Oakland A’s

Oakland A’s Fantasy Baseball Daily Bullpen Updates and Closer Depth Chart

Closer1st in line2nd in line2021 CloserUpdated
OAKLiam HendriksJoakim SoriaJake DiekmanLiam Hendriks9/4/20

Previous updates:

September 4, 2020
Oakland A’s – A.J. Puk is close to a return and will be joining the bullpen. He has an electric arm and could be a late-inning option for the A’s down the stretch. We’ll monitor things and adjust this hierarchy, if necessary. 

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Diekman.

August 10, 2020
Oakland A’s – Journeyman Burch Smith picked up his first career save on Sunday, throwing the last three innings of a 5-run A’s victory. He’s yet to allow a run in 10.1 innings this year (and is currently sporting a 0.48 WHIP), so he could potentially start seeing some more high-leverage spots going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Diekman.

August 6, 2020
Oakland A’s – As noted in the Vulture Save Watch, Liam Hendriks had pitched in three of the last four games and got the night off. Oakland used Joakim Soria to get the last two outs of the eighth before letting him stick around for the ninth to pick up his second save of the year. Soria has been lights out in the early going, and having just pitched the eighth ahead of Hendriks on Tuesday, we think he is the top choice to pick up vulture saves when Hendriks needs a break. 

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Soria | Diekman.

July 28, 2020
Oakland A’s – Liam Hendriks did get the day off on Monday, but the A’s kept Jake Diekman in his usual 8th inning role, instead giving the 9th to Joakim Soria. The righty converted for his first save of the year, so we’ll monitor this situation to see if this is how Oakland intends to play things when Hendriks is off. 

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Diekman | Soria.

July 27, 2020
Oakland A’s – With all their top arms rested, the A’s went with Joakim Soria, Jake Diekman, and Liam Hendriks to secure the victory over the Angels. It’s the second time this season they’ve used that trio in that order, so we’ll line up Hendriks’ set-up men accordingly.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Diekman | Soria.

July 25, 2020
Oakland A’sHalf-credit in our Twitter contest to MiketheMayor1, who counterintuitively tabbed “Hendricks” for the first blown save of 2020. If spelling matters, though, Kyle pitched a shutout, while Liam Hendriks gave up a game-tying home run, then loaded the bases before escaping, allowing the A’s to be the first team to win an extra-inning game under the new runner-on-second regime. Meanwhile, Yusmeiro Petit pitched the fifth, so we’ll keep an eye on this hierarchy going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Petit | Soria.

February 24, 2010
Oakland A’sBreakout star Liam Hendriks will try to keep things rolling the same way in 2020, backed up by the same pair of 35-year-olds: Yusmeiro Petit and Joakim Soria. Jake Diekman and Lou Trivino round out the A-team.

Starting 2020 hierarchy: Hendriks | Petit | Soria.
Holds candidates: Petit, Soria, Diekman.

September 29, 2019
Oakland A’s – Jesus Luzardo nailed down his second save of the season yesterday, striking out three over two scoreless innings to finish off a 1-0 victory for the A’s.  Luzardo has been fantastic out of the bullpen in September but will likely move to the starting rotation next season.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

September 16, 2019
Oakland A’s – Pitching in just his second big-league game, Jesus Luzardo tossed the final three innings of Oakland’s 6-1 win to pick up his first career save. Luzardo, who notched a three-inning hold in his MLB debut on Sept. 11, has impressed the A’s but won’t factor into their usual late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

September 11, 2019
Oakland A’s – Daniel Mengden pitched the final three innings of a 21-7 blowout on Tuesday. He does not factor in to the A’s usual late game plans.

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

August 30, 2019
Oakland A’s — One day after allowing all four baserunners to reach in a terrible 10-pitch outing in a tie game Wednesday, Blake Treinen was nowhere to be seen in Oakland’s 9-8 win on Thursday. Yusmeiro Petit, Joakim Soria and Jake Diekman bridged the gap to Liam Hendriks, who recorded a five-out save. Entering Wednesday, Treinen had been pitching better, with 12 scoreless appearances over his previous 16 games, but it appears he has fallen out of favor for the surging A’s, who currently sit in the second Wild Card spot and need every win they can get. One writer says Treinen was called into the tight situation on Wednesday only because Petit (3.01 ERA, 0.86 WHIP) needed rest. We’ll take that as a sign that Petit has usurped the former closer in the late innings.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Soria | Petit.

August 23, 2019
Oakland A’s — The Vulture Save Watch correctly predicted Liam Hendriks’s day off — but instead of Blake Treinen, who had thrown only five pitches since last Saturday, the A’s used Joakim Soria, who allowed a run but managed to record his first save. Neither Soria nor Treinen has been very good lately, but we’ll give Soria the leg up based on usage.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Soria | Treinen.

July 6, 2019
Oakland A’s — When Blake Treinen hit the IL, Oakland turned the closer role over to Liam Hendricks. In Treinen’s absence, Hendriks extended his scoreless streak to 14 appearances, and his dominance will officially keep him in the ninth even after Treinen’s return.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Treinen | Soria.

July 5, 2019
Oakland A’s — With Liam Hendriks and Blake Treinen both unavailable yesterday, the A’s turned to Lou Trivino in the eighth inning and Joakim Soria in the ninth inning to close out a win. Had Oakland not scored four runs in its half of the eighth, Soria would have earned a save opportunity against the top of the Twins’ order. He was up in the ‘pen after Trivino’s successful outing. We’ll move Soria into the hierarchy based on yesterday’s usage.

Updated hierarchy: *Treinen | Hendriks | Soria.
* = closer-by-committee

July 4, 2019
Oakland A’s — Blake Treinen returned from the IL on Wednesday, but will be eased back into the closer role, sharing opportunities for now with reigning AL Reliever of the Month Liam Hendriks. Don’t give up on Hendriks yet, especially with Treinen giving up a run and getting the loss in his debut. We’ll stick the committee asterisk on the situation for now.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Hendriks | Trivino.
* = closer-by-committee

June 28, 2019
Oakland A’s — Blake Treinen threw 20 pitches from flat ground on Thursday, a step in the right direction. He’ll have an off day Friday with a bullpen session planned in the near future. 

Hierarchy remains: Hendriks | Trivino | Soria.

June 27, 2019
Oakland A’s — Liam Hendriks earned his second save in Blake Treinen’s absence, and Joakim Soria helped him get there, pitching a clean eighth in a two-run game.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Trivino | Soria.

June 23, 2019
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen was placed on the IL with a strained rotator cuff.  Liam Hendricks will get the first chance at closing and it went well yesterday with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.  

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Trivino | Petit.

June 22, 2019
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen was placed on the IL earlier today with a shoulder strain. Expect Liam Hendriks to close for the time being.

Updated hierarchy: Hendriks | Trivino | Petit.

June 18, 2019
Oakland A’s – On May 9, Lou Trivino had a 1.13 ERA and was looking like one of the best set-up men in baseball, but it’s been a tough last six weeks for the righty, as he’s given up 21 runs across his last 19 appearances, pushing his ERA all the way up to 4.93. So last night, it was Liam Hendriks who bridged the gap to Blake Treinen. Hendriks has only allowed one run in 9 June appearances and should continue to see hold opportunities until Trivino can straighten himself out.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Hendriks | Trivino.

June 12, 2019
Oakland A’s — Liam Hendriks struck out the side to earn a hold on Tuesday in Tampa. Hendriks is a better late-inning option than Joakim Soria, who has allowed an earned run in each of his last four appearances.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Hendriks.

June 5, 2019
Oakland A’s — Lou Trivino has struggled of late, having allowed seven earned runs over his last three appearances. Based on his recent ineffectiveness, it wasn’t too crazy to see Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh inning and Liam Hendriks in the eighth inning in Oakland’s 4-2 win on Tuesday. Bob Melvin said after the game that he just wanted to give Trivino an extra day of rest and that his role hasn’t changed. Hendriks, who was once a potential opener for Wednesday’s game but now won’t be, lowered his ERA to 1.62 but only picked up his second hold of the year. Petit, who has the ability to pitch multiple innings, now has eight holds this year. Both pitchers may find themselves earning more high-leverage work; we’ll monitor how much trust Melvin retains in Trivino and Joakim Soria.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Soria.

May 9, 2019
Oakland A’s — In his first appearance since April 28, Blake Treinen overcame his elbow soreness and threw a reassuringly clean two innings.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Soria.

May 8, 2019
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen was available to pitch on Tuesday and did warm up in case the A’s needed him in the ninth, but Mike Fiers finished a 131-pitch no-hitter.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Soria.

May 6, 2019
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen was held out of action this weekend as he was dealing with a sore arm, but he felt much better on Sunday and will likely return early this week. He’s getting an MRI today just to be safe, though; Lou Trivino would be the likely beneficiary if he misses any time.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Soria.

May 5, 2019
Oakland A’s — Blake Treinen is battling elbow soreness and was unavailable yesterday.  Treinen thinks it is elbow tendinitis, but he will be checked out further on Monday.   Lou Trivino would have been the closer yesterday and appears to be the speculative add if Treinen’s injury turns out to be anything serious.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Soria.

April 25, 2019
Oakland A’s — Lou Trivino is day-to-day with a bruised thumb on his pitching hand, but Bob Melvin expects him to avoid the injured list.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Soria | Trivino.

April 4, 2019
Oakland A’s — Fernando Rodney hasn’t been getting high-leverage looks this season, and when he finally did — in a tied ninth inning — he gave up three runs on four hits. Lou Trivino is second in line here, and Ryan Buchter is probably third.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Soria | Trivino.

February 18, 2019
Oakland A’s — Never known to have a fully stable ninth-inning situation, it appears Oakland will begin 2019 in a new way, sporting one of the top closers in baseball, Blake Treinen. Treinen will cost a pretty penny on draft day, but the hype may be warranted (0.78 ERA, 0.834 WHIP, 38 saves in 2018). 2018 may not have been an outlier — while his ERA and WHIP will likely rise some, he has been pretty consistent throughout his career. His rough start in 2017 led to his exodus in Washington, but otherwise, he has sported ERAs south of 3.00 in each full season except 2015 & 2017 (both ERAs those years were under 4.00, though). The A’s lost Jeurys Familia in free agency, but joining Treinen at the back end will be the newly signed Joakim Soria and Fernando Rodney, who will be back for his age-42 season.

Starting 2019 hierarchy: Treinen | Soria | Rodney.
Holds candidates: Soria, Rodney, Trivino.

September 23, 2018
Oakland A’s — Jeurys Familia pitched Saturday and allowed an earned run for the third time in four appearances. Meanwhile, Fernando Rodney has overcome a rough stretch of his own to string together four straight scoreless outings. We’ll keep an eye on where both of these former closers are trending in case Blake Treinen needs a night off prior to the postseason.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Familia | Rodney.

September 12, 2018
Oakland A’s — We predicted in Sunday’s Vulture Save Watch that Blake Treinen may get two straight days off following three consecutive outings, and our prediction came true when Jeurys Familia closed out Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Baltimore. After the game, Bob Melvin confirmed that he indeed wanted to give Treinen an extra day of rest.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Familia | Rodney.

August 16, 2018
Oakland A’s — Oakland is consistently using Fernando Rodney later than Lou Trivino, and we have to believe that he’d be third choice for saves at this point.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Familia | Rodney.

August 10, 2018
Oakland A’s — The A’s acquired Fernando Rodney from Minnesota, but he doesn’t break into their late-inning hierarchy at this point. Consider him fourth or fifth in line in this strong bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Familia | Trivino.

July 21, 2018
Oakland A’s — Oakland’s bullpen gets a nice boost with the addition of Familia, but don’t expect closer Blake Treinen to lose his job since he has been terrific this year. That’s bad news for Familia owners, as he will join Lou Trivino as a setup man for Treinen.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Familia | Trivino.

July 21, 2018
Oakland A’s — Oakland’s bullpen gets a nice boost with the addition of Familia, but don’t expect closer Blake Treinen to lose his job since he has been terrific this year. That’s bad news for Familia owners, as he will join Lou Trivino as a setup man for Treinen.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Familia | Trivino.

July 13, 2018
Oakland A’s — Closer Blake Treinen got the night off Thursday after pitching in two of the previous three games, and the A’s handed the ball to Lou Trivino, who converted the vulture opportunity for his fourth save.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Buchter.

July 1, 2018
Oakland A’s — The Vulture Save Watch went 2 for 2 yesterday, with the assist going to Santiago Casilla.  With the A’s up five in the ninth, Casilla loaded the bases and Lou Trivino came on to get last two outs and record the save.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Buchter.

June 28, 2018
Oakland A’s — Blake Treinen got Wednesday off after some heavy recent use and — as we predicted — Lou Trivino earned his second save of the season.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Buchter.

June 10, 2018
Oakland A’s — Ryan Buchter, activated from the DL on Monday, made sure not to waste any energy getting to the mound in his first appearance since April 25. He didn’t exert much energy once he got to the mound, either, as the only batter he faced hit a ground rule double and eventually scored. Before the game, Bob Melvin was excited about Buchter’s return. Despite Monday’s tough start, we expect Buchter to once again be a part of Oakland’s late-inning plans.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Buchter.

June 10, 2018
Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla has returned from the disabled list.  Casilla is an interesting case because he has not been used in a set-up role much this season, but when Treinen had an injury scare at the end of April, Casilla was the one who got the call as the closer.  He will likely not be a good option for holds but could still be an option to close when Treinen is not available.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Casilla.

June 9, 2018
Oakland A’s — With a four-run lead, Oakland turned to Lou Trivino with two men on and two outs in the 8th inning. He got a groundout to end the threat and then stayed in for the 9th after Oakland extended the lead to five. He pitched a clean ninth inning, and because he entered the eighth with the tying run on deck, he earned his first save of the year. Trivino has put together an excellent start to the year, and this appearance cements his spot as the primary setup man for Blake Treinen.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Petit.

June 8, 2018
Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla could be activated from the disabled list as early as Friday. He should move into his “everyman” bullpen role right away and compete for save chances if Blake Treinen needs a breather.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Trivino | Petit.

May 27, 2018
Oakland A’s — The A’s placed Santiago Casilla on the DL with a sore right shoulder.  The A’s are hopeful Casilla doesn’t miss much time, but Lou Trivino and Yusmeiro Petit should fill in while he is out.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Trivino | Petit.

May 25, 2018
Oakland A’s — Yusmeiro Petit threw three innings in middle relief to pick up the win Thursday, but it was Lou Trivino getting a couple outs in the eighth before handing the ball to Blake Treinen. Trivino has late-inning holds in two of the last three narrow wins for the A’s, giving him five holds on the season. Petit has been solid, but he’s being used more in middle relief lately, so we’ll give the slight edge to Trivino in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Trivino.

May 18, 2018
Oakland A’s — The A’s bullpen continues to be . . . intriguing? Frustrating? Last night, Santiago Casilla came into the game in the third inning and allowed three runs over two innings — strange usage for a man who looks like the first in line for saves if Blake Treinen gets hurt. He has the team’s only vulture save this season (and zero holds), so for now that’s the evidence keeping him in the hierarchy. If you’re hunting for holds, Yusmeiro Petit and Lou Trivino (0.59 ERA in 15.1 IP) are better bets.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Petit.

May 15, 2018
Oakland A’s – Yusmeiro Petit pitched the 7th and 8th innings ahead of Blake Treinen to earn his third hold of the season. We still think Santiago Casilla is the best bet for a save on nights that Treinen isn’t available, but the veteran has been used all over the place lately, and Petit is probably a better player to own at this point for those looking to score some holds.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Petit.

May 5, 2018
Oakland A’s — Bob Melvin talked up Danny Coulombe and Yusmeiro Petit in Ryan Buchter’s absence, but he’s been using Ryan Dull the most.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Dull

April 28, 2018
Oakland A’s — Shortly after a Blake Treinen injury scare, Ryan Buchter has been sent to the DL with shoulder stiffness. Bob Melvin expects his role to be filled primarily by Danny Coulombe and Yusmeiro Petit.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Petit. 

April 26, 2018
Oakland A’s — Good news for Oakland fans and Blake Treinen owners, as his bruised shin doesn’t seem to be particularly serious. Treinen thought he could have pitched on Wednesday if needed, so he should be at full strength for Friday’s game.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Buchter. 

April 25, 2018
Oakland A’s — There was a bit of a panic when Blake Treinen was drilled with a line drive in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s game, but Bob Melvin said after the game that Treinen just has a bruised right shin and should be good to go by Friday. Santiago Casilla picked up the save on Tuesday and is likely to get the call again on Wednesday if the A’s are ahead in the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Buchter. 

April 19, 2018
Oakland A’s — The A’s called on setup guy Santiago Casilla right away in Wednesday’s game, summoning him in the fourth inning with two on, down three. He gave up his first two hits of the season, expanding the lead to five. Burning Casilla so early forced Oakland to use Blake Treinen for the ninth, tenth, and eleventh innings (44 pitches), then rely on rookie Lou Trivino for three impressive innings to earn the win in 14. We don’t expect Casilla to get a lot of play in the fourth going forward; although Ryan Buchter has been used late, Casilla is probably still the handcuff of choice for the A’s.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Buchter. 

April 16, 2018
Oakland A’s – Ryan Buchter picked up his fourth hold of the season on Sunday, retiring two hitters before giving way to closer Blake Treinen, who pitched the final 1.1 innings. That appearance is enough to elevate him over the struggling Chris Hatcher.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Buchter. 

April 9, 2018
Oakland A’s – Santiago Casilla pitched two scoreless innings last night, and the veteran has still yet to even allow a hit on the season. Casilla and Chris Hatcher appear to be the two most likely candidates to get a save chance on nights when Blake Treinen is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Hatcher. 

February 26, 2018
Oakland A’s — Blake Treinen should continue as the Oakland closer, and is working on improving his fastball command. The setup options are much the same as last season: some combination of Liam Hendriks, Santiago Casilla, and Chris Hatcher, plus better-than-you’d-think newcomers Yusmeiro Petit and Emilio Pagan.

Starting 2018 hierarchy: Treinen | Hendriks | Petit.
Holds candidates: Hendriks, Petit, Ryan Buchter.

September 28, 2017
Oakland A’s — Liam Hendriks got the seventh ahead of Chris Hatcher and Blake Treinen last night. We know that, at this point in the season, we’re the only ones who care about this, so we didn’t bother emailing you about it. You’re welcome. Donate button’s on the right sidebar!

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Hatcher | Hendriks.

September 21, 2017
Oakland A’s — We warned you to expect a deep vulture save from Oakland on Wednesday, but what we didn’t know is that they’d try to ride Ryan Dull for two innings to get it. Dull made things exciting by giving up two quick runs in the ninth, so Aussie Liam Hendriks came on to bail him out and earn his first career save.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Hatcher | Casilla.

September 18, 2017
Oakland A’s – Chris Hatcher finished off the seventh and then pitched a clean 8th inning ahead of Blake Treinen on Sunday. We don’t know for certain that he’d get the save chance if Treinen needs a night off, but given his success since coming to Oakland (2.81 ERA over 16 IP), he’s now a better bet than Santiago Casilla, who has mostly been pitching in losses.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Hatcher | Casilla.

September 7, 2017
Oakland A’s — The A’s rested Blake Treinen (59 pitches in two days) and Santiago Casilla (three straight games), leaving Chris Hatcher to get his first save of the season in his third straight appearance.

Hierarchy remains: Treinen | Casilla | Hatcher.

August 27, 2017
Oakland A’s — Chris Hatcher has been busy since making his debut for the A’s on August 16th.  Since then, he has made six appearances, including three holds immediately ahead of closer Blake Treinen.  The A’s clearly trust their new bullpen arm, and Hatcher could move ahead of Santiago Casilla as first in line if he keeps pitching well.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Hatcher.

August 12, 2017
Oakland A’s — No more asterisk for Blake Treinen, who has established himself above Santiago Casilla over the last two weeks.

Updated hierarchy: Treinen | Casilla | Dull.

August 7, 2017
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen picked up his second save with the A’s on Sunday, pitching a clean 9th for the second day in a row. Both weekend outings came after Santiago Casilla got the 8th, but we’ll leave the committee tag on for another few days. On Friday, he was summoned in the 7th inning, in what was clearly a “we need to use our best guy NOW” spot for Bob Melvin, so while Treinen is clearly the stopper for his new team, he might be moved around from time to time.

Hierarchy remains: *Treinen | Casilla | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

August 1, 2017
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen picked up his first Oakland save last night, putting him firmly at the front of the team’s closer-by-committee. He’s allowed only one earned run and seven total baserunners (4 H, 3 BB) in 9.1 IP since joining the team, and is clearly the best reliever in the bullpen right now. If he converts his next opportunity, that might be enough for us to shed him of his asterisk.

Hierarchy remains: *Treinen | Casilla | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

July 29, 2017
Oakland A’s — Bob Melvin seems to be committed to the committee approach, indicating before Friday’s game that Santiago Casilla would likely get the ninth inning with a lead. He also mentioned Ryan Dull and Frankie Montas — who gave up four walks in a two-inning outing last night — as contenders for the late innings. This competition seems to be wide open, so the next week could be crucial. We still like Treinen as the best arm, but there’s not a lot of clarity in the Bay Area right now.

Hierarchy remains: *Treinen | Casilla | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

July 28, 2017
Oakland A’s – A’s beat reporter Susan Slusser suggested before Thursday’s game that manager Bob Melvin could be thinking about a change at closer, given Santiago Casilla’s recent troubles. Sure enough, after he got the last out of the eighth inning, Blake Treinen got the save chance in the ninth. Treinen allowed a game-tying home run, but after the game Melvin hinted that a change could still be coming soon, saying, “You either stick with a guy or give a guy a break.” While John Axford won’t be among the late-inning options, Ryan Dull will be, after he returned from the DL yesterday and recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning.

Updated hierarchy: *Treinen | Casilla | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

July 27, 2017
Oakland A’s – Santiago Casilla blew his fourth save in 16 games on Wednesday. He is still the closer, but his hold on the job has become even more tenuous with Blake Treinen now on the team. Treinen has four holds and a 0.00 ERA since joining the A’s.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Treinen | Hendriks.

July 19, 2017
Oakland A’s – Blake Treinen impressed on Tuesday, pitching a clean eighth inning in a one-run game before Santiago Casilla blew the save in the ninth. It’s early in his tenure with Oakland, but Treinen appears to have quickly earned Bob Melvin’s trust.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Treinen | Hendriks.

July 17, 2017
Oakland A’s – Santiago Casilla is unaffected by the Madson/Doolittle deal, but the other relievers in this bullpen just got a major boost in value, as Casilla remains a viable trade target over the next few weeks. Blake Treinen, just acquired from the Nationals, might get a new shot at the 9th inning if he can work out his issues. Liam Hendriks has the stuff (50 Ks in 38.1 IP) to be a closer sooner rather than later, though he has some control issues. Lefty Daniel Coulombe is also a possibility if they go the committee route.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Hendriks | Coulombe.

July 5, 2017
Oakland A’s – For the ninth game in a row, the Oakland bullpen allowed a run. This time it was Santiago Casilla allowing the tying run to score as part of his fourth blown save of the year. Casilla’s ERA is at 4.02 and hovered around that mark for much of June into July. Sean Doolittle had allowed an earned run in each of his last two appearances prior to a clean eighth inning Tuesday, but if Casilla’s struggles continue he may get a chance to reclaim the closer’s role.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.

June 19, 2017
Oakland A’s – A day after being hit with a foul ball, Santiago Casilla got the afternoon off, and Sean Doolittle picked up his third save of the season. Score one for the Vulture Save Watch, and know that all signs still point to Casilla being fine going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.

June 18, 2017
Oakland A’s — As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Santiago Casilla got the day off and the A’s used Sean Doolittle for the save opportunity.  Doolittle responded by striking out the side in a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season.  Although Casilla was unavailable yesterday just due to rest, he may be unavailable for a little while longer after getting hit with a foul ball in the dugout.  The A’s say he’s OK, but we will have to wait for more information to see if he is going to miss any time.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.

June 11, 2017
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle returned last night with a perfect eighth inning ahead of closer Santiago Casilla.  Prior to Doolittle’s injury in April, the A’s were employing a semi-committee approach with Doolittle and Casilla getting saves.  Casilla was fine in the closer’s role by himself while Doolittle was out, but he certainly didn’t run away with the job.  Doolittle could work his way back to some chances if he continues to pitch like he did last night.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.

June 8, 2017
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle threw a no-hitter on Wednesday night — or at least one-ninth of one — to finish his rehab assignment with the Nashville Sounds. Doolittle should rejoin Oakland this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Madson | Hendriks.

June 2, 2017
Oakland A’s — Since coming off the disabled list, John Axford has pitched in five games (all Oakland losses) and allowed seven runs (6 ER) on three walks and four strikeouts (11.57 ERA, 2.57 WHIP), including Thursday’s disastrous outing in which he allowed three runs (2 ER) in just one-third of an inning to put a 5-1 deficit out of reach. He’s probably a long way from closing, even in a pinch. This brings us to Sean Doolittle, who will start a rehab assignment Friday. For now, we like Aussie Liam Hendriks (3.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, four holds) to take Axford’s spot in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Madson | Hendriks.

May 27, 2017
Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla gave up a run in a non-save situation, bumping his ERA to 4.91 on the year. Meanwhile, Ryan Madson picked up his sixth hold in a perfect eighth inning, lowering his ERA to a tidy 1.86. Casilla hasn’t been terrible, but his K rate is down from the past two years, and he’s walking more batters than normal. With Madson pitching so well behind him, Casilla may be on a shorter leash, making Madson a solid speculative add.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Madson | Axford.

May 21, 2017
Oakland A’s — Ryan Dull has been placed on the DL with an injury to his right knee.  John Axford has returned, and the veteran should take over Dull’s role in the later innings.  In other injury news for the A’s bullpen, Sean Doolittle may be back sooner than originally expected.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Madson | Axford.

May 4, 2017
Oakland A’s — Tough news for the A’s, who announced that Sean Doolittle has yet another shoulder strain, his third in three years. The early speculation is that Doolittle could be out for a while. As a result, Ryan Dull moves into the hierarchy, Santiago Casilla kicks his asterisk, and potential future closer Bobby Wahl joins the big club — although Wahl’s first major league appearance on Wednesday was shaky, with two hits and a hit batsman.

Updated hierarchy: Casilla | Madson | Dull.

April 23, 2017
Oakland A’s – Santiago Casilla and Sean Doolittle both got the night off after pitching back to back games, so Ryan Madson came on for the save chance, striking out the side in the 9th. HOPE YOU’VE BEEN oh wait we missed this one. Nomonkey’s perfect.

Hierarchy remains: *Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 22, 2017
Oakland A’s — For the second night in a row, Santiago Casilla pitched the ninth inning with a lead, this time converting a perfect save opportunity. Bob Melvin described Casilla as “a closer,” hastening to add that he wasn’t the only one Oakland has. Casilla has allowed only one hit in eight innings this year, but Sean Doolittle has also been effective, and shut down the Mariners’ 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth last night. We’ll move Casilla to the head of the committee for now, but either guy could still get chances.

Updated hierarchy: *Casilla | Doolittle | Madson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 19, 2017
Oakland A’s — Santiago Casilla picked up his second save of the season on Tuesday. It was just the third save total for the A’s this season, with Sean Doolittle having picked up the other one. That’s not a lot of saves.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Casilla | Madson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 13, 2017
Oakland A’s — As we retweeted, Bob Melvin has installed Sean Doolittle and Santiago Casilla as the heads of Oakland’s closer committee. Both guys have been excellent; Casilla has gone four innings, allowing only one baserunner, while Doolittle has struck out 7 of the 11 batters he’s faced this year. Ryan Madson and Ryan Dull will share whatever’s left.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Casilla | Madson.
* = closer-by-committee

April 11, 2017
Oakland A’s – The closer-by-committee arrangement in Oakland is proving durable to start the season, as Bob Melvin continues to rotate through his best arms in tight games. Last night it was Smash Mouth superfan Sean Doolittle picking up his first save of the season in a two-run win at Kansas City. Santiago Casilla, who notched the A’s first save of the season, pitched the eight inning.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Casilla | Doolittle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 5, 2017
Oakland A’s — For the second straight night, Ryan Madson got the eighth inning and the task of facing the heart of the Angels’ order. He retired Mike Trout and got Albert Pujols to ground into a double play. However, unlike Monday, Bob Melvin tabbed Ryan Dull and not Santiago Casilla for the ninth. Melvin liked the matchups for Dull, though it didn’t work out, as Dull allowed a three-run homer. Melvin, who said Casilla was unavailable, looks committed to playing matchups when the A’s hold a late lead, with Madson likely getting the toughest assignments no matter the inning. Good luck, everybody.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Casilla | Doolittle.
* = closer-by-committee

April 4, 2017
Oakland A’s — The A’s played matchups in the late innings, deploying Sean Doolittle against Kole Calhoun, then bringing in Ryan Madson to face Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. This left Santiago Casilla to grab the save in the ninth. Bob Melvin has talked about doing things a little differently in the bullpen, and this looks like the makings of a full-fledged closer committee.

Updated hierarchy: *Madson | Casilla | Doolittle.
* = closer-by-committee

February 27, 2017
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson is not guaranteed the closer’s job despite 30 saves in 2016. Manager Bob Melvin essentially told reporters he has four or five guys vying for the gig. Madson, to his credit, is impressed with the bullpen depth. The closing candidates include Madson, Sean Doolittle, Santiago Casilla and John Axford, with the latter three likely rounding out a deep A’s bullpen.

Starting 2017 hierarchy: Madson | Doolittle | Casilla.
Holds candidates: Doolittle, Casilla, Axford.

September 20, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Madson continued his free fall last night, getting touched up for two runs on three hits and taking the loss. He has struggled mightily in September, going 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP. While this is terrible news for Madson owners during fantasy playoffs, it is an opportunity for those owners desperate for saves. Both Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle are good speculative options should Bob Melvin demote Madson.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Dull | Doolittle.

September 19, 2016
Oakland A’s – Due to recent struggles against the Texas lineup, Ryan Madson was given Sunday off, and Ryan Dull got the save in his place. After a subpar August, Dull appears to have found his form again, and with the A’s out of the race, he could get another look or two down the stretch.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Dull | Doolittle.

September 17, 2016
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson’s seventh blown save of the season on Friday renews speculation that the team will return Sean Doolittle to the role next year, if not sooner.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

September 13, 2016
Oakland A’s — Zach Neal picked up his second three-inning save of the season on Monday, moving him into a tie with John Axford and Ryan Dull for third on the A’s in saves this season.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Axford | Doolittle.

September 3, 2016
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle is back from the disabled list and some extra rehab. He should see some late-inning work if the A’s get a lead over the final month of the season.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Axford | Doolittle.

August 11, 2016
Oakland A’s — After two straight days of use, Ryan Madson got Wednesday off. John Axford picked up the save.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Axford | Dull.

August 5, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Dull picked up his second of the season on Thursday after pitching a clean 10th inning. John Axford and Ryan Madson had already appeared in the game. In related bullpen news, injured reliever Sean Doolittle is scheduled to throw a bullpen session this weekend.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Axford | Dull.

July 27, 2016
Oakland A’s – With Ryan Madson unavailable after pitching in two straight and three of four, John Axford got the final two outs of the ninth to preserve a 6-3 win. Prior to the game, manager Bob Melvin maintained that Madson, who blew a save on Monday (his third in his last eight outings), is still the closer. However, Melvin also clarified that Axford, and not Ryan Dull, will close when Madson is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Axford | Dull.

July 11, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Madson blew his second consecutive save on Sunday, and he now has five blown saves on the year. With Oakland looking to sell off parts, they’re probably going to give him every chance to turn it around so they can maximize his trade value. (Hey, did we mention we’ll be doing Trade Deadline previews?)

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Dull | Axford.

July 10, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Dull’s streak of stranding inherited runners ended on Saturday but he still picked up his first save of the season.   Regular closer Ryan Madson was unavailable, and Dull should continue to see save chances when Madson can’t go.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Dull | Axford.

July 5, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Dull set a record last night for stranding inherited runners. His reward is the first in line spot on the Closer Monkey hierarchy, as his appearance last night was the second time in a row that he’s been used to set-up Ryan Madson.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Dull | Axford.

July 1, 2016
Oakland A’s – Lefthanded setup man (and sometimes closer) Sean Doolittle has been placed on the 15-day DL with a shoulder injury. Manager Bob Melvin said the pitcher will be shut down because of “subtle changes” in his labrum. An MRI Thursday showed inflammation in the shoulder. Doolittle, who had been considered a trade candidate, said there’s no specific timetable for when he will resume throwing and added that he was “frustrated.” No kidding. Ryan Dull (2.23 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 4 holds), who has pitched in wins in his last five appearances, slides into the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Axford | Dull.

June 29, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Madson was needed for a six-out save on Tuesday, going two innings for the first time since 2009. Sean Doolitle was unavailable, sore from a 33-pitch outing on Saturday. He’ll be evaluated on Wednesday, but if he is unavailable again look for John Axford to get a save chance.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

June 26, 2016
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle pitched out a bases loaded, one out jam in the ninth inning yesterday in a non-save situation.  However, the bigger news may be that Ryan Dull stranded two more inherited runners.  Dull has now stranded all 32 inherited runners this season.  Dull is still behind Madson, Doolittle, and Axford when it comes to saves chances but he is having a great season for the A’s bullpen.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

June 24, 2016
Oakland A’s – Former (or sometimes) closer Sean Doolittle picked up his fourth save of the season Thursday night. Regular closer Ryan Madson, meanwhile, pitched the eighth inning. It appears manager Bob Melvin was playing matchups, as Madson was asked to mow down Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron. He retired the side on 16 pitches, striking out two. Doolittle, who may be on the block, allowed two runs in an ugly ninth inning but was able to secure the win for Oakland.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

June 14, 2016
Oakland A’s — Zach Neal, who was called up from Triple-A Nashville on Friday, snagged his first career save last night, pitching three innings to close out the Rangers in front of Draymond Green in Oakland.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

June 4, 2016
Oakland A’s — When starter Jesse Hahn couldn’t get out of the first inning, it was all hands on deck for Oakland. With recalled J.B. Wendelken delayed by travel issues, Bob Melvin turned to utility infielder Tyler Ladendorf for a scoreless eighth. Although he hadn’t pitched since high school, Ladendorf managed to join legends like Honus Wagner, Ike Davis, and High Pockets Kelly on the longer-than-expected list of players with career ERAs below their batting averages.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

June 1, 2016
Oakland A’s — John Axford picked up his first save with the A’s; Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson had each been used in two straight games. Every member of the “special” Oakland hierarchy has earned a save in the last three days.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

May 30, 2016
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle picked up his first save in over a month after Ryan Madson was used to get the heart of the order in the 8th inning. Doolittle has looked sharper lately, but he’s still not going to get too many opportunities to close, as even he admitted after the game. This was a matchup play, and while Doolittle might see another chance here or there, Madson remains the man in Oakland.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

May 17, 2016
Oakland A’s – For the second straight night, John Axford got the 8th inning ahead of Ryan Madson, earning his sixth hold of the year. Sean Doolittle was used to finish off the 7th inning and seems to have slipped further down the Oakland hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Madson | Axford | Doolittle.

May 15, 2016
Oakland A’s — Bob Melvin confirmed what we already knew when he announced that Ryan Madson is the A’s closer.  Madson has received the majority of save chances and has converted each one so far this season.  Sean Doolittle is pitching better recently, but he will need Madson to slip up before he has a chance to regain the closer’s role.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

May 14, 2016
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson has now loaded the bases in an astonishing four straight appearances, escaping each time without a run allowed. With Sean Doolittle rounding into form, a five-game streak could see Madson’s Houdini act moved to an earlier showing.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

May 1, 2016
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson made it interesting yesterday, as he loaded the bases with one out in the 9th, but got a game ending double play to earn the save.  Madson is now 8 for 8 in save opportunities and we don’t see this as a committee anymore.  John Axford pitched 1.1 scoreless innings ahead of Madson yesterday and lowered his ERA under 1.00 on the season.  Axford could challenge Doolittle for saves when Madson is unavailable.

Hierarchy remains: Madson | Doolittle | Axford.

April 23, 2016
Oakland A’s — Although Bob Melvin says Oakland still has a closer committee, Sean Doolittle allowed two inherited runners to score before Ryan Madson earned save number seven with a perfect ninth. The A’s have been keeping their bullpen busy, with nine saves in their ten wins.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Axford.
* = closer-by-committee

April 22, 2016
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson continues to solidify his role atop Oakland’s committee, getting a two-out save on Thursday and solidifying a road sweep of the Yankees. With six saves, Madson is now tied for the league lead, as everyone predicted.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Axford.
* = closer-by-committee

April 21, 2016
Oakland A’s – As predicted in yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch, Ryan Madson got the day off and it was Sean Doolittle who got the ball in the 9th to protect a three-run lead. He converted the save throwing only eight pitches. This is still a committee in Oakland, but Madson has been the clear leader, taking the bulk of save opportunities in the early going.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Axford.
* = closer-by-committee

April 20, 2016
Oakland A’s – Ryan Madson solidified his spot at the top of the Oakland committee on Tuesday, picking up the eleventh-inning save. Sean Doolittle pitched the eighth in a tie game, a role Doolittle should have more often than not, given Madson’s success so far.

Hierarchy remains: *Madson | Doolittle | Axford.
* = closer-by-committee

April 18, 2016
Oakland A’s – Bob Melvin explained Sean Doolittle’s usage after the game on Saturday, and for the first time acknowledged that “it depends” who gets the 9th inning — on that day, it was because Doolittle had been overworked so he wanted to use him for only one batter. On Sunday, meanwhile, Doolittle needed a day off entirely after pitching in two games in a row, allowing Ryan Madson to capture his 4th save of the year. (Doolittle has only one.) So we’re officially in committee mode in Oakland right now, and given Doolittle’s early struggles, we’ll elevate Madson to the top of the line with the understanding that this is still a fluid situation.

Updated hierarchy: *Madson | Doolittle | Axford.
* = closer-by-committee

April 17, 2016
Oakland A’s — Ryan Madson picked up his third save of the season on Saturday, compared to just one for closer Sean Doolittle.  Doolittle came on for the last out of the 8th, getting lefty Alex Gordon to fly out.  Doolittle has struggled with homers so far this season but feels like he is still pitching well.  It’s early in the season, and the bullpen has been a little out of whack, thanks to outings like Rich Hill’s on Friday, but Doolittle owners have to be concerned about how many save opportunities Madson has seen so far this season.  Despite the results so far, we think Doolittle is still the primary closer, but we will continue to monitor this situation to determine if this is going to become more of a committee.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Axford.

April 9, 2016
Oakland A’s — A few days ago, Bob Melvin explained that though Sean Doolittle was the team’s closer, he could be used in the eighth if matchups required a strong lefthander. And in a tie game Friday night, Doolittle came on in the eighth to face the middle of the Seattle order, including two lefties and a switch-hitter. Ryan Madson earned his second save of the year and told reporters afterward that there were “no egos” in the Oakland bullpen. This approach is great for A’s fans and bullpen postmodernists, but Doolittle owners might prefer a more traditional role for the bearded one, as he fights to return to his 2014 dominance.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Axford.

April 7, 2016
Oakland A’s — With Sean Doolittle getting a night off after pitching in the past two games, Ryan Madson picked up the save. Madson has looked solid in the early going, and could definitely push Doolittle for the closer’s role, but Madson himself is calling Doolittle the “anchor.”

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Madson | Axford.

February 29, 2016
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle, who missed the majority of last season with a shoulder injury, will begin 2016 as the A’s closer. He flashed some promising signs at the end of 2015, collecting four saves over his final six appearances. Oakland also signed two veteran relievers to add some depth behind Doolittle — Ryan Madson and John Axford. Watch out for Australian flame-thrower Liam Hendriks, who found success in Toronto as a relief pitcher after years as a mediocre starter.

Starting 2016 hierarchy: Doolittle | Madson | Axford.
Holds candidates: Madson, Axford, Marc Rzepczynski.

October 4, 2015
Oakland A’s — Felix Doubront pitched a scoreless bottom of the thirteenth inning to pick up the save yesterday.  Sean Doolittle and Ryan Dull were unavailable.  Doubront has been a starter most of the season, including his previous six appearances, and does not factor into the A’s regular late inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Dull | Pomeranz.
* = closer-by-committee

September 26, 2015
Oakland A’s — Pitching for the first time in nine days, Sean Doolittle entered in the eighth inning with a man on first. He let the first three men reach (single, single, walk), got a foul popout, then labored through the ninth for a grueling 38-pitch save. Ryan Dull got the seventh and eighth before him and (although he was touched for his first earned runs) seems to have moved ahead of Drew Pomeranz.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Dull | Pomeranz.
* = closer-by-committee

September 19, 2015
Oakland A’s — The committee lives in Oakland. After Sean Doolittle threw 26 pitches in a two-inning outing on Thursday, it was impressive rookie Ryan Dull’s chance to lock down the eighth and ninth and earn his first career save.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

September 13, 2015
Oakland A’s — Ryan Dull pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth inning last night.  He now has eight scoreless innings, with ten strikeouts, to begin his career and should continue to see time in the later innings for the A’s.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Dull.
* = closer-by-committee

September 8, 2015
Oakland A’s – We speculated yesterday morning that Sean Doolittle would get the first save chance the next time the A’s were in a tight game, and sure enough, that opportunity came that very afternoon. Doolittle needed only five pitches — two pop outs and a three-pitch strikeout — to convert, and with his velocity continuing to climb, he looks to be in the driver’s seat for saves in Oakland the rest of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.
* = closer-by-committee

September 7, 2015
Oakland A’s – Sunday’s 1-run loss to the Mariners saw both Drew Pomeranz and Sean Doolittle pitch, but for the first time, Pomeranz went first, logging a scoreless 8th before giving way to Doolittle for the 9th. We’ve been saying since he returned that Doolittle would eventually get the closer job back, and though he hasn’t reclaimed it yet, we think the next save chance goes to him.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.
* = closer-by-committee

September 5, 2015
Oakland A’s — With Oakland down one in the ninth, Drew Pomeranz gave up a two-run home run. His struggles make it somewhat more likely that Sean Doolittle will get a chance to reclaim the closer role before the year is up.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.

August 31, 2015
Oakland A’s — It was a good night for Sean Doolittle owners, as the lefty pitched his first clean inning since returning from the DL. Also in Doolittle’s favor: after departing with a 1-run lead, he watched as Drew Pomeranz coughed it up in the 9th. Pomeranz continues to look like the better pitcher, though, despite last night’s hiccup, and is worth holding on to if you have the roster space. He’s throwing hard and has earned the trust of Bob Melvin, while Doolittle’s velocity still hasn’t returned to pre-injury levels.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.

August 30, 2015
Oakland A’s – Drew Pomeranz struck out the side on Saturday night to earn his third save of the year.  Sean Doolittle has given up at least a run in each of his two appearances since returning from the disabled list.  Pomeranz could still see some save opportunities in the short term, but long term Doolittle should settle back into that role.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.
* = closer-by-committee

August 24, 2015
Oakland A’s – Our initial prognostications were accurate, as Bob Melvin said shortly after Sean Doolittle’s activation that he expects the lefty to win the closer job back. But Doolittle got off to a rocky start yesterday, as his first outing was a 7th-inning appearance that saw him give up a lead. We still think he’s the favorite to emerge from this committee, but other relievers could get save opportunities until he gains his footing.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.
* = closer-by-committee

August 23, 2015
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle was activated on Saturday, and while Manager Bob Melvin said that Doolittle will get at least one outing before returning to closing games, last night was just another reason why the A’s need Doolittle in the ninth inning sooner rather than later.  With a one run lead, switch-pitcher Pat Venditte got the call to face the righties due up.  He gave up a hit and walk, before Drew Pomeranz came on to try and preserve the lead.  He gave up a two-run double to the first batter he faced and the A’s lost by one run.  Pomeranz and Venditte could still see some time in the ninth inning in the near future but look for Doolittle to take over as soon as he can.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Venditte.
* = closer-by-committee

August 22, 2015
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle has been activated from the disabled list. None of the Oakland beat writers have reported on his usage, as they haven’t been able to talk to Bob Melvin yet, so this is purely a hunch. However, we think he’s the best bet to close for the rest of the year and we’re immediately moving him to the top of Oakland’s committee. Drew Pomeranz has been the best reliever in the bullpen, but the A’s have continually used him for multiple-inning outings, which is a role he seems more suited for as a former starter (and a role that Doolittle has never filled), and we think that’s where he’s headed as soon as Doolittle gets his feet under him. For what it’s worth, Doolittle allowed only three baserunners in 6 innings while logging 13 strikeouts in the heavy-hitting Pacific Coast League during his rehab.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Pomeranz | Mujica.
* = closer-by-committee

August 20, 2015
Oakland A’s – Drew Pomeranz picked up his second save of the season last night, and when asked after the game if Pomeranz is the closer, manager Bob Melvin said “He was today.” Those three words confirm that his committee is still alive, at least for now. Sean Doolittle could rejoin the team as early as Monday, and there is at least some pressure to let Pomeranz have a shot full time. Last night the 9th started with dangerous left handers Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, so Pomeranz’s use could just be playing matchups. We’ll move Pomeranz to the top spot of the hierarchy for now. However, long term it is worth it to go after Sean Doolittle, who may finally bring some major stability to this bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: *Pomeranz | Mujica |Rodriguez.
* = closer-by-committee.

August 18, 2015
Oakland A’s – A few days after complaining about the dreaded forearm tightness, A’s left-hander Drew Pomeranz was back in the mix last night, working a scoreless 6th inning with two strikeouts. We will keep an eye out for any injury news, but for the time being Pomeranz will bump Fernando Abad out of the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Mujica | Rodriguez | Pomeranz.
* = closer-by-committee.

August 15, 2015
Oakland A’s — Edward Mujica pitched the seventh and eighth innings with Oakland down two runs, and after the A’s tied the score, Fernando Rodriguez pitched the ninth. As the game stretched on, Drew Pomeranz worked the eleventh and twelfth, then suffered an apparent elbow injury in the thirteenth. The good news is that Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect eighth for Nashville on a rehab assignment; until he gets back, we’ll move the streaking Fernando Abad into the hierarchy, assuming that Pomeranz takes some time off. The A’s are one intradivisional trade away from the world’s first all-Fernando hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: *Mujica | Rodriguez | Abad.

August 10, 2015
Oakland A’s – Edward Mujica’s time as closer for the A’s may have already come to an end. Staked to a 2-run lead against the Astros, Mujica threw 10 pitches, allowing two singles and a go-ahead 3-run home run. The A’s bailed him out by rallying in the bottom half of the inning, but Bob Melvin implied after the game that someone else might get the next save chance. At the very least, Mujica is now in a committee, and Drew Pomeranz or Fernando Rodriguez could end up the full-time stopper in the near future.

Updated hierarchy: *Mujica | Pomeranz | Rodriguez.
* = closer-by-committee

August 9, 2015
Oakland A’s — Edward Muijca worked a perfect 9th inning yesterday for his first save with the A’s.  Injured closer Sean Doolittle pitched a scoreless inning on a rehab assignment on Friday.  He is expected to pitch another inning today and could be back in the next couple weeks.

Hierarchy remains: Mujica | Pomeranz | Rodriguez.

August 2, 2015
Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty has been designated for assignment.  Fernando Rodriguez could see more time in the later innings moving forward.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Pomeranz | Rodriguez.

July 31, 2015
Oakland A’s — Former closer Sean Doolittle threw off a mound Thursday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. He threw 26 pitches in a bullpen session and said he was “pretty happy” with the movement on his pitches. Doolittle still hopes to pitch again this season.

Hierarchy remains: Mujica | Pomeranz | O’Flaherty.

July 29, 2015
Oakland A’s – While still unconfirmed that he subscribes to Closer Monkey, A’s manager Bob Melvin made sure Edward Mujica will remain at the top of our hierarchy, saying before the game that Mujica will close following the Tyler Clippard trade. Mujica’s experience was the main factor in Melvin’s decision. Drew Pomeranz will remain in a set-up role, but Melvin also mentioned he can be used in multiple situations out of the bullpen.

Updated hierarchy: Mujica | Pomeranz | O’Flaherty.

July 27, 2015
Oakland A’s – Tyler Clippard has been traded to the Mets. As mentioned earlier, we believe Edward Mujica is probably the best bet for saves in Oakland at the moment. Drew Pomeranz could also factor if the A’s continue to reconsider shifting him to the rotation, and one A’s beat writer believes Eric O’Flaherty is a possibility. Check back to see if the A’s anoint someone specific.

Updated hierarchy: *Mujica | Pomeranz | O’Flaherty.
* = closer-by-committee

July 27, 2015
Oakland A’s – Tyler Clippard is likely to be traded soon, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Nationals, Mets, and Yankees were listed as possible landing spots; he would not close for any of those teams. The two most likely beneficiaries in the Oakland bullpen are Edward Mujica and Drew Pomeranz; the latter was discussed as a candidate for the rotation, but recently had his Wednesday start scratched.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Mujica | Pomeranz.

July 24, 2015
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle, who was pitched in just one game this year, said this week he is working extremely hard to pitch again this season. “It looks like there’s a really good chance I’ll be pitching this year,” Doolittle said. We don’t envision Doolittle getting a save opportunity this year, but him getting in a few games this August or September could go a long way in helping you keeper-leaguers decide if he’s worth holding onto.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Mujica | Pomeranz.

June 26, 2015
Oakland A’s — Tyler Clippard did his job, recording the save, but it’s who pitched ahead of him that caught our eye. In the seventh inning, we saw Drew Pomeranz, and in the eighth, we saw Edward Mujica, who returned from the DL last week and may start getting more looks in the late innings. Mujica closed for the Cardinals a couple years ago, and started this year as the Red Sox closer while Koji Uehara was hurt. Don’t forget that Clippard has been prominently mentioned in some trade rumors recently, and that Evan Scribner has recorded as many home runs allowed as he has strikeouts (three) over his last eight appearances (5.2 IP). Add it all up, and Mujica belongs in the hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Mujica | Pomeranz.

June 24, 2015
Oakland A’s – With Tyler Clippard unavailable after throwing nearly 60 pitches this past weekend, it was Drew Pomeranz who took the 8th inning and stayed on for the 9th to earn his first career save. Clippard should be available today after two days off to recover.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Scribner | Pomeranz.

June 17, 2015
Oakland A’s – Former starter Drew Pomeranz has joined the Oakland bullpen and picked up his second hold in as many chances on Tuesday. He’s moved past Eric O’Flaherty, who sports an 8.38 ERA and no holds since April 14.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | Pomeranz.

June 15, 2015
Oakland A’s – The A’s don’t expect Sean Doolittle to return any time soon; they just transferred him to the 60-day DL to clear a roster spot.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Scribner | O’Flaherty.

June 13, 2015
Oakland A’s — Nothing (green and) gold can stay. Switch-pitching Pat Venditte, who started his career with 5.2 scoreless innings, became the latest Oakland player to hit the disabled list, with a frayed right labrum. And no, everyone, he can’t just pitch with his left arm, not if he wants his shoulder to heal right. We’ll toss Eric O’Flaherty in the hierarchy for now, based solely on his history as an above-average reliever, but Billy Beane is probably taking applications if you’re interested.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | O’Flaherty.

June 6, 2015
Oakland A’s — A four-run meltdown on Thursday was enough to get a struggling Dan Otero demoted to Triple-A; replacing him on the 25-man roster was the ambidextrous Pat Venditte, who rushed to Boston in time to pitch two scoreless innings in a loss, retiring batters with each hand. Sure, he’s probably not really second in line for the A’s, but whom would you prefer? Long man Drew Pomeranz? Eric O’Flaherty (10.13 ERA)? Fernando Abad (more earned runs than strikeouts)? Fernando Rodriguez (is Fernando Rodriguez)? Sean Doolittle isn’t coming through that door anytime soon, and Ryan Cook is in Nashville with Otero. For today, at least, P. ‘Ditte ain’t . . . goin’ nowhere.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | Venditte.

May 30, 2015
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle is headed back to the DL with a left shoulder strain.  The injury will likely keep Doolittle out until at least the All-Star break.  Tyler Clippard should continue to close in his absence.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | Otero.

May 29, 2015
Oakland A’s — With Sean Doolittle still being eased back into the closer’s role after his first appearance on Wednesday (a scoreless sixth inning with 1 hit allowed), the A’s called upon Tyler Clippard for Thursday’s save. Clippard allowed one run on a Brett Gardner double, but was able to close the door for his fifth save. We still strongly believe that Doolittle is back in the big leagues to close, and close soon, but it could be worth hanging onto Clippard until Doolittle gets the ball in the ninth inning — though it remains to be seen just what he’ll choose to “ride” to the mound.

Hierarchy remains: *Doolittle | Clippard | Scribner.
* = closer-by-committee

May 26, 2015
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle will be activated from the disabled list today. Bob Melvin has repeatedly said that while Doolittle won’t close right away, he will be serving in that role in short order. So we’re moving him to the top of the hierarchy because the assumption is that he will be the closer by the end of the week; we’ll tag him with an asterisk for now and remove it once he gets his first save.

Updated hierarchy: *Doolittle | Clippard | Scribner.
* = closer-by-committee

May 14, 2015
Oakland A’s –Sean Doolittle is set to begin a rehab assignment today. Manager Bob Melvin didn’t say how many minor-league outings Doolittle will need, but the sooner the A’s bullpen can get him back, the better. He should slide back into the closer’s role upon his return.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Scribner | Otero.

May 5, 2015
Oakland A’s — Ryan Cook’s early struggles got him sent back to the minors; Dan Otero is probably the best of Oakland’s remaining seventh-inning options until Sean Doolittle’s return relieves some of the pressure on the A’s pen. Otero had made late-inning appearances in five straight games before Monday night.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | Otero.

May 1, 2015
Oakland A’s – Injured A’s closer Sean Doolittle (shoulder strain) threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Thursday, and could begin a rehab assignment next week. If that goes well, he could be in line to return to Oakland by Memorial Day and would certainly figure into manager Bob Melvin’s late-inning plans.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Scribner | Cook.

April 27, 2015
Oakland A’s — Oakland’s bullpen has been struggling lately, turning Evan Scribner into an eighth-inning fixture, and leading Bob Melvin to give Ryan Cook the seventh-inning role in his season debut. Cook pitched well, but Tyler Clippard blew the save. Clippard has enough good will built up, though, that he’s not on the Hot Seat yet. Sean Doolittle is throwing from flat ground, but he still isn’t expected back until June.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | Scribner | Cook.

April 19, 2015
Oakland A’s — Jesse Chavez recorded a save yesterday by pitching the last 3.2 innings after starter Jesse Hahn left with an injury.  Chavez does not factor into the A’s late inning plans but Sean Doolittle will when he returns and he is making progress.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | O’Flaherty | Otero.

March 29, 2015
Oakland A’s — Manager Bob Melvin confirmed that Tyler Clippard will begin the season as their closer.  Sean Doolittle is still working his way back from a shoulder injury and felt good after his first throwing session on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | O’Flaherty | Otero.

March 26, 2015
Oakland A’s — A struggling Ryan Cook was sent to the minors on Tuesday to fix his mechanics. Eric O’Flaherty and Dan Otero will back up Tyler Clippard during Sean Doolittle’s absence, and young R.J. Alvarez is another intriguing option. Doolittle, meanwhile, is staying busy teaching his coaches about social media.

Updated hierarchy: Clippard | O’Flaherty | Otero.

March 18, 2015
Oakland A’s – Tyler Clippard has let his once-surefire gig as interim closer slip a bit, as a few tough preseason outings have brought Ryan Cook — and Eric O’Flaherty and Dan Otero — into the conversation. Sean Doolittle will start his throwing program soon, so this could just be a short-term problem for Oakland, and to be clear, we still think Clippard is the best healthy reliever to own. But the situation warrants watching in the coming weeks.

Hierarchy remains: Clippard | Cook | O’Flaherty.

March 6, 2015
Oakland A’s — With Sean Doolittle starting the year on the disabled list — and sleeping on the couch after his semifinal loss in the #FaceofMLB contest — the uber-durable Tyler Clippard will start the season as the closer. Clippard led the NL in holds in 2011, 2013, and 2014, and saved 32 games for Washington in 2012. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty and righty Ryan Cook will back him up, along with Dan Otero and Fernando Abad. If the ambidextrous Pat Venditte can somehow make the team, he could set a new record for appearances — in games, and in Closer Monkey updates.

Starting 2015 hierarchy: Clippard | Cook | O’Flaherty.
Holds candidates: Cook, Clippard (eventually).

September 13, 2014
Oakland A’s – Closer Sean Doolittle returned from the DL yesterday.  Manager Bob Melvin said that everyone will return to their normal roles so it sounds like Doolittle will resume closing games immediately.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | O’Flaherty | Cook.

September 12, 2014
Oakland A’s – As expected, the A’s have activated Sean Doolittle from the disabled list. Given the problems they’ve had in the late innings lately, it’s likely that Doolittle resumes closing immediately.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | O’Flaherty | Cook.

September 12, 2014
Oakland A’s – All signs point towards Sean Doolittle’s activation today. Since we anticipate his immediate return to his old gig, expect a live alert if and when he is officially activated.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

September 11, 2014
Oakland A’s — After a successful outing on Wednesday, Sean Doolittle is on track to return from the DL on Friday.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

September 9, 2014
Oakland A’s — Despite manager Bob Melvin saying yesterday that Eric O’Flaherty was likely unavailable on Monday, the A’s skipper summoned O’Flaherty in the ninth for the save chance. O’Flaherty was one strike away, but a solo shot sent the game into extras. O’Flaherty has not pitched in back-to-back games this year, meaning Ryan Cook might get another shot if the A’s lead in the ninth on Tuesday.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

September 8, 2014
Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty has been unavailable with lower back tightness and will not pitch on Monday.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

September 7, 2014
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle threw a bullpen session yesterday and said he felt good throwing all his pitches.  He is eligible to come off the DL Monday but will likely need a few more days before he returns.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

August 28, 2014
Oakland A’s — Eric O’Flaherty gave up a solo home run, but earned his first career save on Wednesday. He remains atop the Oakland closer committee. Ryan Cook was used in the sixth and seventh; Dan Otero pitched in the seventh and eighth.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

August 27, 2014
Oakland A’s — Something to keep in mind when thinking about the Oakland committee is that Eric O’Flaherty has yet to pitch in back-to-back games all year. Luke Gregerson spared him the chance tonight by giving up a three-run homer in an eventual 4-2 loss.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

August 26, 2014
Oakland A’s – The A’s had just a 3-2 lead entering the ninth and Eric O’Flaherty was warming for his first save chance since Sean Doolittle landed on the DL. However, Oakland scored five runs in the top half of the final frame and O’Flaherty recorded the final three outs in a non-save setting. Melvin mentioned in his postgame comments that he didn’t want to get O’Flaherty warmed up and not use him. He’s still at the top of our hierarchy, but we’ll see if Melvin gets another committee member some ninth-inning reps.

Hierarchy remains: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

August 24, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle has been placed on the DL with an intercostal strain. Luke Gregerson was expected to see the majority of save chances, but before Sunday’s game, Bob Melvin said that Gregerson would stay in the eighth inning while Dan Otero, Ryan Cook, and Eric O’Flaherty share save chances. It’s an odd decision, since Gregerson closed earlier this year and has pitched the 8th ever since, but it’s all we’ve got to go on for now, so we’ll do our best to handicap things based on the one-game sample size that we’ve got. On Sunday game, Otero pitched in the 7th inning with the A’s down by nine runs, while Cook pitched the 9th and O’Flaherty was idle. The fact that O’Flaherty didn’t pitch, combined with this strong endorsement from A’s beat writer Susan Slusser, means that O’Flaherty starts at the top of the committee for now. We’ll slot Cook in afterwards, since he’s got the past closer experience, and follow him with Gregerson, mostly because we’re stubborn and still think he’s the guy for the job. And despite his usage yesterday, Otero is in the mix as well.

Updated hierarchy: O’Flaherty | Cook | Gregerson.

August 24, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle recorded his 20th save of the season last night, but he may have injured himself in the process.  Doolittle grimaced in pain after making the throw to first to end the game.  The trainers did tests on him after the game and he was optimistic after he was able to complete the tests.  It doesn’t sound like it will be serious but it will be something to monitor, and if Doolittle does miss any time, Luke Gregerson should take over as closer.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Gregerson | Cook.

July 15, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle has been terrific since taking over for Jim Johnson and has helped the A’s to the best record in baseball at the All-Star break. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: None

June 30, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle and Luke Gregerson had both pitched in two straight and three of four, so the A’s used Ryan Cook to get the last four outs of the game on Sunday. Cook, Dan Otero, and Fernando Abad will continue to jockey for 7th inning chances.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Gregerson | Cook.

June 29, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle’s scoreless inning streak ended at 26 yesterday, as he blew a one run lead in the 9th inning.  Jeff Francis ended up getting the save in the 14th inning, but he does not factor into the A’s normal late inning bullpen plans.

Hierarchy Remains: Doolittle | Gregerson | Otero.

June 20, 2014
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle, he of the most ridiculous K/BB ratio since 1900, got the night off Thursday after pitching in two games in a row. Righty Dan Otero picked up the save in his place.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Gregerson | Otero.

June 4, 2014
Oakland A’s — Ryan Cook was reactivated from the disabled list on Tuesday and, although he didn’t make it into the game, Bob Melvin had him warming along with lefty Fernando Abad in a tied seventh inning. If Cook can return to form, he should move into a seventh-inning role right away.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Gregerson | Cook.

May 30, 2014
Oakland A’s – With $10 million invested, the A’s really want Jim Johnson to succeed — or at least be a usable reliever. But after giving up 2 runs in the 7th inning of a close game on Thursday afternoon, Johnson’s ERA sits at 6.55. The A’s season is exactly 1/3 over, so we’ve reached the point where a small sample size is no longer an excuse, and with the rest of the bullpen essentially dominating, Johnson is unlikely to sniff a save opportunity again for a long time.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Gregerson | Abad.

May 21, 2014
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle’s first walk in nine months didn’t scare off Bob Melvin Tuesday night. After the lefty finished off the Rays, he was officially anointed Oakland’s closer. “It’s pretty cool, I guess,” was Doolittle’s response — fitting for a man who’s been known to dance like no one is watching to George Michael.

Hierarchy remains: Doolittle | Gregerson | Johnson.

May 19, 2014
Oakland A’s – A week ago today, Sean Doolittle got his second save of the season. Since then, the A’s haven’t had another save opportunity, but even before yesterday, it had started to appear that Doolittle was becoming the preferred option. Bob Melvin said on Wednesday that Doolittle would’ve gotten the save chance if there had been one that evening, and then Doolittle pitched the 9th inning in a 4-run game on Saturday. Meanwhile, Jim Johnson’s usage has been restricted to blowouts — the 9th inning of a 10-run game on Friday, and then the 6th inning of an 8-run game yesterday. In the latter appearance, Johnson walked 3 batters, hit a fourth, and then got yanked. Johnson appeared to be back on track earlier this month, but he’s fallen pretty far over the past week, and will probably have to string together a few strong appearances before he re-enters the conversation in Oakland. Look for Doolittle to be the main option for now, with Luke Gregerson getting the call if the A’s are facing a righty-heavy ninth inning.

Updated hierarchy: Doolittle | Gregerson | Johnson

May 15, 2014
Oakland A’s — Although the A’s blew a one-run lead in the eighth, Bob Melvin helpfully announced after the game that Sean Doolittle would have pitched the ninth in a save situation. The committee lives.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Doolittle | Gregerson.

May 14, 2014
Oakland A’s — Bob Melvin renewed Oakland’s commitment to a closer committee on Tuesday, noting that Sean Doolittle’s value with men on base can sometimes keep him from finishing close games. That acknowledgment suggests to us that Johnson still has a slight edge in the saves race going forward, but it’s anything but a full-throated endorsement.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Doolittle | Gregerson.

May 13, 2014
Oakland A’s — The A’s were seemingly on their way to a comfortable win over the White Sox, but after starter Jesse Chavez allowed a leadoff homer in the ninth and Fernando Abad followed that up with a walk, Jim Johnson made a mess of things. He faced just two batters, allowing a double and an RBI single before giving way to Sean Doolittle. After a sac fly cut Oakland’s lead to 5-4, Doolittle fanned the next two batters to pick up the save. Manager Bob Melvin praised Doolittle after the game and after being booed off the field, Johnson may be another poor outing away from losing the job he just reclaimed.  Jim Johnson to Hot Seat; Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to Set-up, Luke Gregerson to 2nd in line.

May 8, 2014
Oakland A’s
 — Jim Johnson got the ball in the ninth inning with a 2-0 lead, and retired the side to record just his second save of the season. An easy final three outs hasn’t been Johnson’s strong suit, but it appears as if he’ll get Oakland’s save opportunities moving forward. Should he slip again, expect Luke Gregerson to return to the ninth.

Hierarchy change: Johnson | Gregerson | Doolittle.

May 7, 2014
Oakland A’s — Down a run late, the Athletics went to Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, and then Jim Johnson, in what appeared to be another attempt to ease Johnson back into the closer’s role. That process may have been derailed after Johnson surrendered four runs (three earned) in 2/3 of an inning. No hierarchy change.

May 1, 2014
Oakland A’s — Jim Johnson remains undefeated — for his career! — when protecting an 11-run lead. Luke Gregerson, who hadn’t pitched since Saturday, got the eighth inning in this laugher, and it seems all but official that JJ will claim the next high-leverage ninth. We’ll slide him up one slot, for now. Hierarchy change: Jim Johnson to Set-Up, Sean Doolittle to 2nd in line.

April 26, 2014
Oakland A’s – The A’s were tied throughout the latter half of Friday night’s game, and used Sean Doolittle in the 7th inning, followed by Luke Gregerson in the 8th.  Jim Johnson was warming up in the bullpen as they took the lead in the 9th, but the A’s proceeded to score a total of 7 runs in the top half of the inning, so Johnson sat down and Fernando Abad came in to mop up.  Bob Melvin was quick to tell anyone who would listen that Johnson has not re-claimed the job, and that Oakland is still using a committee.  But this feels like one of those spots where the manager takes a firm public stance just to take pressure off a player.  Johnson has five straight scoreless appearances covering 6.2 innings, and he was brought in on a sizable contract to close games for the A’s.  We think he’ll get the next save opportunity, and as long as he converts, the job will be his again.  No hierarchy change.

April 23, 2014
Oakland A’s — Luke Gregerson was one strike away from his fourth save of the year; instead, he blew his second in less than a week, and took the loss. Meanwhile, Fernando Abad continued his scoreless streak by picking up two outs in the eighth, and Jim Johnson was warming up as the winning run scored. Bob Melvin was incensed in his postgame press conference; it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll turn next, but Abad, Johnson, and Sean Doolittle are all options. No hierarchy change.

April 17, 2014
Oakland A’s — It was Luke Gregerson’s turn to blow a save on Wednesday. Bob Melvin has said that he’ll consider making some changes in the bullpen on tomorrow’s off day; don’t be surprised if Jim Johnson gets back into it. Hierarchy change: Jim Johnson to 2nd in line, replacing Ryan Cook.

April 16, 2014
Oakland A’s — Sean Doolittle blew a save late Tuesday night, courtesy of a Mike Trout home run. No instant alert for this one — they were even anyway — but we’re ready to shuffle Luke Gregerson to the top of the Oakland closer committee. Note also the resurgence of Jim Johnson, who’s pitched five scoreless innings since he was moved out of the ninth inning. Hierarchy change: Luke Gregerson to Closer, Sean Doolittle to Set-up.

April 15, 2014
Oakland A’s — After the Angels’ Ernesto Frieri blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, Luke Gregerson earned his second save of the season in the bottom half of the inning. Oakland’s committee continues to shine, with Gregerson likely getting the call thanks to the pair of righties due up in the ninth.  No hierarchy change.

April 13, 2014
Oakland A’s –Luke Gregerson picked up the first save for Oakland since Jim Johnson was removed as closer.  Sean Doolittle pitched a perfect 8th and also got the first out of the 9th before Gregerson came on to finish the game.  Tonight’s usage was likely matchup driven, as there were 2 lefties and a switch hitter due up in the 8th inning.  No hierarchy change.

April 11, 2014
Oakland A’s – Bob Melvin has said little about his closer-by-committee thus far, but we got a hint yesterday about his preferred options when he summoned Ryan Cook in the 8th inning of a 4-run game.  Cook had 16 saves over his first two seasons, but he’s still rounding into form after starting the season on the DL.  His usage yesterday suggests that Luke Gregerson is the preferred right-hander in the committee right now.  Hierarchy change: Luke Gregerson to Set-up, Ryan Cook to 2nd in line.

April 10, 2014
Oakland A’s – Bob Melvin is giving Jim Johnson a break from closing duties for the time being.  Johnson may have the chance to win the job back if he pitches well, but for now, the A’s are going closer by committee.  Sean Doolittle, Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook, and Dan Otero all figure to be involved.  Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to Closer, Ryan Cook to Set-up, Luke Gregerson to 2nd in line.

April 10, 2014
Oakland A’s — It’s hard to raise a 15.00 ERA, but Jim Johnson pulled it off today. When asked to comment on potential replacements, Bob Melvin helpfully offered, “I’m just saying that I’m not saying anything.” Aha. We see Sean Doolittle as the best alternative, with Luke Gregerson behind him in a virtual tie with Ryan Cook, who’s still recovering from shoulder issues. No hierarchy change.

April 8, 2014
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook returned from the disabled list and pitched a scoreless ninth inning in an 8-3 Oakland win. He should take over the 7th-inning role previously held by Luke Gregerson. Hierarchy change: Ryan Cook to 2nd in line, replacing Luke Gregerson.

April 3, 2014
Oakland A’s – After taking a loss on Monday, Jim Johnson came on for the save last night and gave up three runs to blow the save.  Through two appearances, Johnson’s line is hideous: 1.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 3BB, 0 Ks.  He’s making a lot of money to be the stopper in Oakland, and thus far, the A’s are still giving him their full support.  But a few more outings like this one and they’ll have to turn elsewhere — most likely to hard-throwing lefty Sean Doolittle.  Jim Johnson to Hot Seat.

April 1, 2014
Oakland A’s — Jim Johnson made his A’s debut in the ninth inning of a scoreless game and allowed the first three batters to reach before giving up a sac fly and a single. He was taken out to a chorus of boos, though there’s no sign of the reigning saves leader in the AL losing his new job.  No Hierarchy change.

March 23, 2014
Oakland A’s — Ryan Cook is expected to start the season on the DL.  Veteran Luke Gregerson should take over for Cook while he is out.   Hierarchy change: Luke Gregerson to 2nd in line, Ryan Cook injured.

March 13, 2014
Oakland A’s — Jim Johnson had a second straight year of 50 saves, sure, but don’t forget the nine blown saves either. Oakland will probably not present the same wealth of save opportunities as Baltimore has. Ranked #15 in our preseason closer rankings.

March 7, 2014
Oakland A’s – The A’s brought Jim Johnson in to be their new stopper, and gave him a contract big enough to ensure his early-season job security.  Not much else to see here, as Sean Doolittle and Ryan Cook will likely share 8th inning duties again.  Cook has been recovering from some tendinitis, but is confident he’ll be ready for the season.  If he can’t go, the newly-acquired Luke Gregerson will slide up into his spot.  Starting 2014 hierarchy: Closer – Jim Johnson, Set-up – Sean Doolittle, 2nd in line – Ryan Cook.  

September 14, 2013
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook came on with 2 outs in the 8th inning last night and proceeded to give up a walk and two hits while recording no outs.  Sean Doolittle got the last out of the 8th and stayed on for the 9th to pick up his 2nd save of the season.  Grant Balfour admitted recently that his arm is tired so Doolittle and Cook could see a few more save chances down the stretch.  Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to Set-up,  Ryan Cook to 2nd in line.

September 9, 2013
Oakland A’s – The fantasy managers out there that picked up Brett Anderson two weeks ago (no one) have now gotten three saves out of the converted perfect gamer.  At this point, it doesn’t seem that outlandish to suggest that Anderson might get another long-relief save or two before the season ends, as the A’s might continue to use him in this fashion going forward.  In the deepest of leagues, he might be worth an add if you’re in a very tight race for saves.  No hierarchy change.

September 8, 2013
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour threw 37 pitches in his Friday outing, so the A’s went to Sean Doolittle in the 9th on Saturday, and the lefty picked up his first save.  Doolittle continues to share the 8th inning role with Ryan Cook.  No hierarchy change.

September 5, 2013
Oakland A’s – Brett Anderson picked up a three-inning save in a blowout yesterday.  Though he’s now picked up two long-relief saves in the past seven days, he doesn’t factor in to the usual late-inning plans in Oakland.  No hierarchy change.

August 29, 2013
Oakland A’s – Brett Anderson picked up a three-inning save on Wednesday.  The former starter does not factor in to the A’s usual late-inning plans.  No hierarchy change.

July 25, 2013
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour got the day off on Wednesday, and Ryan Cook picked up the save in his absence.  Nothing to see here.  No hierarchy change.

July 17, 2013
Oakland A’s — Oakland might add another arm in middle relief; they were chasing Matt Thornton before the Red Sox sealed that deal. With Grant Balfour facing free agency, though, don’t put it past Billy Beane to deal his All-Star closer, even with the A’s atop their division. TRADE DEADLINE BUY/SELL: BUY Ryan Cook, SELL Grant Balfour.

July 8, 2013
Oakland A’s – Jesse Chavez picked up a 4-inning save last night.  He does not factor in to the A’s usual late-inning plans.  No hierarchy change.

June 3, 2013
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook finished off the 7th and stayed on for a spotless 8th on Sunday, marking the third straight 8th-inning appearance for Cook.  Sean Doolittle, meanwhile, has struggled in his last two outings, allowing two runs each time.  Hierarchy change: Ryan Cook to Set-up, Sean Doolittle to 2nd in line.

May 20, 2013
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour and Sean Doolittle both had the day off on Sunday after pitching the previous two days, so Ryan Cook got the call in the 9th inning.  The righty made it interesting, allowing two runners to reach, but ultimately locked down his first save of the season.  No hierarchy change.

May 4, 2013
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle pitched the 8th, and then stayed on to get the first two outs of the 9th inning, getting Hafner and Ichiro before giving way to Balfour who got one out for the save.  Doolittle has been used in the 8th inning over Ryan Cook a couple times in the past week and looks to have taken over that role. Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to Set-up,  Ryan Cook to 2nd in line.

February 24, 2013
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour recently underwent surgery and will miss six weeks.  If he’s not ready to start the season, Ryan Cook should get the early chances.  Starting 2013 hierarchy: Closer- Grant Balfour, Set-up- Ryan Cook, 2nd in line- Sean Doolittle.

September 13, 2012
Oakland A’s – As expected, Grant Balfour got the night off after three straight games of work, and it was Ryan Cook summoned for a one-out save. No hierarchy change.

September 12, 2012
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour got into trouble in the 9th inning on Tuesday, and Jerry Blevins bailed him out for his first save of the season. Balfour has been pitching well since returning to the closer role and it’s unlikely that his job is in jeopardy. No hierarchy change.

August 30, 2012
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook got the last out of the 8th inning in a close game on Wednesday, then stayed on for the 9th after the A’s tacked on a few runs. Cook has been pitching quite well as of late, but unfortunately for him, so has Grant Balfour, who will probably hold on to the role unless he starts to struggle. No hierarchy change.

August 26, 2012
Oakland A’s – Sean Doolittle pitched the 8th inning ahead of Grant Balfour on Saturday, striking out 2 in a perfect inning for his 9th hold of the year. The A’s have gone back and forth between Doolittle and Jerry Blevins over the past month or so, using whoever is pitching better as their go-to lefty. Lately, that’s been Doolittle, who over his last 7 innings pitched has allowed 0 runs while striking out 13. Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to 2nd in line, replacing Jerry Blevins.

August 17, 2012
Oakland A’s – Jerry Blevins picked up his 9th hold of the season, pitching parts of the 7th and 8th innings ahead of Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour. Cook has now had scoreless outings since being demoted, and if Bob Melvin was serious about Cook’s demotion being temporary, then the young righty could win the job back soon. Grant Balfour, through no fault of his own, is now on notice. Hierarchy change: Jerry Blevins to 2nd in line, replacing Pat Neshek. Grant Balfour to Hot Seat.

August 11, 2012
Oakland A’s – Bob Melvin has removed Ryan Cook from the closer role, saying he wanted to use the rookie in lower-pressure situations. Melvin emphasized that the move may not be permanent, but that he’d go with a closer-by-committee for the time being. Grant Balfour got the save on Saturday after Cook pitched in the 7th and 8th, and Balfour is the best short-term (and possibly long-term) option for saves at this point. Hierarchy change: Grant Balfour to Closer, Ryan Cook to Set-up.

August 5, 2012
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook on Saturday blew his second save in a row and his fourth in his last six chances. He’s now got 7 blown saves on the year, which leads the league, and could be in danger of losing his job to former closer Grant Balfour. On the other end of the bullpen, Pat Neshek, called up two days ago, has not allowed a hit in 3 innings while striking out 4, and earned his first hold of the season last night. Hierarchy change: Pat Neshek to 2nd in line, replacing Sean Doolittle. Ryan Cook to Hot Seat.

July 22, 2012
Oakland A’s – With Ryan Cook getting the night off after pitching three games in a row, the A’s went to Sean Doolittle, who pitched a clean 9th inning for his first save. The hard-throwing lefty now has 29 strikeouts in 19.1 innings and has surpassed Jerry Blevins on the depth chart. Hierarchy change: Sean Doolittle to 2nd in line, replacing Jerry Blevins.

July 13, 2012
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook isn’t going anywhere, but the A’s are actively looking to move Grant Balfour. If Balfour catches on with the right team– like the Mets, or possibly the Cardinals– he could be in the mix for saves. TRADE DEADLINE BUY: Grant Balfour. SELL: None.

July 1, 2012
Oakland A’s – Brian Fuentes was summoned in the 6th inning on Saturday with the A’s down by 4 runs, and he proceeded to give up a run on two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings. Bob Melvin has said that he’s trying to work Fuentes back into a late-inning role, but the lefty isn’t helping himself, as he now sports a 6.84 ERA. Jerry Blevins (2.51 ERA) has been a much more reliable lefty for the A’s, as he picked up a 7th inning hold on Friday. Hierarchy change: Jerry Blevins to 2nd in line, replacing Brian Fuentes.

June 23, 2012
Oakland A’s – All year, Ryan Cook’s dirty little secret has been his hideous BB/IP ratio (5.7 per 9), and yesterday, it finally came back to bite him, as he blew his second save of the season after walking the inning’s first two batters on nine pitches. Under most circumstances, one outing wouldn’t be enough to endanger his job, but Cook has never actually been officially named the closer, and former 9th inning man Grant Balfour has been stellar all month, having allowed 0 runs and 3 hits in his last 9.2 innings. Ryan Cook to Hot Seat.

June 16, 2012
Oakland A’s – Evan Scribner earned a 3-inning save on Friday. He does not factor in to the A’s normal late inning plans. No hierarchy change.

June 13, 2012
Oakland A’s – In the A’s first save opportunity since Bob Melvin announced the platoon, Ryan Cook got the call, striking out 2 and earning his first save. Grant Balfour pitched the 7th and 8th innings. While Fuentes may still get a save chance if match-ups are right, he hasn’t pitched since being demoted. Hierarchy change: Grant Balfour to Set-up, Brian Fuentes to 2nd in line.

June 10, 2012
Oakland A’s – Bob Melvin told the San Francisco Chronicle before Saturday’s game that he would employ a closer-by-committee going forward, with Ryan Cook, Brian Fuentes, and Grant Balfour involved. Melvin also said that Ryan Cook was his best option in any tough situation, making him the best bet to win the job. Hierarchy change: Ryan Cook to Closer, Brian Fuentes to Set-up.

June 9, 2012
Oakland A’s – Brian Fuentes blew another save last night and is now only 5 for 8 in save opportunities. Ryan Cook pitched the 8th last night and struck out the side while lowering his ERA to 0.69. When asked about the closer situation after the game Manager Bob Melvin simply said, “I don’t make a decision like that two minutes after a game.” It appears Melvin is certainly considering a change and Cook has pitched well enough to deserve a shot at closing. No hierarchy change.

May 30, 2012
Oakland A’s – Brian Fuentes allowed a walkoff 3-run HR last night in what was his first blown save since he was named closer two and a half weeks ago. But while Fuentes has been decent in his role as the A’s stopper, the A’s set-up men have been better. Former closer Grant Balfour has held opponents scoreless in 8 of his last 9 appearances. Ryan Cook, meanwhile, gave up his first runs of the season the other day, but still sports a 0.75 ERA. If Fuentes falters again, the A’s could start thinking about making a move. Brian Fuentes to Hot Seat.

May 13, 2012
Oakland A’s – Brian Fuentes picked up the save last night in what initially appeared to be a match-up play; three of the four Tigers hitters due up that inning were lefties. But early this morning, Bob Melvin told the Oakland Tribune that Fuentes was his man for the foreseeable future. “We’ll give Balfour a bit of a break,” he said. Hierarchy change: Brian Fuentes to Closer, Grant Balfour to 2nd in line.

May 3, 2012
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour threw 29 pitches in blowing a save on Tuesday, and has been dealing with a sore back, so Brian Fuentes picked up the save in his absence on Wednesday. But while Balfour remains on the Hot Seat, this isn’t an indication that he’s lost his job yet. If his back continues to bother him, Brian Fuentes or Ryan Cook will get save opportunities. No hierarchy change.

May 2, 2012
Oakland A’s – Grant Balfour was summoned in a four-run game, but couldn’t close the door on the Red Sox, allowing two runs before being yanked; Jordan Norberto got the save in his absence. Given set-up man Ryan Cook’s astonishing season thus far (12 innings, 0 runs, 1 hit), the A’s might be growing impatient with Balfour, who had already blown two of this last three save opps before Tuesday. Grant Balfour to Hot Seat.

April 18, 2012
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook was brought in for the 8th inning, the second consecutive game that he has been used over Brian Fuentes to bridge the gap to Grant Balfour. Cook has yet to allow a run in 5.1 innings so far this season. Hierarchy change: Ryan Cook to Set-up, Brian Fuentes to 2nd in line.

April 14, 2012
Oakland A’s – Ryan Cook got the call for the 8th inning in a 3 run game last night and manager Bob Melvin has said that he plans on using Cook as his primary right-handed set up man. Hierarchy change: Ryan Cook to 2nd in line, replacing Fautino De Los Santos.

March 28, 2012
Oakland A’s- Grant Balfour has been declared the closer to start the season following the departure of Andrew Bailey. Brian Fuentes will get first crack at saves if Balfour falters. Starting 2012 hierarchy: Closer- Grant Balfour, Set-up- Brian Fuentes, 2nd in line- Fautino De Los Santos.

Dec. 29, 2011
Oakland A’s- Andrew Bailey is gone, and an A’s front office representative said that Grant Balfour, Fautino De Los Santos, and Joey Devine will compete for save chances. Balfour should get the first shot. Hierarchy change: Balfour to Closer, De Los Santos to Set-up, Devine to 2nd in line.

Aug. 25, 2011
Oakland A’s- Fautino De Los Santos came into a tie game in the 9th and pitched a scoreless inning, earning the win. De Los Santos recorded a hold in his previous outing, and looks to be gaining the trust of Bob Melvin. Hierarchy change: De Los Santos to 2nd in line, replacing Brian Fuentes.