No one likes committees — not in real-life, not in fantasy. Generally speaking, organizations only form committees when it's necessary to create the appearance that a problem is being addressed, even though no practical solution exists. When a manager goes bullpen-by-committee, he's usually telling us that he's fresh out of good ideas, so it's time to spin the wheel of bad ideas.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy recently formed a committee in San Francisco, because Santiago Casilla gave him little choice. Casilla has been battling blister issues, and he's blown five of his last nine save opportunities, dating back to June 24. In comments following the acquisition of lefty Jose Mijares, Bochy specifically mentioned Jeremy Affeldt as an option for the end-game.
Thus, if you're chasing saves, Casilla, Affeldt and Sergio Romo are all in play. I wish this weren't the case. I'm working hard to acquire all three guys in the NL-only league that I keep whining about around here. (If you get them all, I'm pretty sure it's like possessing the fantasy baseball version of the Deathly Hallows).
Elsewhere in the Bay Area, Oakland closer Ryan Cook has been struggling, particularly in back-to-back situations. He has the weakest possible grip on his job, and can't really afford another implosion. Cook has allowed runs in five of his last seven appearances. Grant Balfour, stay ready.
(Quick note about the "ranks" below: The primary purpose of this feature has always been examine bullpen hierarchies while also tracking job security. That's it. That's all. That's what we do here. This is NOT a Shuffle Up of major league closers or bullpens. Please accept our sincere apologies if you feel that one of your team's relievers has been disrespected).
Job Security Index
30. San Francisco — Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo
29. Minnesota — Glen Perkins & Jared Burton
28. Oakland — Ryan Cook, Grant Balfour, Sean Doolittle
27. Washington — Tyler Clippard, Drew Storen, Sean Burnett
26. Milwaukee — John Axford, Kameron Loe, Francisco Rodriguez
25. Chicago Cubs — Carlos Marmol, Shawn Camp, James Russell
24. Houston — Wilton Lopez, Wesley Wright
23. Boston — Alfredo Aceves, Vicente Padilla
22. Chicago White Sox — Addison Reed, Brett Myers, Matt Thornton
21. Kansas City — Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, Kelvin Herrera
20. Miami — Steve Cishek, Heath Bell, Mike Dunn
19. Texas — Joe Nathan, Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams
18. New York Mets — Frank Francisco, Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch
17. Los Angeles Angels — Ernesto Frieri, LaTroy Hawkins
16. Detroit — Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit
15. Seattle — Tom Wilhelmsen, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge
14. Toronto — Casey Janssen, Darren Oliver, Brandon Lyon
13. Baltimore — Jim Johnson, Pedro Strop
12. Cleveland — Chris Perez, Vinnie Pestano
11. Arizona — JJ Putz, David Hernandez
10. Colorado — Rafael Betancourt, Matt Belisle
9. Tampa Bay — Fernando Rodney, Joel Peralta, Kyle Farnsworth
8. St. Louis — Jason Motte, Mitchell Boggs, Edward Mujica
7. New York Yankees — Rafael Soriano, David Robertson
6. Pittsburgh — Joel Hanrahan, Jason Grilli
5. San Diego — Huston Street, Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer
4. Cincinnati — Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall
3. Los Angeles Dodgers — Kenley Jansen, Ronald Belisario, Brandon League
2. Philadelphia — Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Lindblom
1. Atlanta — Craig Kimbrel, Eric O'Flaherty, Jonny Venters
• Joe Nathan hasn't pitched since August 2, sidelined by shoulder/dead arm issues. In his absence, Alexi Ogando has claimed a pair of saves. Nathan received a cortisone injection last week to address shoulder inflammation, however, and it sounds like he's much improved. "It feels like new," he said. So we wait for new data.
• Drew Storen earned his first save of the season on Sunday, as Tyler Clippard had pitched on three consecutive days. Clippard has been shaky since the All-Star break (1.43 WHIP, 10 ER in 14.0 IP) and he's allowed runs in each of his last two appearances. Thus, he acquired new coordinates in this week's index. Beware.
• Frank Francisco picked up a two-pitch, two-out save at San Diego on Saturday, in his first appearance since returning from the DL. He was called upon to clean up Bobby Parnell's mess, too, so it seems safe to say that Frank is back in the mix for saves. Just be advised that he's been dealing with oblique and lat issues. He's delicate, tough to completely trust.
• Andrew Bailey is out there rehabbing, just so you know, recovering from his thumb issues. It sounds like we'll see him this month. Bailey presumably wouldn't reclaim the ninth immediately, but it's worth noting that Alfredo Aceves has had a few recent hiccups. (Check the game log). When asked if he cares about closing this season, Bailey said that he "doesn't give a [expletive]." So you have to appreciate the attitude.