It didnít take long for the closer carousel to turn, did it? Octavio Dotel has hit the DL with a strained oblique, and David Riske will step in as Kansas Cityís closer until Dotel returns.
First, some thoughts on Dotel. The Royals have said the injury doesnít look too bad and that Dotel shouldnít be out for long. However, we all know how oblique injuries have a tendency to linger and/or recur. If Dotel is out for longer than expected, we shouldnít be surprised. If he returns too early and strains his side all over again, that wouldnít be a shocker, either.
Iím not saying we need to hit the panic button here. Itís not *that* bad. But Dotel owners shouldnít operate under the assumption that heíll be back in a couple of weeks and everything will be jim dandy.
As for Riske, itís hard to have high hopes. He really doesnít have closer stuff anymore. At one point, he boasted stellar dominance -- his strikeout rate was regularly above 9.0, and even hit a high of 11.4 in 2002.
Thatís a thing of the past, though. Riskeís strikeout rate the last two years: 5.95, 5.73. Dominance like that is hardly even adequate, much less the mark of an elite closer. Riske wonít rack up enough Kís to be a stellar stopper.
Riske also allowed six home runs in 44 innings last year. Again, thatís a bit much for a closer. And that homer total wasnít a fluke -- Riske gives up a lot of fly balls (0.94 G/F last year).
Saves are saves, so Riske is worth a pickup. Just be aware that he isnít what he was a few years ago. He might be a closer, but heís no longer closer-worthy.