Opening Day is here and the closer carousel is in full swing.
• Colin touched up on the Craig Kimbrel trade fall out last night and as expected Jason Grilli was tabbed as Kimbrel’s replacement. Grilli threw a perfect inning today with two strikeouts for his first save of the year. Grilli’s fastball topped out at 97 mph today and he was consistently hitting 95 mph which is actually better than in his heyday as the Pirates closer. The options behind Grilli aren’t too appealing so if Grilli pitches reasonably well he should have no problem holding on to the job. Strangely enough, in some sense the better Grilli pitches the worse his job security would be as he would become an intriguing trade commodity for competing teams considering the Braves have clearly played their hand on not competing this season. Either way, I would advise you to run to the waivers to put a claim on Grilli and don’t be afraid to spend a lot of your FAAB budget on him as well.
• Jenrry Mejia was preparing to enter the ninth inning for a save today but had to be shut down with stiffness in his elbow. It’s apparently a new injury for Mejia and not related to anything over the spring. Mejia will have a MRI later this week and we will have a better idea of what’s going on and how long he will be on the shelf for the Mets. Mejia’s never exhibited strong health and any time you hear of an elbow injury, it’s not a good sign, duh. I’m no doctor and nothing has been said yet, but I’m going to assume Mejia will be placed on the DL, possibly for an extended stay. In his place as closer will be Jeurys Familia and Terry Collins also said that Rafael Montero could move into a more “prominent role” as well. Familia is really no worse than Mejia, it’s just that Mejia closed games first and hung onto the job so even if Mejia returns it’s no guarantee he’s the better option to take over in the ninth. Don’t hesitate to spend some of your FAAB budget on Familia if he’s available. As for the guys behind Familia, I’ll roll with what Collins’ is selling and keep an eye on Montero as well as Carlos Torres who threw a clean seventh today. Buddy Carlyle received a two-out save today but it’s unlikely he’ll be closing more games for the Mets.
• Kevin Gregg blew the lead today allowing two runs to score in the eighth inning, which is the kind of thing that happens when you let Kevin Gregg pitch in the eighth inning. The Reds took back the lead and gave Aroldis the save opp, where he needed only nine pitches to get two K’s and a perfect inning for his first save. The order leading up to Aroldis is a little tenuous at the moment, but I feel confident leaving Gregg off the grid.
• Kenley Jansen was still in his walking boot today. There have been a few mixed reports regarding this, with some saying that the boot should have been off by now, seemingly winking towards a set back and others saying he simply wears it from time to time. Without any other word I will still assume that Jansen will still be back by the end of April/early May still. In the meantime, expect Joel Peralta and Chris Hatcher to see save opportunities. Mattingly was non-committal to naming a replacement but went to Hatcher today and I moved him ahead in the grid but Peralta could certainly see the next opportunity.
• Quick Hits: David Price couldn’t quite get the complete game shut out on opening day and Joe Nathan came on for the one out save. Junichi Tazawa threw a scoreless eighth up by four, but the Sox put up four more runs and didn’t use their closer. Mujica is still the man there with Uehara on the shelf. Luke Gregerson saved the game for the Astros, throwing a perfect ninth and it didn’t take long for Fernando Rodney to launch his first arrow in the air, closing the game for the Mariners.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias