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Closers and Saves Report - Week 20 Waiver Wire

It wasn't a huge week in terms of bullpen news, which was actually kind of nice after two weeks of shuffling and hustling throughout Major League Baseball's bullpens. There were some smaller things that happened this week though, that could lead to bigger news down the road. Some trade deadline acquisitions don't look like they're working out, with some bullpens somehow looking worse off now than they did before the deadline.

Some bullpens scrapped what seemed like a good idea without ever really giving that idea a chance in the first place. Injuries, of course, played a role this week as they do seemingly every week of the baseball season. With fantasy playoffs coming soon, it's critical to have your bullpens set and ready to succeed in the games that will matter the most.

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!


Bullpen News for Week 20

Atlanta Braves

The Braves picked up Chris Martin from the Rangers, Mark Melancon from the Giants, and Shane Greene from the Tigers. Wow! All set with a brand new bullpen, right? Not so much. Martin hasn't been great in his seventh inning role, Greene has already been removed from the closer's role in favor of Melancon, and Melancon has struggled mightily in the ninth inning (despite providing the Braves with the first 1-2-3 inning in a save situation since mid-July). Jerry Blevins ended up with a save this week for the Braves, and Luke Jackson looks like he just might make his way back into the ninth inning before long. It's a mess in Atlanta's bullpen, but Greene still figures to work his way back into the closer's role before long. For now, Melancon is the head of the committee, but that's subject to change on a daily basis.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox hyped up Nathan Eovaldi as the incoming closer once he was ready to return from the injured list. He didn't do great in his first few relief outings while at the same time Brandon Workman was working, man. Workman took the ninth inning and didn't look back, and he's been excellent for several weeks now. Eovaldi, meanwhile, worked as an opener and will reportedly be stretched out so that he can finish the season as a member of the starting rotation. That makes Workman a great option in all formats, with Matt Barnes and Josh Taylor working ahead of him.

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs thought they were all set when they signed Craig Kimbrel, then he went ahead and got injured, leaving Joe Maddon with another committee on his hands. For a while, it looked like Brandon Kintzler would be the one, since he'd been easily the most consistent member of the Cubs bullpen. But then he went and got hurt, joining Kimbrel on the IL. For a bit, David Phelps looked like the next guy up, but Pedro Strop seems to have taken over the king-of-the-committee position. It'll be Strop at the top, Rowan Wick and David Phelps behind him, and Steve Cishek somewhere in the mix as well. Strop is the guy to own until Kimbrel returns, which could even be as soon as this weekend.


Short Relief

  • The Mets added Julio Lugo to their closer committee, but manager Mickey Callaway threw him into the seventh inning on Wednesday and things did not go well. Still, it's Lugo and Edwin Diaz for the ninth innings in Queens going forward.
  • Sam Dyson came back to the Twins bullpen and Jose Alvarado came back to the Rays bullpen. Both relievers were activated from the IL this week and immediately returned to high leverage situations.
  • Ken Giles seems to perpetually be on the maybe-heading-to-the-IL track, but for now, he's still in the bullpen. A string of excellent pitching has put Derek Law second on the depth chart, and he'd be the one taking over if Giles ultimately were to end up missing time.


Roster Moves of the Week


Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs- This is a very temporary add, but Strop should be the one in charge of saves until Craig Kimbrel returns. Kimbrel is expected back as early as this weekend though, so Strop could be a one or two-day thing.

Jose Alvarado, Tampa Bay Rays- Alvarado is finally back after a long stint on the IL. He won't be the outright closer (because the Rays simply don't play that game) but he could start mixing into save situations before too long. He's not a must add in any format, but managers in deeper leagues desperate for a save of two could take a look at Alvarado.


Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox- Eovaldi was supposed to be the closer until he wasn't. Now, he's a starter. You don't need to drop him if you want to take a chance on him as a starting pitcher, but if you're looking strictly for a reliever who might earn saves and holds, you'll need to look elsewhere.


Best of the Week

Emilio Pagan, Tampa Bay Rays- 3 2/3 IP, 4 SV, 7 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.27 WHIP

Rays reliever Emilio Pagan played the role of all-out closer this week, saving four games and striking out seven while allowing just a solo home run all week.

Aroldis Chapman, New York Yankees- 3 IP, 3 SV, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP

Another great week for the Yankees closer, as Chapman saved three games and struck out four while only giving up two hits this week.

Liam Hendriks, Oakland A's- 3 IP, 2 SV, 7 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP

Only two saves this week for A's closer Liam Hendriks, but seven strike outs in three innings and only one hit allowed all week makes for a spot in this week's Best of the Week list.



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