Sometimes the best-laid plans need to get scrapped in a hurry. The Red Sox learned that the hard way when they thought they had two closers, Alfredo Aceves and Mark Melancon, but actually had none.
Now they might be out a fifth starter, too. But add Daniel Bard in fantasy if you haven't done so already. A closer for the Red Sox is far more valuable than a No. 5 starter who may not be suited to hold that role for a full year anyway.
Aceves was supposed to be Bobby Valentine's answer, at least in the short term. Instead, he has turned into Boston's biggest question mark, hitting a batter and giving up four hits in two outings without recording a single out. Mark Melancon, the fallback guy, was no better, absorbing a pair of losses and a 36.00 ERA over the weekend. Aceves and Melancon are the most hittable pitchers in baseball right now.
Bard, potentially, can be the most unhittable. When asked if Bard might become an option to close, Valentine said, "might be."
"I know I'm making the start in Toronto Tuesday night," Bard told the
Aceves will get another chance, if only because Bard is starting and Melancon is a disaster.
"I don't think they can keep getting hits like that against Aceves," Valentine told the paper. "A bloop, a grounder and a great hitter hit a pretty good 96 mph fastball off the plate inside."
Bobby V is going to give him some rope, but Bard's start on Tuesday could dictate their path.
"We're trying to figure out what to do," Valentine said. "And we'll keep it a work in progress. We're three days into this thing since we lost [Andrew Bailey]."
Here's the takeaway: Closers lose and gain value so quickly in fantasy. You have to stay on top of them.
It was incredible to see that he was still available in 20 percent of CBSSports.com's leagues going into his great first start. He isn't available anywhere now and trading for him should be near impossible. Billingsley is a legitimate breakthrough out of the gate.
Santiago went from a Double-A lefty starter to the White Sox's surprise closer coming out of spring training. He was picked over Matt Thornton and Jesse Crain, who will serve as the lefty-righty setup men, and Addison Reed, who will provide additional bullpen support.
The move even surprised the Rangers.
"I got up there and I started warming up," Santiago told MLB.com. "And in between warm-up pitches, I looked over to them, and they were all kind of up on the top step seeing what I have or whatever they were looking at.
"They were probably wondering who I am and, 'Who is this guy? I've never heard of this guy.' They didn't remember I started against them in Spring Training."
Manager Robin Ventura kept his choice a mystery until the White Sox were in a save situation. But there will be no surprises going forward after Santiago looked strong, picking up the save.
"We got toward the end [of spring training], and you start looking at what he has and what he brings," Ventura told MLB.com. "Instead of making him be the long guy, we started looking at him more at the end of the game. You don't have to move anybody around and still keep Jesse and Matt in the seventh and eighth, which are very important innings."
Santiago is a young prospect and could very well could hold down this role long term, supplanting the once-thought closer-of-the-future Reed.
"About the middle of Spring Training, [bullpen coach] Juan [Nieves] said, 'Hey, you're in the talk about the closer role,'" Santiago told the
"Now two people are telling me. I was kind of in shock. In Houston [last week], it became a big thing. And [Saturday], it really happened, you know?"