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Closers and Saves Report - Week 13 Waiver Wire

No, Craig is not short for Craigory, but yes, Craig Kimbrel has finally joined a Major League Baseball team in 2019. The Red Sox bullpen, meanwhile, continues to be a mess. In Atlanta, Luke Jackson is seeing objects in his rear view mirror, and they may be a lot closer than they appear.

A few injuries shook the bullpen world this week too, with a torn UCL wreaking havoc in St. Louis and a shoulder causing some strain on the Oakland bullpen. Plus, with another week gone by, we're starting to hear more and more about how bullpens might be affected before the trade deadline.

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.

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Bullpen News for Week 13

Chicago Cubs

After four outings with Triple-A Iowa, the Cubs determined he was ready to go and he'll join the big league team for their series against the Braves. Kimbrel already earned his fist save on Thursday, and despite his less-than-stellar playoff performance last season, he needs to be owned and started in all formats. That means Pedro Strop, who has mostly held his own as the Cubs closer until now, will slide back into a setup role. Strop can be dropped in standard leagues, but players in holds leagues might find more upside options on the waiver wire. Still, Strop is a decent enough reliever to be worth hanging onto in deeper formats where holds count.

St. Louis Cardinals

Jordan Hicks had to leave a game early. Owners and fans were worried. The Cardinals reported he was dealing with triceps tendinitis and would just need a few days off. Owners and fans relaxed. The Cardinals then reported Jordan Hicks had a torn UCL. Owners and fans poured one out for the rest of Hicks' 2019 and likely most of his 2020 as well. He underwent Tommy John Surgery on Wednesday morning and will begin the long rehab process from the all-too-common pitching procedure. Human arms just aren't meant to throw as hard as big league pitchers do, and Hicks threw the hardest of all. The Cardinals had choices to fill the ninth inning: John Gant and Giovanni Gallegos are both having excellent seasons. Almost immediately after the announcement of Hicks' surgery, however, the Cardinals confirmed that Carlos Martinez would be the one to fill the closer's role in place of Hicks. He needs to be owned in all formats, and while he doesn't have the strikeout upside of Gallegos or Gant, he's more than capable of holding down the ninth inning for a playoff-hopeful Cardinals. Part 2 of Martinez's career just kicked off, and it should be fun to watch.

Oakland Athletics

The A's also suffered a bullpen injury, although theirs was not nearly as devastating as the one in St. Louis. A's closer Blake Treinen landed on the injured list with a right shoulder strain this week. The injury is to his rotator cuff, and he admitted that he'd been bothered by it for several weeks, perhaps explaining his struggles this season. It's unclear how long Treinen will need to be out, but the club announced Liam Hendriks as the closer for now. Hendriks is having an excellent season as shown by his 1.42 ERA/2.33 FIP, and he has some nice strikeout upside as well. He should fill in admirably for Treinen for however long the closer needs to be out and should be picked up in most formats, especially by owners looking to replace Treinen's production.

Tampa Bay Rays

Diego Castillo, one of the leaders of the Rays buffet-style bullpen, was placed on the IL this week with inflammation in his right shoulder. He's expected to miss at least two weeks, but it could be longer than that. Emilio Pagan is the main beneficiary of Castillo's IL stint, but Jose Alvarado is expected back "in the near future" according to the team, so he and Pagan should be sharing the ninth inning soon.


Short Relief

  • The Dodgers have shown interest in relievers Will Smith of the Giants and Felipe Vazquez of the Pirates. Kenley Jansen has been awesome again after a somewhat slow start, but the rest of the Dodgers relief corps hasn't been great. Adding a Smith or a Vazquez would give the LA bullpen a lot more depth.
  • Braves closer Luke Jackson needed a day off this week and A.J. Minter popped in and earned a save. With Jackson's six blown saves and steadily-rising ERA, Minter could be a threat to his ninth inning spot. For now, Jackson is still in charge, but owners should keep a close eye on the Atlanta relievers.
  • Raisel Iglesias hasn't been good in non-save situations (sporting an ERA near 6 in non-save appearances) and struggled again in a situation like that this week. As strange as it sounds, his struggles may actually keep him in the closer's role, as he excels with the game on the line.


Roster Moves of the Week


Liam Hendriks, Oakland A's - Hendriks will only be a temporary add, but he could have a good couple of weeks until Blake Treinen returns. He has nice strikeout upside and has been excellent at keeping runs off the board this season. He can be added temporarily in all formats.

Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals - Martinez will step into the full-time closer's role and should be able to hold onto it for the rest of the season as long as he stays healthy. Martinez needs to be added immediately in all formats, as he'll be taking over for Jordan Hicks. John Gant and Gio Gallegos will work ahead of Martinez and should deliver him plenty of leads to save.

Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs - Just in case the Kimbrel owner got bored of holding him and dropped him and somehow no one picked him up. (He's on 88% of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy rosters, so check just in case!)


Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals - Hicks won't be on a mound again for at least a year, and there's a good chance he misses the 2020 season as well. Humans shouldn't throw baseballs.

Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs - With Craig Kimbrel finally ascending from the ashes of free agency, Pedro Strop will slide back into a 7th/8th inning role. He can stick around in holds leagues, but players in standard leagues can let him go.


Best of the Week

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees - 3 1/3 IP, 4 SV, 5 K, 2.70 ERA, 1.50 WHIP

Chapman didn't do a great job of keeping base runners off the bases this week, allowing four hits and a walk along with two runs (one earned), but he was still the only closer to earn four saves. His owners likely weren't too upset about the five strikeouts either.

Roenis Elias, Seattle Mariners - 4 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP

Do the Mariners finally have a closer locked in? Elias was perfect this week, tossing four innings and saving three games without allowing a single base runner.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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