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Closer Report: Saving the Jays

When Toronto Blue Jays closer Sergio Santos hit the 15-day disabled list in April with shoulder inflammation, we were led to believe it was a short-term issue. Precautionary DL move. Nothing to fret about. No structural damage. It was going to be something like a three- to four-week absence.

But that was 10 weeks ago, and we still don't have a clear timetable on Santos. He's been transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. He throws, he has a setback. He feels pain in the front, pain in the back. There have been suggestions lately — like this one — that Santos could be done for the year.

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The Blue Jays don't know when Sergio Santos (R) will return. (Getty Images)

"We're all hopeful that there's not another setback," Toronto manager John Farrell said recently. "Because at that point then we've got to really re-assess what the next step is."

That next step, presumably, would not be anything that helps fantasy owners.

If you opened the season with Santos on your roster, let's just hope that A) you were too slow to grab Francisco Cordero when he seemed like the appropriate add, and B) you were shrewd enough to nab Casey Janssen when Cordero blew up. Janssen has been nearly flawless in the ninth for the Jays, going 9-for-9 on save chances. He's delivered a 1.27 ERA and 0.84 WHIP since May 1 with 21 Ks in 21.1 innings. That ridiculous level of Mariano Rivera-like performance may not be sustainable for the 30-year-old Janssen over a full season, but he's been a better-than-reliable bullpen arm over his six-year Jays career. It's probably well past time to think of Janssen as more than an interim closer, and thus it's time for him to receive new coordinates on this prestigious index.

Job Security Index

30. Minnesota — Jared Burton & Glen Perkins
29. New York Mets — Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch
28. Seattle — Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush
27. Chicago Cubs — Carlos Marmol, Shawn Camp
26. Houston — Brett Myers, Brandon Lyon
25. Boston — Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison
24. Detroit — Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit
23. Los Angeles Angels — Ernesto Frieri, Scott Downs
22. Miami — Heath Bell, Steve Cishek
21. Washington — Tyler Clippard, Sean Burnett
20. Chicago White Sox — Addison Reed, Matt Thornton
19. Arizona — JJ Putz, David Hernandez
18. Kansas City — Jonathan Broxton, Greg Holland, Aaron Crow
17. Oakland — Ryan Cook, Grant Balfour
16. Toronto — Casey Janssen, Francisco Cordero
15. San Diego — Huston Street, Luke Gregerson
14. Colorado — Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle, Rex Brothers
13. Milwaukee — John Axford, Francisco Rodriguez
12. New York Yankees — Rafael Soriano, David Robertson
11. San Francisco — Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo
10. Tampa Bay — Fernando Rodney, Kyle Farnsworth
9. Baltimore — Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop
8. Pittsburgh — Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli, Juan Cruz
7. St. Louis — Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs
6. Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario
5. Cleveland — Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano
4. Cincinnati — Aroldis Chapman, Sean Marshall
3. Texas — Joe Nathan, Mike Adams
2. Atlanta — Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters
1. Philadelphia — Jonathan Papelbon, Antonio Bastardo

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• Before you overreact to Scot Downs' two-inning save on Tuesday, note that he navigated the eighth inning on just seven pitches, then Cleveland had a parade of left-handed hitters due up in the ninth. There's no obvious reason for owners of Ernesto Frieri to panic.

• Carlos Marmol converted back-to-back-to-back save opportunities over the weekend, allowing just one hit and one walk in his 2.2 innings. He's struck out 17 over 11.1 innings since June 1. So the Cubs probably need to trade him immediately, without risking any additional appearances.

• While we're discussing impressive K-rates, please check the recent work by Colorado LHP Rex Brothers. His June could not have gone much better, as he whiffed 21 batters in just 13.2 innings, allowing only three walks, six hits and one earned run. If a Rafael Betancourt deal were to go down — possible, though it would presumably take a lot — Matt Belisle would be the first name to target, but Brothers is in the conversation, too.

• Kyle Farnsworth finally made his 2012 debut over the weekend, pitching a scoreless inning against the Tigers, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out two. No one is close to challenging Fernando Rodney right now (which is just a crazy thing to write, but nonetheless true).

• Final bullet: I cannot even begin to tell you how good it felt to kick Jonny Venters to the curb. So far, that was my favorite drop of 2012, narrowly edging Dale Thayer.

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