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Closers and Saves Report - Week 14 Waiver Wire

Changes are coming in the desert, as the Diamondbacks look ready to move things around in their bullpen. The Reds, meanwhile, look like they're going back to how things were before. The A's got their closer back from the injured list, but is he still going to be their closer? What's going on with the Cubs and Rays bullpens? What about the Red Sox? They have a plan, finally, but what is it?

With the All-Star Game coming up, that means the trade deadline is on its way as well. We haven't had any big trades so far, but the rumors are starting to swirl and fantasy managers need to be aware of who might be losing the ninth, getting a ninth, or keeping the ninth but landing in a better/worse situation.

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 14

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox bullpen has been quite a mess this season, with a rotating cast of arms attempting, often unsuccessfully, to close out their wins. Ryan Brasier and Matt Barnes have switched between being effective and being much less than that. So now, the Red Sox are trying something different. Nathan Eovaldi began the season as a starter but landed on the injured list after just four starts. Now, he's almost ready to return (he should be back right after the All-Star Break), and the Red Sox plan to have him slide into the bullpen and eventually the ninth inning. Eovaldi has shown the ability to pitch well out of the bullpen and should be a solid closer as long as he stays healthy. There is some word that the team may want to eventually ease him back into the starting rotation, but if he succeeds as a closer and shores up a struggling bullpen, it's hard to see manager Alex Cora moving him from the role. Eovaldi still has a week or so before he'll be back on the mound, but he should slide into the ninth right away and needs to be added in all formats.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks played a large role in helping the Dodgers set a record for consecutive walk-off wins. Arizona's closer Greg Holland struggled mightily and manager Torey Lovullo has removed him from the ninth inning. Holland was having one of those, "he can't keep getting away with it" seasons and, finally, he's stopped getting away with it. His velocity is down, and his control has been an issue since last year. He had a 15.1% walk rate last season and it's at 14.8% this year. He's been lucky, with opposing hitters putting up just a .197 BABIP so far this season. His removal from the closer's role leaves the Diamondbacks most likely looking at a committee approach for saves, at least for now. Yoshihisa Hirano is the veteran choice, as he had 156 saves in Japan before coming over to the Diamondbacks. The less experienced choice would be rookie Yoan Lopez, who has an impressive 1.36 ERA but some concerning peripheral stats, including a low 18.9 K%. Archie Bradley has struggled to a 5.21 ERA this season and is having a lot of control issues, but he may end up in the mix as well. Lefty Andrew Chafin could jump in when the situation calls for it too. Basically, this bullpen might be a mess for a while until someone steps up to claim the role full time.

Oakland A's

Blake Treinen is fully healed and off the injured list, but what about his role in the Oakland bullpen? Treinen has struggled this year and has seen a drop in almost all aspects of his performance, but the biggest ones have been his control (6.7 BB% last season to 14.4% this year) and his home run rate (0.22 HR/9 last season to 0.76 this year). His replacement, Liam Hendriks, earned American League Reliever of the Month and has posted a 1.29 ERA this season. His 31.1 K% and 8.8 BB% are both markedly better than Treinen as well. The A's will likely give Treinen a few chances to keep the ninth inning, but Hendriks will certainly be breathing down his neck. Owners in standard formats may want to hold onto Hendriks just to see what happens, while owners in holds leagues should be happy to have Hendriks since his value should remain more or less the same.


Short Relief

  • The Reds talked about moving Raisel Iglesias out of the closer role and Michael Lorenzen even earned a spot on Closer Report's Best of the Week list. But Iglesias has extremely notable splits in save situations and in non-save situations. He's about as good in save spots as he is bad in non-save spots, so the Reds have gone back to keeping Iglesias in a more traditional closer's role.
  • Jose Alvarado just hasn't been the same dominant presence in the Rays bullpen that he was in April and May. He gave up six runs in an appearance this week and identified his own mechanical flaw afterwards. Maybe that will fix it, but for now it seems like Emilio Pagan will continue to get the bulk of the ninth innings in Tampa Bay.
  • Kelvin Herrera was widely considered to be the one to step into the closer's role for the White Sox if Alex Colome ended up being traded. But Herrera's 7.89 ERA has dropped him quite a bit in the bullpen hierarchy, and it's Aaron Bummer who looks like the next one to step into the ninth if Colome moves. The White Sox are still in the periphery of the playoff race though, so who knows what will happen before the July 31 deadline?


Roster Moves of the Week


Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox - Eovaldi was supposed to be a starter this year, but an injury to him combined with ineffectiveness by almost every other Boston reliever means that he'll come back to the team in a relief role and should start seeing save opportunities almost immediately. He needs to be owned in all formats.

Speculative Add of Arizona Relievers, Arizona Diamondbacks - There's no clear favorite now, but one thing that's certain is that Greg Holland is out of the ninth inning in Arizona. It could be any of Hirano, Lopez, Bradley, or Chafin earning saves in the desert, so fantasy owners desperate for saves could take a wild guess and maybe land on the next Diamondbacks closer.


Michael Lorenzen, Cincinnati Reds - It doesn't look like the big change in the Reds bullpen is going to happen. Raisel Iglesias looks like he's holding onto the ninth inning, so Lorenzen will return to only having significant value in holds leagues. Owners in standard formats can look elsewhere.

Greg Holland, Arizona Diamondbacks - This may be a quick reaction, but it looks like Holland is out in the desert. With his declining velocity and increasing walk rate, it might not be easy for him to get his inning back. He may ultimately end up as part of a closer committee, but his time as full-time closer seems over. He's not an immediate drop in most formats, but owners with an eye on someone valuable on the waiver wire can go ahead and make the move.


Best of the Week

Alex Colome, Chicago White Sox - 3 2/3 IP, 3 SV, 2 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

White Sox closer Alex Colome has the only three-save week, closing out three of the four games he appeared in while striking out two and allowing just two hits.

Roberto Osuna, Houston Astros - 4 IP, 2 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.25 WHIP

Astros closer Roberto Osuna had a near-perfect week, saving two games while striking out five and allowing just one hit in his four innings of work.

It was a struggle week for most bullpen arms, as no one else saved two games with an ERA lower than 4.50 for the week. Sean Doolittle and Josh Hader (two saves each, 4.50 ERA) were decent enough. Raisel Iglesias (two saves, 6.75 ERA) and Edwin Diaz (two saves, 19.29 ERA) round up the relievers with more than one save for this week.

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