland Kelvin Herrera Aaron Crow
LAA Ernesto Frieri Joe Smith Kevin Jepsen Dane de la Rosa
LAD Kenley Jansen Brian Wilson Paco Rodriguez
Miami Steve Cishek A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn
Milwaukee Jim Henderson Francisco Rodriguez Brandon Kintzler
Minnesota Glen Perkins Jared Burton Casey Fien
NY (NL) Bobby Parnell Jose Valverde Jeurys Familia Vic Black
NY (AL) David Robertson Shawn Kelley Matt Thornton
Oakland Jim Johnson Luke Gregerson Sean Doolittle Ryan Cook
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Antonio Bastardo Jake Diekman
Pittsburgh Jason Grilli Mark Melancon Tony Watson
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Carlos Martinez Kevin Siegrist
SD Huston Street Joaquin Benoit Alex Torres
SF Sergio Romo Santiago Casilla Javier Lopez Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Tom Wilhelmsen
TB Grant Balfour Heath Bell Joel Peralta
Texas Joakim Soria Alexi Ogando Jason Frasor Neftali Feliz
Toronto Sergio Santos Steve Delabar Brett Cecil Casey Janssen
Wash. Rafael Soriano Tyler Clippard Drew Storen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]