MLB Closers and Saves Report Week 18

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The trade deadline came and went, and it was a wild one. While the biggest splash arguably came at the last second (Darvish to the Dodgers), there were plenty of smaller splashes throughout the day.

It was a pitching-dominated deadline, with few significant position player trades happening at all. While there may still be some hitters moved once they pass through waivers, the biggest changes happened to pitching staffs, not starting lineups.

There are new closers, new setup men, and new middle relievers. Let's take a look at the post-deadline landscape in bullpens across the league:

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Bullpen News for Week 18

Minnesota Twins/Washington Nationals

The Twins were buyers for a little bit, acquiring lefty starter Jaime Garcia from the Braves. Only a few days (and a few losses) later, the Twins dealt their closer, Brandon Kintzler, to the Washington Nationals. Kintzler joins the closer committee in Washington, but Sean Doolittle looks like he's separating himself from the pack a bit lately. In Minnesota, it looks like Matt Belisle will take the inning that formerly belonged to Kintzler. It's officially another committee in Minnesota, with Taylor Rogers and Trevor Hildenberger likely mixing in from time to time. Belisle should have the most save chances though, but he doesn't have the ratios to be a fantasy bullpen piece unless he's the unquestioned closer. Fantasy managers desperate for saves can take a stab, but he's not someone you'll need to rush to the wire to pick up.

Miami Marlins/New York Mets

The Marlins made a strange move before the deadline, sending closer A.J. Ramos to the division-rival New York Mets despite the fact that both teams had the same record at the time. Ramos is signed for next year, so the Mets were clearly thinking about 2018, but it was still a strange move. The Mets would later trade their closer, Addison Reed, over to the Red Sox. Reed will set up for Craig Kimbrel in Boston, and Ramos will take over the closer's role in Queens. Reed can be dropped in standard leagues but should see a small bump in holds leagues. Ramos' value won't change much, as he'll remain a closer, just on a different bad team.

Meanwhile, over on the Marlins, Kyle Barraclough was always expected to take over the ninth inning once Ramos was gone, but he's on the disabled list with a shoulder impingement. Instead, the Marlins named Brad Ziegler, fresh off the disabled list himself, the team's closer for the remainder of the season (or until Barraclough returns). Ziegler is in the middle of an uncharacteristically bad season, but he has been a solid closer in the past. Keep an eye on Marlins box scores, if Ziegler seems like his old self, he's worth a pickup for any teams hurting in the saves department.

Detroit Tigers/Chicago Cubs

The Tigers knew they had one of the most valuable relievers on the trade market in lefty Justin Wilson, and they made it count, trading him for a nice package of prospects to the Chicago Cubs. With Wade Davis holding onto the ninth in Chicago, Wilson's value takes an enormous hit in standard leagues. He'll still provide strong ratios, but he's more or less droppable outside of holds leagues. Over in Detroit, it did not take long for manager Brad Ausmus to name Shane Greene his new closer. Green's walk rate is a bit concerning, and while his strikeout rate is solid, it's not particularly eye-opening. He's a solid addition to a fantasy team and should certainly be owned in most formats, but he's not likely to be a huge difference maker.

 

Odds and Ends

Tyler Clippard is still on the White Sox, and he still figures to get most of the committee work. He's a candidate for a post-deadline trade, but for now he'll retain a bit of value as long as he's picking up saves.

The Cleveland Indians had to place superstar setup man Andrew Miller on the disabled list this week with a knee injury. They acquired Joe Smith at the deadline, and he's going to step into Miller's role as the eighth inning bridge to closer Cody Allen. Miller's ratios are good enough that he's owned in many standard leagues despite not earning consistent saves. He's worth stashing in a DL spot until he returns.

The Atlanta Braves have gone to a committee, but smart money is on Arodys Vizcaino taking this chance and running with it for the rest of the season. He should be picked up in most formats.

Mark Melancon is on his way back for the San Francisco Giants. He has already started pitching in rehab games and should be with the big league team soon as long as he doesn't suffer any setbacks.

The San Diego Padres actually didn't trade Brad Hand despite most people thinking is was a sure thing he'd be gone. It may be the best thing for his fantasy value, though, as he'll get more save opportunities in San Diego than he would have as a setup man elsewhere.

 

Roster Moves of the Week

Adds

Arodys Vizcaino, Atlanta Braves- For now, it's a committee, but pretty soon the ninth inning for the Braves should be all Vizcaino's. He's a solid reliever who probably should have been closing over Jim Johnson all season, but at least he'll get that chance for the final two months. He should be added in most formats.

Matt Belisle, Minnesota Twins- Belisle is a very average reliever, but for fantasy players desperate for saves, he should be able to provide those fairly consistently. He's not a must own and in fact shouldn't be added by teams with decent relief pitching depth. For those struggling in the saves department though, he could be helpful.

Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals- While he isn't officially the new closer in St. Louis, he had the best week of any relief pitcher and should get crowned the official closer before long. He's set himself apart from Seung Hwan Oh and Brett Cecil at the end of the Cardinals bullpen.

Drops

Justin Wilson, Chicago Cubs- With Wilson moving out of the ninth inning, he'll no longer have too much value in standard leagues. He can be dropped unless your league counts holds.

Brandon Kintzler, Washington Nationals- While Kintzler is a member of the Nationals closer committee, it seems more likely than Ryan Madson or Sean Doolittle eventually get named full-time closer. Kintzler will continue his solid relief work, but without saves he's not a valuable fantasy piece.

 

Best of the Week

Trevor Rosenthal, St. Louis Cardinals- 4 1/3 IP, 10 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.23 WHIP

Have a week, Trevor Rosenthal! The Cardinals reliever (who should be named full-time closer any day now, one would think) struck out 10 in just over four innings of work, picking up three saves and only allowing one runner to reach base all week.

Brad Hand, San Diego Padres- 3 IP, 5 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.33 WHIP

Staying in San Diego is the best thing that could have happened to Brad Hand's fantasy outlook. He'll continue closing games and providing tons of fantasy value. This week, he struck out five batters in three innings while collecting three saves and only allowing one hit. Somehow, Hand is only owned in 48% of fantasy leagues right now. Check you waiver wire, there may be an elite closer waiting for a new home.

Kenley Jansen, Los Angeles Dodgers- 3 IP, 7 K, 3 SV, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Another week, another excellent performance by Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. This week, he struck out seven in three innings, earning a save in each game he appeared in. He allowed two hits and a walk, which might actually be considered a "bad" week for baseball's best closer.

 

More Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds

 

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