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Closers and Saves Report - Week 17 Waiver Wire

The trade deadline is coming up on Wednesday, and...nothing has really happened yet. With so many teams in contention (and so many rebuilding teams unwilling to trade young players), many reporters are saying this has been the quietest build up to the trade deadline they can ever remember. This season, there is only one deadline (no more August 31st waiver deadline) so you'd think there be more activity. Still, it's the baseball trade deadline, and trades will happen. Teams like the Marlins have players like Sergio Romo on expiring contracts. Will they get a top prospect for Romo? No, but they certainly won't keep him around for him to walk for nothing at the end of the season.

So, there will be trades, and they will happen sooner than later. It might be a quieter deadline than usual, but it absolutely will not be an actual quiet one. Starting position players will be traded, bench depth guys will be moved, and starters and relievers will switch teams. Next week's Closers and Saves Report will go in depth about everything that happened in the trade market. Since none of that has happened yet, let's go into what did happen this week in the bullpens in baseball.

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 17

Texas Rangers

The Rangers had a hard time finally landing on a closer this season, but they did just that with Shawn Kelley. Kelley wasn't elite by any means, but he was more than good enough to hold down the ninth inning and hold off Jose Leclerc and Chris Martin. Kelley was placed on the injured list this week however, and the Rangers had a decision to make. Martin has been the better pitcher this season (and hasn't walked anyone since April), but Leclerc has been the closer of the future for the Rangers and was even the closer on Opening Day this season before he pitched his way out of the role. So what was the decision manager Chris Woodward made? He didn't. The Rangers will use a committee made up of Leclerc and Martin while Kelley is out. Martin could get a few more save chances in case the Rangers try to move him at the deadline. That fact combined with his recent success makes Martin the slightly more preferable fantasy add in the short term.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins had been playing with fire by letting Blake Parker pitch high-leverage innings all season, as many of his peripheral stats indicated that he was not doing great despite average results. Despite a decent stretch where he'd allowed just one run in his last 10 games, the Twins front office had finally had enough when Parker came into a game and coughed up four runs. Parker was designated for assignment and of course removed from any bullpen hierarchy in Minnesota. So that means it's all Taylor Rogers in the ninth inning for the Twins, at least for now. The team has been widely rumored to be in on Ken Giles and other closers and will try to make a trade before next week's deadline. There's always a chance that they acquire bullpen help to slot in ahead of the ninth inning, but if they manage to pick up someone like Giles, Rogers will move back into a setup role. It makes for a tough decision for fantasy owners, because if Rogers keeps his job past the 31st, he's an excellent fantasy relief pitcher in all formats. But, if he gets a new closer in front of him, he'll lose a lot of his value in standard leagues and could be a prime sell-now piece for those willing to take the risk.

Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks decided to stick with Greg Holland as their closer, despite the veteran not really giving them any reason to. This week, he entered a game, threw nine pitches (only one strike), walked two batters, then left the game yelling at the umpire despite not throwing a single actual strike according to PITCHf/x data. Yoan Lopez came in and earned the save in just four pitches. Archie Bradley is also back into higher leverage roles, so if the Diamondbacks finally decide to move away from Holland as their closer, manager Torey Lovullo will have an interesting decision to make. Arizona sits just 3.5 games back from a Wild Card spot, so they're certainly going to try to keep winning ballgames.


Short Relief

  • The Mets are allegedly willing to trade closer Edwin Diaz, but they are expecting more in return than they gave up. With Diaz possibly hurt and in the middle of the worst season of his career: the Mets will not be trading Edwin Diaz.
  • Brandon Workman seems like he'll hold down the closer's role in Boston until he slips up. Maybe then it will be Eovaldi's turn. Eovaldi hasn't shown much yet, so it remains to be seen how this whole bullpen will shake up.
  • Andrew Miller looks a bit more like Andrew Miller these days, and he seems to have taken over the top spot in the Cardinals bullpen behind closer Carlos Martinez. Martinez has been solid but unspectacular, and in case he gets hurt or struggles, it looks like Miller would be next in line.
  • Jace Fry has been great lately for the White Sox and has some experience in the closer's role from last season. The ninth inning likely still belongs to Aaron Bummer once Alex Colome gets traded, but it's worth keeping an eye on Fry just in case.
  • Sam Dyson has taken over the main setup role in San Francisco behind closer Will Smith. Smith and Dyson were both prime trade candidates about a week ago, but with the incredible run the Giants are on, they might not sell any pieces at the deadline.
  • There was a bit of an injury scare with Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, but he assuaged all of that with a perfect inning in which he struck out the side. He's fine, and should continue earning saves and notching strikeouts throughout the rest of the season.
  • Don't forget to try to sell any closers who look like they won't be closers by next week (Segio Romo, Alex Colome, Shane Greene, etc.)


Roster Moves of the Week


Chris Martin, Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers- With Shawn Kelley on the IL, Martin and Leclerc will be sharing closing duties in Texas. There's a chance Martin gets traded at the deadline, so Leclerc might be the safer long-term bet, but Martin has been pitching better lately so for short-term saves, he's the one to target.

Yoan Lopez, Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks- It looks like maybe Greg Holland has finally pitched his way out of the ninth inning, although we already thought that once or twice before. Still, Lopez or Bradley would be the likely beneficiaries of a Holland-less ninth inning. This is very much a speculative add at this point, but those desperate for saves might want to take the chance with one or both relievers (slight nod to Lopez if you have to pick one).


Blake Parker, Minnesota Twins- Anyone holding onto Parker for whatever reason can go ahead and click "DROP" as he's now been designated for assignment. He probably won't pass all the way through waivers, but he certainly won't be placed into a high-leverage role right away with whatever team picks him up.


Best of the Week

Sean Doolittle, Washington Nationals- 3 2/3 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle had a solid week, saving three games and striking out five while allowing just two hits.

Craig Kimbrel, Chicago Cubs- 4 IP, 3 SV, 5 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.25 WHIP

Welcome back to the Best of the Week to Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel. He got off to a bit of a slow start as many people expected, but he was rock solid this week. He saved three games and struck out five while not allowing a run all week.

Josh Hader, Milwaukee Brewers- 3 2/3 IP, 1 SV, 9 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.55 WHIP

It's not too often that a closer with one save makes it on the Best of the Week list, but it's also not too often that a pitcher gets 11 outs in a week and nine of them are strikeouts. Hader was excellent this week, allowing just two hits while pretty much striking everyone else out.



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