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Closers and Saves Report - Week 18 Waiver Wire (Trade Deadline Edition)

Okay, so...we need to talk about that trade deadline, folks. Nothing happened, then very little happened, then a couple of things happened, then the deadline came. It was 4:00 Eastern, and nothing close to what we expected had happened. But then...the late reports came in, and oohhh my dudes: things happened.

While the biggest deal (Greinke to Houston) didn't change around any bullpens, there were plenty of deals that did. The Marlins, for example, basically traded their 7th, 8th, and 9th inning guys. The Mariners traded their two best relievers. The Nationals completely re-did their bullpen. The Braves moved things around in their pen as well. All that and more, coming right up!

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 18

Atlanta Braves/Detroit Tigers/San Francisco Giants/Texas Rangers

The Braves got one of the main things they wanted: bullpen reinforcements. A new closer and two solid setup men will join the club soon. Atlanta traded with Detroit, getting Shane Greene to close. They also traded with San Francisco, picking up Mark Melancon for a setup role. Before all of that, they added Chris Martin from the Rangers. Luke Jackson hasn't sparked much confidence in Braves fans or, apparently, in the Braves front office. He's put up strong numbers, but he has a hard time locking games down sometimes. He'll leave the closer's role and should pitch in high-leverage situations earlier in the game now. Greene will be the closer, although his peripherals do show his impressive season could start seeing some regression soon. Greene gains a bit of value in fantasy leagues as he moves to a team that will give him more leads to save. Jackson loses his value in standard formats but should still be okay in holds leagues. In Detroit, Joe Jimenez jumps into the closer's role right away. He's having a pretty bad season, but the Tigers have wanted him to be their closer for a while, so now is his chance. Jimenez should be picked up in all formats, but owners should temper their expectations a bit. Melancon is a solid reliever, but his days of significant fantasy value have been over for a while. In some deeper holds leagues, he might be worth a look, but he's generally one of those "better in real life" guys. Down in Texas, Jose Leclerc finally gets his closer role back by default, although he might not hold it long if Shawn Kelley can return from the IL quickly.

Miami Marlins/Minnesota Twins/Tampa Bay Rays

The Marlins got things started early, sending closer Sergio Romo to the Twins a few days before the deadline. Then, on deadline day, they shipped Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards over to the Rays. Romo was closing for the Marlins, Anderson was pitching the 8th, and Richards was a starter who had recently been switched into the bullpen. After the Romo trade, Anderson was assumed to be the closer, but that assumption only lasted until July 31st, when Anderson switched Florida teams. In Minnesota, Romo will set up for Taylor Rogers, who now has a solid grasp on the closer's role for the Twins. Over in Tampa Bay, Anderson could mix in to the Diego Castillo/Jose Alvarado/Emilio Pagan mess in their committee. The Marlins, meanwhile, will need to remake the entire back end of the bullpen. Jose Quijada, Jarlin Garcia, and Tayron Guerrero all figure to make some noise for the Marlins now. Garcia has solid "baseball card" numbers, but he doesn't strike anyone out and really just doesn't have closer "stuff". Quijada and Guerrero are interesting, but both have serious control issues that they'll need to work on before becoming truly effective ninth inning options. Ryne Stanek, acquired in the Rays deal, could mix into the late innings in Miami as well, although it's so far unclear how he will be used as a Marlin.

Washington Nationals/Seattle Mariners/Toronto Blue Jays/Houston Astros

The Nationals have had a BAD bullpen this season. So, on Trade Deadline Day, they made sure to address it with a lot of help from the Mariners. The Nationals started off by picking up Daniel Hudson from Toronto. He'll work in the later innings, but looks like a middle reliever based on the other deals made by Washington slightly later in the day. They went on to get both Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland from the Mariners. Elias and Strickland will likely work the 7th and 8th innings, depending on the hitters due up for the opposing team. Closer Sean Doolittle should be safe in the 9th inning. In Seattle, much like in Miami, the back end of the bullpen will have a whole new look. The heir apparent is Anthony Bass, although Cory Gearrin and Sam Tuivailala could have some thoughts about that too. The Blue Jays ended up keeping closer Ken Giles, but traded away their top two setup men, Joe Biagini and Daniel Hudson. Once Giles is healthy, he'll return to the 9th inning, but in the meantime, it looks like rookie Justin Shafer could get some save chances. Tim Mayza could get some work in as well. Biagini in Houston won't do much as he'll be buried on the depth chart by quite a few higher-upside arms. He'll work closer to middle relief with his new team.


Short Relief

  • Archie Bradley looks like he could be "the guy" in Arizona's bullpen. With Greg Holland finally knocked out of the 9th inning, it was originally unclear who would close, but Bradley got the first chance and got a vague-but-meaningful vote of confidence from his manager.
  • The White Sox, for some reason, didn't trade their closer, Alex Colome. That means that fantasy sweetheart Aaron Bummer will continue in a setup role and not take over as closer.
  • The Pirates were reportedly pretty close to trading closer Felipe Vazquez to the Dodgers, but ultimately ended up hanging on. He'll keep closing in Pittsburgh.
  • The Red Sox did...nothing. Nathan Eovaldi and Brandon Workman will keep working the late innings until one of them takes the reins and grabs the 9th inning for himself.
  • Will Smith stayed in San Francisco, Kirby Yates stayed in San Diego, Edwin Diaz stayed in Queens, Raisel Iglesias stayed in Cincinnati, Mychal Givens stayed in Baltimore, and Ian Kennedy stayed in Kansas City.


Under-the-Radar Relievers

Roenis Elias, Mariners to Nationals- Elias joins what is all of a sudden a decent-looking Nationals bullpen. Sean Doolittle should be safe in the 9th inning, but Elias could have some holds league value with his new team. He strikes out about a batter per inning, but his 4.67 FIP doesn't inspire a ton of confidence.

Hunter Strickland, Mariners to Nationals- Another reliever who won't challenge Doolittle for the closer's role went from the Mariners to the Nationals. Strickland has only pitched 3 1/3 innings this season, but he's had success in the past, saving 14 games for the Giants in 2018. He should split 7th and 8th inning duties with Elias, and will carry fantasy value in holds leagues.

Daniel Hudson, Blue Jays to Nationals- No, like, seriously: The Nationals re-did their whole bullpen. The only legitimately reliable reliever on the Nationals on June 30th was closer Sean Doolittle. Now they have three solid but certainly unspectacular guys to bridge the game from their starters to Doolittle. Hudson could climb the ranks into the 7th or 8th innings, but he looks like he might start out behind Elias and Strickland. Hudson's had some control problems this season, but he's been solid overall. He'll likely have more of an effect in the Nationals bullpen than he will on anyone's fantasy team.

Ryne Stanek, Rays to Marlins- Right at the deadline, the two Florida teams were able to land on a trade, with the Marlins sending Trevor Richards and Nick Anderson to the Rays for Jesus Sanchez and Stanek. Stanek has had a lot of success in Tampa pitching as an opener. He'd already made 27 "starts" this year while pitching just 55 2/3 innings. He'd be great in a similar role with the Marlins, but manager Don Mattingly would likely tie himself in knots trying to figure out the opener strategy. Instead, he'll likely work in a later-inning role, perhaps even getting a chance to close if some of the young options the Marlins are going to try out at closer don't work out. For now, Stanek's fantasy value is extremely limited, but the Marlins bullpen is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Nick Anderson, Marlins to Rays- Nick Anderson came out of nowhere this season to post a 3.92 ERA/2.72 FIP and 37.1 K% with a decent 8.6 BB%. Opposing hitters rarely hit the ball off of Anderson's pitches, but when they do, they hit them hard. For a while, he led the league in hard hit percentage despite how often guys would swing-and-miss when he was on the mound. He's an incredibly interesting 29-year-old rookie, and the Rays should be able to figure out the best way to use him. He could mix into the closer committee before long.

Sam Dyson, Giants to Twins- Sam Dyson had a rough welcome to the Twins, throwing 14 pitches without getting an out. In the meantime, he allowed three runs on two hits and two walks, blowing the game and eventually leading to an extra-innings loss. It should still be the Taylor Rogers show at closer for the Twins, and Sergio Romo looks like the main setup guy. Dyson could work his way into holds league value, but he's not someone to jump on right away.

Joe Biagini, Blue Jays to Astros- Joe Biagini looked like he'd be the closer in Toronto by now. The Blue Jays were supposed to trade Ken Giles, and Biagini was going to step into the 9th inning. Nope. Instead, they kept Giles and dealt Biagini to Houston. Biagini joins a solid Astros bullpen and won't be anywhere near the closer's role. In fact, Biagini might end up in middle relief, giving him little fantasy value regardless of format.


Roster Moves of the Week


Joe Jimenez, Detroit Tigers- Jimenez hasn't been awesome this season, but he's the closer for the Motor City Kitties now. He'll have some value in standard formats, but he's not the exciting high-upside big name he was just a season ago.

Anthony Bass/Cory Gearrin, Seattle Mariners- One of these two guys will be closing in Seattle and should develop a bit of fantasy value. For now, it's a committee and neither guy is a must-own, but if either one seems to take over full time, he should be picked up.

Jose Leclerc, Texas Rangers- Leclerc is finally back in the closer's role, but it took an injury to Shawn Kelley and a trade of Chris Martin. Still, it's the destination, not the journey in this case, and Leclerc should be owned in most formats.

Archie Bradley, Arizona Diamondbacks- The Diamondbacks finally took Greg Holland out of the 9th inning, and it looks like Archie Bradley will get the first shot to close in the desert.

Jose Quijada/Jarlin Garcia, Miami Marlins- Neither of these guys is a particularly good pitcher, but one of them will be earning saves for the Marlins this season. Quijada has the better upside in terms of ratios, but Garcia seems to have a bit more of manager Don Mattingly's favor. Garcia doesn't strike anyone out, so he'd be a one-category closer if given the role.


Luke Jackson, Atlanta Braves- Luke Jackson not only lost his hold of the closer's role, he may have been pushed as far down as the 6th inning. Shane Greene will close, Chris Martin should work the 8th, and Mark Melancon could take the 7th. Jackson should be immediately dropped in standard formats, and can likely be let go in holds leagues as well.

Nick Anderson, Miami Marlins- Anderson was a closer for...a day? Anyone in standard leagues who picked him up hoping he'd close can drop him now that he's in a messy Rays bullpen.

Sergio Romo, Miami Marlins- Romo was traded to the Twins and will setup for closer Taylor Rogers. He's still a decent piece in holds leagues, but doesn't have the strikeout upside he used to have to make him worth owning in standard leagues.

Greg Holland, Arizona Diamondbacks- Why oh why would you still have Greg Holland on your roster at this point?

Aaron Bummer, Chicago White Sox- Bummer was a popular fantasy pickup recently because everyone assumed the White Sox would trade closer Alex Colome. Now that they held on to him, Bummer will only have value in leagues where holds count.


Best of the Week

Raisel Iglesias, Cincinnati Reds- 3 IP, 3 SV, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Reds closer Raisel Iglesias survived the trade deadline and had an excellent week. He appeared in three games, saved all three, and allowed just two hits while striking out four.

Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals- 2 1/3 IP, 2 SV, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.43 WHIP

Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez survived the deadline too. With the Cardinals not adding to their bullpen, Martinez should remain the team's closer as long as he stays healthy. He celebrated by saving two games and striking out four batters while only allowing one hit.

More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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