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Closers and Saves Report - Week 16 Waiver Wire

We're inching closer to the trade deadline and we still haven't seen any big bullpen changes. Oh, but they're coming. They'll just all come at once this season, it seems. Most of the non-contending teams have at least a bullpen arm or two that would serve a purpose on a contending team. They won't all be big-name trades involving top prospects and a reshuffling of an entire bullpen, but smaller deadline moves can make a difference in fantasy leagues as well, especially in holds leagues.

A few short-term bullpen changes this week gave us a peek of what might happen later in the season. An injury in Los Angeles, a suspension in Philadelphia, and a baby in Cincinnati all shook up bullpens, although only temporarily. What might those and other bullpens look like in August, or maybe a little sooner if the hot stove starts to heat up early?

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 16

Los Angeles Dodgers

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen wore a line drive on his ankle but stayed in the game earlier this week. That was a mistake, as he ended up blowing the save and allowing the Phillies to walk off. He was then unavailable for a couple of games afterwards, but is not going to need a stint on the injured list and should be back on the mound this weekend. Manager Dave Roberts said that either Julio Urias or Joe Kelly would serve as the team's closer if a save situation came up in a game that Jansen was not available.

The original thought was that Pedro Baez would be the temporary closer, but his recent struggles have apparently knocked him back quite a bit on the depth chart. If for some reason Jansen does end up needing IL time, Kelly would be the arm to own in the Dodgers pen. After a rough start to the season, the former Red Sox reliever has actually been pretty solid of late. The Los Angeles bullpen is in no danger of a trade deadline shake up at the closer spot, but the Dodgers are likely to try to acquire some bullpen help for the earlier innings. There could be some significant changes in value in holds leagues, so this is a bullpen to keep an eye on.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies bullpen settled itself when Hector Neris excelled in the earlier part of the season and more or less forced manager Gabe Kapler's hand to create a traditional closer role and give it to Neris. He was essentially the only Phillies reliever who was consistently getting guys out, so what other choice did Kapler really have? That's all different now, as Neris is struggling and will now be suspended for three games for throwing at David Freese's head.

We'll see who Kapler uses if a save situation comes up, but slightly longer-term, it could be David Robertson taking over the ninth inning for the stretch run. He's alternating between struggling and being injured for most of this season, but once he's back on the mound he could be a legitimate source of saves and strikeouts. There is also the chance that the Phillies decide to really go for it (they're currently tied for the second Wild Card spot) and acquire bullpen help at the deadline. They are a team that could acquire someone that will immediately take over the ninth inning, or that could acquire someone to beef up the bullpen in general and keep Neris or Robertson in the ninth inning. It might depend on what the team does on the field for the next week or so. Of course, any reliever traded to the Phillies who looks like he will slide into the ninth inning will have plenty of fantasy value.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have Nathan Eovaldi coming off the injured list perhaps as soon as this weekend, but in the meantime, Brandon Workman has emerged as a solid option in the late innings. He earned his fifth save of the season this week, getting the last five outs of Wednesday's win over the Blue Jays. He's been the best reliever in Boston lately and should keep getting meaningful innings even after Eovaldi gets back. Eovaldi will be the arm to own in standard formats, but Workman will still be worth hanging onto in holds leagues.

There's also the likelihood that the Red Sox add to their bullpen through the trade market, and that could shake things up pretty significantly. Expect to see the Red Sox use Eovaldi for big innings as much as they can so they can decide if they need to shoot high for someone like Ken Giles or Will Smith, or if they can just shore up the earlier innings in their bullpen as bridges to Eovaldi for the stretch run.


Short Relief

  • Don't look now, but the Giants are only 2.5 games out of the Wild Card. The team is widely expected to sell off most of its bullpen (Will Smith, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon) but if they keep up the hot streak, who knows what the front office in San Francisco will decide to do? This next week will play a huge role in what will happen in the bullpen trade market, since the Giants have four relievers that would certainly attract trade attention.
  • Reds closer Raisel Iglesias was placed on the paternity leave list this week, so Michael Lorenzen and David Hernandez are temporary closers until he's back. Iglesias might be moved before the deadline, which would create a closer's role for someone else in the Reds pen.
  • Wade Davis had one foot out of the closer's role but was given another chance by his manager and did really well...for four scoreless outings. Then he allowed four runs while only getting one out, blowing a save and taking a loss. Davis now has a 9.53 ERA at home and a 0.79 ERA on the road. Hashtag Coors Field.
  • Ken Giles was back on the mound for the Blue Jays after taking a few days off to nurse an injury. He should be showcased over the next week or so until Toronto's front office receives an offer they like enough to move their closer to another team. He's been good enough that most teams that acquire him should slide him right into their ninth inning.


Roster Moves of the Week


Nathan Eovaldi, Boston Red Sox- Eovaldi should be back this weekend and should jump right into the closer's role. He needs to be owned in all formats, even though there's a slight bit of risk involved. He has the upside to be a difference-maker in fantasy leagues down the stretch.

Joe Kelly, Los Angeles Dodgers- Because of his atrocious start to the season, Joe Kelly remains on many waiver wires. He's actually been really good recently though, and should be picked up in holds leagues, especially in case closer Kenley Jansen ends up needing some more time to heal.


No immediate drops this week, but it's time to take a really close look at possible trade deadline movement and be ready to make quick adds and drops as soon as news breaks. Follow Rotoballer on Twitter and keep up with the News Desk to make sure you have all the latest news.


Best of the Week

It was another rough week for closers in general, as only three closers ended up with three or more saves, and two of those three had ERAs over SIX! Here's the best of a bad week:

Ian Kennedy, Kansas City Royals- 3 1/3 IP, 4 SV, 4 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.60 WHIP

In a week of mostly bad bullpen performances, Royals closer Ian Kennedy was able to shine. He needed just 10 outs to get four saves, allowing only a hit and a walk while striking out four.

Brandon Workman, Boston Red Sox- 3 2/3 IP, 2 SV, 7 K, 2.45 ERA, 0.82 WHIP

Brandon Workman served as the Red Sox closer this week and picked up two saves while striking out seven. He allowed just one run on one hit and two walks.


More 2019 Fantasy Baseball Advice

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