We are now just six days away from the trade deadline. Obviously, Brad Ziegler had already been dealt this month, and there was another major trade just yesterday, but there should be more to come between now and the next time we speak. As always, keep up to date with the moves with the closer grid, with the recent changes highlighted in yellow. Now, on to the news.
Aroldis Chapman Traded to Chicago: Cubs Edition
I’d like to start by mentioning how amazing it is that this happened the day before this published rather than hours after. This is likely the biggest closer deal we’ll see this summer, as Chapman is obviously among the elite arms in the game and is now going to likely the best team in baseball. He’s not going to be available in most leagues, but if you do own him, his value just went up with the switch to a better team in the easier league. On the other end, Hector Rondon obviously sees his value plummet. That’s not to say he should be dropped, though. He’s been outstanding this season, with his strikeout rate skyrocketing above 11 per nine innings and his walk rate staying constant. Unless there are clear saves available, I’d hold on to Rondon for ratios. Plus, the Cubs may rest Chapman more than most teams would given their high playoff odds, giving Rondon a few more possible save chances this year. He could also be a smart trade target for those in dynasty leagues, as Chapman will probably hit free agency this year, opening up the chance for Rondon to take this job back in 2017.
Aroldis Chapman Traded to Chicago: Yankees Edition
There’s essentially no revelatory analysis to be had on the Yankees side of things. Andrew Miller — who is the best reliever in baseball in this writer’s opinion — slides into the ninth for New York. Of course, he’s almost certainly owned in your league. There’s still a chance he could be dealt for a massive package this week, but that seems unlikely based on reports coming out of the Bronx. Dellin Betances also sees his value rise as he steps into the eight inning role, but he is also probably owned in most leagues. The Yankees bullpen is less terrifying for opponents than it was a couple days ago, but they still have two highly valuable fantasy assets in their relief corps.
The Red Sox Are Hurting
The Chapman deal may have had good timing, but the Closer Gods weren’t totally nice to me this week. Koji Uehara, who took over Boston’s closer role when Craig Kimbrel hit the disabled list, was placed on the DL just hours after last week’s edition of the Closer Report. The aforementioned Ziegler has taken over the ninth inning for the Red Sox in the meantime, but given the timing here, he’s probably already been snatched up. Don’t be too upset if you missed out on him, though, as Kimbrel looks like he could be back in the next week. Ziegler has been good since heading to Boston and will easily hold on to the eighth-inning role over Junichi Tazawa, but he’s not going to be a fantasy stalwart for very long. The other thing to look for is whether or not Dave Dombrowski decides to unload more prospects for another reliever, particularly one from the left side. There is a chance a middle reliever could gain a lot of value in holds leagues over the next week.
Is Edwin Diaz’s Time Coming?
I wouldn’t say that Diaz is my favorite prospective saves out there right now — that is still Ryan Dull — but he is surely up there. The Mariners are in a weird spot, as they are two games above .500 but are still just a bad stretch away from becoming sellers. That could mean that Steve Cishek would be on his way out, opening up the ninth inning for the young Diaz. The 22-year-old has been incredible in his first 21 games, striking out two batters per inning en route to a 1.66 DRA and a 53 cFIP. He’s to the point where he can be trusted to provide fantasy value even without the chance of consistent saves. Right now, my guess would be that chance won’t come until next year, as Seattle seems like a team that will stand pat in July. Still, Cishek is far from a sure thing even if he doesn’t leave town, and Diaz has the talent to put pressure on his manager. This is a situation to watch for down the stretch for teams in need of future saves.
It’s been a rough month for David Robertson, who has a 10.80 ERA and has given up five home runs in seven appearances. He doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy of losing his job, although he has been included in some trade speculation. Nate Jones could be someone to keep an eye on, though I wouldn’t bet on anything happening right now.
The Rockies remain my favorite bullpen to watch this year. Adam Ottavino has been outstanding since returning from injury, and could be another name to watch for in terms of future saves. Of course, he’ll need Carlos Estevez to give away the job, and that doesn’t appear overly likely as of now.
Adam Liberatore has been a fun out-of-nowhere name this year, and he’s climbed all the way up to Los Angeles’ eight inning role. Obviously, Kenley Jansen isn’t going anywhere, but if an injury occurred, Liberatore could gain extreme value in short order.
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