Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Closers and Saves Report - All-Star Break Edition

The All-Star Game happened, and it was fun. But then came Wednesday, the only day of the season with NO BASEBALL. It was awful, but we all made it, we survived. Thursday featured just one game, but then we're back to normal on Friday for the second half. There are plenty of teams still in contention and plenty of things should change before the July 31 trade deadline.

This week, we'll take a look at what bullpens are most likely to change before the first pitch of August is thrown. Some closers will stop closing, some setup men will move into the ninth inning, and some bullpens might look completely different in about 20 days.

Take a look at our Closer Depth Chart, which is updated daily. Let's jump in and take a look at what's been going on in the bullpens around baseball.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Pitchers In Potentially Precarious Positions

American League

Baltimore Orioles- The Orioles have been using Mychal Givens as their "closer" and he ended up leading the team in saves in the first half...with six. Six saves. At the All-Star Break. Givens has shown some upside, with a 34.3% K%. His 4.76 ERA/4.88 FIP is certainly concerning, but a guy with all those strikeouts does have some use in a bullpen. Givens is under team control until 2021, so the Orioles won't be rushed to trade him, but if they receive a good enough offer, he's certainly someone that could move before the deadline. He won't close for any new team he joins, with his best case scenario possibly being joining a committee that already exists.

Boston Red Sox- Just a quick word about the Red Sox here: they have seemingly gone back a bit on scheduling Nathan Eovaldi as a "traditional closer" but he should still have a ninth inning role once he returns from the injured list. They could still seek bullpen help at the deadline though, so anyone besides Nathan Eovaldi is a sell-now in most formats.

Tampa Bay Rays- The Rays seem to hate the idea of a scheduled closer, so they are likely to continue using a committee approach for the rest of the season, even if they do acquire some more high-leverage arms. For now, Diego Castillo (coming off the IL for the second half) and Emilio Pagan should continue to earn saves.

Toronto Blue Jays- Ken Giles is having an excellent season (1.45 ERA/1.49 FIP, 43.4% K%) and should bring back a nice haul for the Blue Jays at the deadline. As long as he stays healthy, Giles is one of the best bets to move before August, and teams have reportedly already started asking the Blue Jays about him. Joe Biagini or Daniel Hudson will likely take over the ninth inning in Toronto, although both of them may be trade targets for teams shooting lower than Giles. Giles could close for his new team depending on where he ends up, as he's been one of the best relievers in baseball this season. Unless he winds up somewhere like Los Angeles, he's likely to remain a ninth inning arm.

Chicago White Sox- The White Sox are still somewhat in it, sitting seven games out of the Wild Card at the All-Star Break. They're likely to be sellers unless they go on a tear to open up the second half, and that means closer Alex Colome could be on the move. Colome has been solid, but some of his peripheral stats show reason for concern. He has a 2.02 ERA and 20 saves in 21 chances, but his FIP sits at 3.99 and he's only putting up a 20.8% K%. If he gets traded, he's much more likely to slide into a setup role than to remain as a closer in a new uniform. Meanwhile, in Chicago, Aaron Bummer looks set to take over the ninth inning and would need to be owned in all formats right away if the White Sox move Colome.

Cleveland Indians- There was word that Cleveland would listen to offers for closer Brad Hand, but now that they'll be starting the second half in the lead for one of the Wild Card spots, it's hard to see them moving one of their better, most consistent players. They may end up adding to the bullpen with guys to bridge the game from their starters to Hand, but there's not likely to be a huge shake up in the Cleveland bullpen.

Detroit Tigers- The Tigers bullpen is another one that's very likely to see some changes before the deadline. Closer Shane Greene has been amazing this season (1.09 ERA, 22 saves, 26.0% K%) and is another guy who is almost certain to be dealt this season. Many people thought the same thing last year though, so we'll see what happens. If Greene does move, his future role will depend greatly on what team he ends up on. There are some closer-needy teams that would slide Greene right into the ninth inning but others that would have him in a supporting role ahead of their closer. Greene's second half fantasy value is a huge question mark in standard leagues, making him a sell-now for those wanting to be safe. Joe Jimenez seems most likely to take over for the Tigers, even though he's having the worst season of his career so far.

Kansas City Royals- The Royals would seem to be a team in full-on sell mode, but their closer Ian Kennedy is actually not particularly likely to be moved this summer. He's been excellent in his new role as closer, but he's got two years left in a five year, $70 million contract, and he's still Ian Kennedy. It's not impossible for him to switch teams, but he's much more likely to stay in Kansas City this summer.

Minnesota Twins- The Twins have been running with a committee in the ninth inning for most of this season, although Taylor Rogers seems to have taken over at least the lion's share lately. That could all come to an end once trades start going down, though. The Twins are rumored to have shown interest in some of the top-flight closers that should be available, meaning Rogers and the rest of the Minnesota committee will slide into setup roles. Any closer who gets traded to the Twins will immediately see a nice bump in value.

**No teams in the AL West are really expected to do much shuffling of their bullpens in the second half. Liam Hendriks should hang on to the ninth in Oakland, the Rangers will continue working Jose Leclerc and Shawn Kelley in their ninth innings, and the Angels should keep trotting Hansel Robles out there. The Mariners will keep trying to find a closer and winding up with a committee, and finally the Astros are all set with Roberto Osuna in their ninth. The Astros and A's may add to the earlier parts of their bullpens, but the closer roles seem safe.


National League

Atlanta Braves- The Braves bullpen has been okay at times, but they are still rumored to be very much in the market for ninth inning help before the deadline. Luke Jackson has been decent this season (2.66 ERA/2.79 FIP and 31.9% K%) but he's blown six saves. Ken Giles is one of the names the Braves have been kicking the tires on, making them one of the teams more likely to have a new closer by August. Jackson will retain value in holds leagues, but he's looking like a guy who may end up insignificant in standard leagues. There's always the chance that the Braves can't work anything out for an elite option and end up strengthening the earlier innings and keeping Jackson around for the ninth, but fantasy owners who want to play it safe should already be preparing for life after he loses his closer's role.

Miami Marlins- Sergio Romo was signed for two reasons: to provide the Marlins bullpen with some veteran experience, and to develop trade value before the deadline. Romo has been decent this season, posting a 4.13 ERA and 16 saves in 17 opportunities. He won't close for whatever team acquires him, placing a clear deadline on his standard league fantasy value. He may actually see a slight increase in value in holds leagues if he moves to a team that installs him as a primary setup man, but he is not likely to earn many saves in a different uniform. In Miami, Nick Anderson may be traded too, but if he stays in Miami, he would likely take over the ninth. Beyond him, perhaps Austin Brice gets a chance to see some ninth inning action.

New York Mets- This season hasn't gone at all the way the Mets wanted it to, but they aren't likely to be major sellers at the deadline. Edwin Diaz has struggled but is under team control until 2022 so he's unlikely to go anywhere. The team may make some minor moves but it shouldn't be anything majorly fantasy relevant.

Washington Nationals- Despite what was widely considered a very rough first half for the Nationals, all of a sudden they are in the lead for the Wild Card and a somewhat-manageable six games out of the division. They won't be sellers, but they need A LOT of help in their bullpen. Closer Sean Doolittle has been good (19 saves, 3.13 ERA/2.93 FIP) but he's been the only reliable reliever in a Nationals uniform. They are likely to target slightly lower-tier relievers, but there's a chance they get in the mix for guys like Ken Giles or Kirby Yates as well.

Cincinnati Reds-  The Reds removed Raisel Iglesias from the closer's role for a little bit, but it looks like he's back in there for now, perhaps in an attempt to increase his trade value. He'll remain under team control until the 2021 season, so they Reds won't need to trade him, but they may if they receive a good offer. Iglesias would likely work in a setup role for a new team, but he's about 50-50 on staying as Reds closer or working in a setup role for a new team. A careful fantasy owner may be looking for move on. Michael Lorenzen or Amir Garrett would be next in line in Cincinnati.

St. Louis Cardinals- The Cardinals lost closer Jordan Hicks to Tommy John Surgery, but they seem happy with Carlos Martinez resurrecting his career as a closer. Still, they could be in the market for a more bona fide closer at the deadline. The rest of their bullpen has been solid, with John Brebbia, Genesis Cabrera, and John Gant all providing solid relief innings to take the game from the starters to the ninth inning. They may target a guy like Will Smith or Kirby Yates, but they could also be more in the market for starting pitching and leave the bullpen more or less alone.

Arizona Diamondbacks- The Diamondbacks looked ready to remove Greg Holland from the ninth inning, but he recently got a vote of confidence from his manager and will at least enter the second half with the closer's job in the desert. The Diamondbacks sit just 1.5 games back from a Wild Card spot, so they could be looking to improve their bullpen before the deadline. It remains to be seen whether that'll be a new closer to take Holland's spot, or some solid arms to work before Holland. Given Holland's struggles this season (including declining velocity and increasing walk rate) however, even a reliever acquired to setup may end up closing if Holland slumps again. He's been a risky fantasy asset all season and will only get riskier as the deadline approaches.

Los Angeles Dodgers- The Dodgers are all set in the ninth inning with Kenley Jansen, one of the best closers in baseball. But the rest of their bullpen could use some help, and they've been rumored to have strong interest in Will Smith. Jansen's job is not at all in jeopardy, but the Dodgers could be the reason another closer ends up in a setup role. Holds league players will want to target anyone the Dodgers acquire to add to their bullpen.

San Diego Padres- There has been some word that teams have been asking about Padres closer Kirby Yates, but with the Padres sticking around in the Wild Card race (2.0 games out) and Yates signed through next year, there's no certainty that he'll be on the move. Yates has been arguably the best closer this season, so if he does get traded, he'll bring in tons of value for the Padres and will nearly for certain retain the ninth inning on any new team. Craig Stammen or Luis Perdomo would take over, although they could both be targeted by teams looking for setup help as well.

San Francisco Giants- Giants closer Will Smith has been amazing this season, going a perfect 23-for-23 in save chances with a 1.98 ERA/2.02 FIP and 39.9% K%. The Dodgers are rumored to have tons of interest in the contract-year reliever, but he'd work before Kenley Jansen there. Almost any other team he goes to would keep him in the ninth inning, but the Dodgers have so far been the team rumored to have the most interest.






More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

Check out RotoBaller's entire fantasy baseball waiver wire pickups and sleepers list, updated daily!

More Recent Articles


Week 14 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 14, the quarterback position was littered with surprises. Drew Brees dropped over 40 fantasy points on a 49ers Defense that's given up the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks on the season and Jameis Winston hung 456 yards and 5 touchdowns on a Colts Defense that's been solid against the pass all year. Mitch... Read More

The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 15)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More

FAAB Bidding - Week 15 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More

Week 15 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 15 is here and for those of you that won the first week of your fantasy playoffs, congratulations. If you had a bye week, good luck to you this week. Kicker lives still matter, and three different kickers had 15 or more points last week. Three different kickers outscored Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick... Read More

Week 15-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Still doing things a little differently this week--for those of you who are still alive. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Week 15 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

You have to love fantasy football. You have to, otherwise you would have given up by now. In a week that most likely represented the first matchup of the fantasy playoffs or a must-win in some form for the vast majority of players, we were treated to the following: Alvin Kamara netting three fantasy points,... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

It is almost inconceivable that we are progressing into the second week of fantasy postseason matchups. Congratulations to those of you whose teams are still competing in the playoffs. Your meticulous planning during the draft process and the regular season has been rewarded with an opportunity to win your leagues' championships. This critical week provides the opportunity to... Read More

Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 15

Week 15 is upon us, which means that even the holdovers who play in leagues with four team playoffs and no byes are now in fantasy playoff mode. This is it: the home stretch. Are there any wide receivers left on the waiver wire who can help you in the playoffs? Let's look at some... Read More

Week 15 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

If your fantasy football season is over, either because you did not make your league’s playoffs or because you have had enough of failing in DFS contests, then this column is not for you. Congratulations if you HAVE qualified for your fantasy league’s playoffs! To reach the postseason you must have received some decent play... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 15

The first week of the fantasy playoffs in almost in the books, and if you're fortunate enough to have advanced then it's already time to start thinking about Week 15 lineups, especially for those who stream quarterbacks. Luckily, there are plenty of viable options available as eliminated owners have stopped making moves, and if you... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 15 Lightning Round

An injury-laden Week 14 decided many matchups, with several big names going down in a Red Wedding-esque affair. Not only was Josh Jacobs was a late inactive, but Jared Cook, Devante Parker, Albert Wilson all left with concussions, Mike Evans pulled up with a hamstring injury, Calvin Ridley and Ryan Griffin hurt their ankles, Derrius... Read More

Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Jared Cook has been ruled out of the game after... Read More

Monday Night Fantasy Football Starts/Sits - Week 14

Finally, we had a good fantasy matchup last week. And now, as punishment, we get this. The Eagles against the Giants is a good rivalry game. But for fantasy? Not so much. Even key players Saquon Barkley and Carson Wentz have been severely disappointing in 2019. The game is not going to be something to... Read More

Week 14 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 14... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

Updated Week 14 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 14 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 14 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Josh Jacobs (shoulder) has officially been ruled out. Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss Week 14. Adam Thielen (hamstring) has officially been ruled out. Le'Veon Bell... Read More