Remember when Jonathan Broxton was one of the first closers selected in drafts? Broxton has 22 saves, faded in the second half, and is no longer closing. It's another reason why paying for saves isn't the best plan.
Koji Uehara, Brandon Lyon, Hisanori Takahashi, Hong-Chih Kuo and Fernando Rodney inherited the role recently. To emphasize the point, several relievers with the chance for saves in the final weeks highlight this week's waiver wire pickups.
Juan Gutierrez (Diamondbacks, RP): Finally, someone has seized the D-backs' ninth-inning job. In his last 16 innings, Gutierrez has allowed 10 hits, yielded three earned runs, walked six, and struck out 11, while converting all six save opportunities.
Ryan Perry (Tigers, RP): Jose Valverde is expected to miss a few days with elbow soreness and may play it safe. Perry had a save on Thursday and has a 2.70 ERA in 26 2/3 innings since the All-Star break.
Ryan Madson (Phillies, RP): Madson could be filling in for Brad Lidge, who has right elbow soreness. Since the All-Star break, Madson has a 41/4 K/BB ratio in 32 1/3 innings, a 1.39 ERA and 0.74 WHIP.
Danny Espinosa (Nationals, 2B): Espinosa is auditioning for the second base job next season and he's been impressive, batting .409 (9-for-22) with three home runs, three doubles, four runs and 10 RBIs. He had 22 home runs in the minors.
Michael Brantley (Indians, OF): After batting .118 before the All-Star break, he is hitting .285 with 24 runs, two home runs, 14 RBIs, and eight stolen bases in 151 at-bats. He has a 10-game hitting streak.
Jhoulys Chacin (Rockies, SP): He has won three of his last four starts and in 26 innings, has allowed 18 hits, four earned runs, walked eight, and struck out 24.
J.J. Hardy (Twins, SS): He's batting .348 (8-for-23) with seven runs, one home run, and nine RBIs in September.
Brian Matusz (Orioles, SP): He's defeated the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Angels, and White Sox in his last eight starts. He is 5-1 and has allowed 38 hits in 43 innings.
Brayan Peña (Royals, C): He'll get a lot of at-bats with Jason Kendall out for the season. He has 14 hits in his last 37 at-bats (. 378).
All statistics through Thursday.