Need an early-season boost in saves?
Maybe look to the Reds’ patchwork bullpen.
JJ Hoover opened the 2016 season as the Cincinnati closer, but he allowed his 10th run of the season on Tuesday against the Rockies and manager Bryan Price announced Wednesday evening that the club’s ninth-inning role will no longer belong to one man, at least for the foreseeable future.
It’ll be a committee approach until a steady option emerges from the fray of unproven arms.
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Tony Cingrani immediately comes to mind as a potential option for Price and the Reds because he has flashed high-level swing-and-miss stuff in the past, but he helped cough up a three-run lead in the eighth inning Wednesday and has now walked seven batters in 6 2/3 innings this season. You probably don’t want those kind of trust issues in the ninth inning, and it also hurts Cingrani’s cause that he is the only left-hander in the Cincinnati ‘pen.
Blake Wood, another potential option, was charged with two earned runs in one-third of an inning on Wednesday afternoon versus Colorado. He has also struggled with his command this year, and he holds a 4.37 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 134 career major league innings.
The darkhorse could be 28-year-old right-hander Caleb Cotham, who was acquired from the Yankees in December as part of the Aroldis Chapman trade. He registered a 2.21 ERA, 1.018 WHIP, and 61/13 K/BB ratio in 57 innings last season between Double-A and Triple-A, and he’s thrown eight scoreless innings for the Reds to open the 2016 campaign.
Cotham can hit the mid-90s with his fastball and he throws a power slider that usually comes in around 87-88 mph. The former fourth-round draft pick also features a 79.4 mph curveball.
There’s a decent chance he’s still sitting on your waiver wire.
Bailey Back On The Fantasy Radar?
While you’re down there digging deep for saves, check on the availability of Andrew Bailey.
The well-traveled right-hander was added to the Phillies’ bullpen on Wednesday afternoon in place of James Russell, who had allowed nine earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings to open the 2016 season. Bailey nearly made the Opening Day roster out of spring training, but he hit a few road bumps in late March so the Phillies decided to start him off with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was sporting a 1.80 ERA and 10/2 K/BB ratio in five innings there at the time of his callup.
Jeanmar Gomez has done an admirable job as Philadelphia’s makeshift closer, earning four saves in four chances, but this is a guy with a 5.4 career K/9. He’s not going to dominate his way into a firm hold on the ninth-inning job, and in the meantime the Phillies are hurting for other capable high-leverage arms. Bailey can rise up the depth chart quickly and then pounce when Gomez inevitably runs into trouble.
The 31-year-old Bailey tallied 75 saves for the A’s between 2009-2011, alongside a stellar 2.07 ERA.
Even with the arm troubles, he can still boast a 2.74 career ERA (154 career ERA+).
National League Quick Hits: Rockies right-hander Jon Gray (abdomen) will make his regular-season debut on Friday against the Dodgers … Raisel Iglesias held the Rockies to two runs over 6 2/3 innings and struck out eight Wednesday in a Reds win … Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia is day-to-day with a knee contusion … Ben Revere (oblique) ran in the outfield and took light swings right-handed on Wednesday … Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon nailed down his sixth save of the season Wednesday versus the Marlins … Carlos Martinez delivered seven innings of one-run ball Wednesday in the Cardinals' win over the Cubs … Padres second baseman Cory Spangenberg could be out for a month with a left quad strain … Joe Ross made an early exit from his start Wednesday against the Marlins due to a right middle finger blister … Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal tallied his 100th career save on Wednesday against the Cubs … Reds designated RHP Keyvius Sampson for assignment … Tyson Ross is set to undergo a followup MRI on his injured right shoulder … Kenley Jansen earned his sixth save in as many tries on Wednesday night against the Braves … Rockies reliever Miguel Castro could be headed to the disabled list with a shoulder injury … Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis went 2-for-5 with his second home run of the season, a two-run shot against the Mets on Wednesday … Jayson Werth is day-to-day after leaving Wednesday’s game against the Marlins with left hamstring tightness … Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana went 2-for-4 with a walk and his second home run of the season in Wednesday's win over the Twins … Drew Pomeranz struck out 10 and gave up just one unearned run over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday versus the Pirates … Rockies acquired 1B Cody Decker from the Royals for cash considerations.
American League Quick Hits: White Sox ace Chris Sale dominated the Angels in Wednesday's afternoon victory, hurling seven-plus innings of two-hit, one-run ball … No structural damage was found in the MRI taken Wednesday on Joe Kelly's right shoulder, but there still is no timetable for his return … Josh Donaldson slugged his sixth home run of the season Wednesday night against Orioles … Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts left Wednesday’s game against the Rays with discomfort in his left quad … Taijuan Walker went six strong innings without giving up an earned run or a walk in Wednesday night’s win over the Indians … Brett Gardner was held out of the Yankees’ lineup Wednesday due to a stiff neck … A’s third baseman Danny Valencia suffered a mild hamstring straight Wednesday night against the Yankees … Indians activated Lonnie Chisenhall from the 15-day disabled list and started him in right field on Wednesday night … Mike Trout went 3-for-4 with three singles in Wednesday's loss to the White Sox … Mariners closer Steve Cishek earned his second save of the season on Wednesday night against the Indians … Kendall Graveman was superb in Wednesday's win over the Yankees, allowing just one run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings and striking out eight … Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez survived giving up two solo homers and picked up his fourth save Wednesday against the Royals … Chris Archer dropped to 0-4 after giving up six runs in 4 1/3 innings Wednesday against the Red Sox … A’s infielder Eric Sogard underwent a patellar tendon debridement procedure on his left knee Wednesday … Red Sox designated LHP Edwin Escobar for assignment.