Well, the trade deadline has come and gone and left things uncertain all over the damn place. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on.
Closer: Fernando Rodney
Keep an Eye on: Archie Bradley
Fernando Rodney is still going strong with just 1 big blow-up since May began. He’s allowed just 3 hits since May outside of back-to-back bad outings (5 hits 4 walks 5 ER in 1 IP) in early July including that disaster on July 6th – but you’ll have that with Rodney. When he’s having a bad day, it can be REALLY bad. With Arizona in the playoff hunt, they will only make a change at closer if he has a really bad stretch – in which case they’d go to Archie Bradley if he’s still pitching as well as he has all season so far. I’d say Rodney’s job is surprisingly safe given who we’re talking about though.
Closer: Arodys Vizcaino with Jim Johnson possibly still in the mix as well
Keep an Eye on: No one else
They’ve stated that Jim Johnson is no longer the sole primary closer – the manager says they’ll mix Johnson and Arodys Vizcaino in for saves. A few days ago they brought Johnson into a game in the 8th and said if there was a save situation it would have gone to Vizcaino. It looks like they’re transitioning into giving Vizcaino the job – assuming he doesn’t blow his first save opportunity. However, the Braves didn’t trade Johnson, nor did they outright state that he’s lost the job completely – they’re hedging in case Vizcaino blows it. I will say though, Johnson has now blown a league-leading 8 saves and that’s tough to overcome. His underlying stats are still solid (3.3 ERA) but I’d much rather own Vizcaino going forward.
Closer: Zach Britton
Keep an Eye on: No one
Brach owners were hoping Britton would be dealt at the trade deadline, but alas, he’s still in Baltimore, and he’s been back to closing for about a week now. If you do own Brach, it’s not a bad idea to hold onto him for a bit, but if you can drop him for a better speculative option then feel free to do so. Although Britton is clearly not 100% yet as he isn’t utterly dominating hitters, he is pitching well enough to hold onto his job so I’d move on from Brach at this point.
Boston Red Sox
Closer: Craig Kimbrel
Keep an Eye on: No one
The Red Sox picked up Addison Reed at the trade deadline. If Kimbrel gets hurt, you know who to pick-up now, but otherwise nothing to see here…
Closer: Wade Davis
Keep an Eye on: No one
The Cubbies picked up Justin Wilson from the Tigers at the trade deadline. All that means for this situation is that if Davis gets hurt (not entirely unlikely as he is a bit of an injury risk) Wilson COULD be the next-in-line at closer – it could also be Carl Edwards Jr. (who is right-handed, which managers seem to prefer). There are lots of better speculative options than Justin Wilson and Carl Edwards Jr. though so nothing to see here either.
Chicago White Sox
Closer: Tyler Clippard
Keep an Eye on: No one yet
This is a fun one. Everybody and their mother picked-up Tommy Kahnle who was destined to be the closer there once David Robertson was FINALLY traded. Then the Sox decided to include Kahnle in the same deal as Robertson while getting Tyler Clippard back to offset some of Robertson’s contract. So now who’s closing? Nate Jones and Zack Burdi were two other future closers-in-waiting but they were both lost to season-ending injuries. Anthony Swarzak was pitching well this season so let’s give him a shot! A week later he joins Kahnle and Robertson as trade deadline fodder. Ok, well I guess Dan Jennings is decent…maybe he’ll get a shot now. Two days later he’s traded as well, leaving Tyler Clippard as pretty much the only semi-legitimate closing option in Chicago. I suppose Jake Petricka and Juan Minaya would be next behind him, but honestly, they HAVE to have a better option to close in their minor league system. It’s Clippard, but keep an eye out for a young gun coming up at some point perhaps. Honestly though, this is just a situation to avoid as Clippard is pretty bad and so are the White Sox so save opps will be pretty rare to come by here (least save opportunities in baseball – and that was before they started trading people). I’d rather speculate on a possible closer down the road than have THIS particular closer.
Closer: Raisel Iglesias
Keep an Eye on: No one
Iglesias is the closer. He’s very good. There’s really nothing to add here.
Closer: Cody Allen
Keep an Eye on: No one
So I’m very familiar with this situation as I am from and live in Cleveland. I feel like outsiders mistakenly thought that just because Andrew Miller is the superior pitcher that he’d overtake Allen as the closer at some point. It’s simply not going to happen. There was also some talk that Cleveland would reverse their roles for a little while…that happened for like 2 weeks (mid June to early July). Miller has 2 saves – Allen has 19. Cody Allen is very very good and he’s simply the guy who’s going to get 90+% of the saves regardless of whether there’s a better reliever here or not. Tito likes being able to deploy Miller in various situations outside of the 9th when he’s needed. Feel free to use Miller for his elite ratios, but he’s not usurping the role from Allen and never was going to… sorry Miller owners – this is as good as it gets for you.
Closer: Greg Holland
Keep an Eye on: No one
The Rockies picked-up Pat Neshek at the trade deadline who will likely become the next-in-line in case Greg Holland’s health doesn’t hold up. Ottavino is having a rough year and McGee is out indefinitely now, so it’s safe to say Neshek would be next up. Like Wade Davis, Holland is at a slightly elevated health risk compared to most closers, so it is possible that he could miss some time. However, you don’t hold onto a speculative guy hoping the closer gets injured because it’s just not something you can bank on unless you see something. I don’t see anything. Moving on…
Closer: Shane Greene
Keep an Eye on: Joe Jimenez
Unlike some other situations which we will discuss later, the Tigers didn’t wait to announce Greene as their new closer in the wake of the Justin Wilson deal. Greene had a rough June, but he’s been good outside of that and especially in July where he has yet to allow an earned run. I do like Greene, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the recent call-up of Joe Jimenez. Jimenez has been dominantly closing games in the minors since 2014 and has been considered their closer of the future by many. He did struggle in his cup of coffee in the bigs earlier in the year, but you know how that goes for rookies sometimes. I’m not worried. I think he’ll do well this go around, and if he does, it might not take much faltering from Greene for Jimenez to get a shot so keep an eye on this situation. But in the meantime add Shane Greene if he’s available – he’s a solid talent.
Closer: Ken Giles
Keep an Eye on: No one
This is a situation where you feel like if you’re a Giles owner (I am) you SHOULD feel safe, yet you never do. Hinch has turned to Gregerson, Harris, and even Devenski to randomly close out games when he feels like it. Then around the trade deadline, they were talking about adding a reliever – possibly even a closer like Britton. Thankfully they didn’t. Giles has been solid overall, though certainly lacking the dominance he’d shown previously. Still, there isn’t much to see here either… he may lose a few saves along the way but he’s the guy.
Kansas City Royals
Closer: Kelvin Herrera
Keep an Eye on: No one
The Royals surprised everybody and had a huge surge over the last few weeks to put them back into the playoff hunt in a weak AL Central (where my Indians have refused to pull away thus far). As a result, the Royals became buyers instead of sellers at the deadline – making Herrera’s job completely safe. He had struggled earlier, but really seems to have found his groove since around mid June. The Royals traded for former Padres closer Brandon Maurer, but he won’t be closing in KC unless something happens to Herrera. Move along…
Closer: Bud Norris
Keep an Eye on: Blake Parker
The Angels showed surprising loyalty to Bud Norris while he was out for 2 weeks from mid to late June as they didn’t go back to Cam Bedrosian who was very likely their best reliever at the time. I thought maybe that was because they wanted to showcase Norris to other teams as a potential closer to keep his value high, but the deadline went by without a Norris deal – they must not have gotten an offer for him that they felt reflected his value. Also, he had 2 big blow-ups in the last week so that could have hurt as well. This is an interesting situation… Norris has been solid pretty much all year, but his job does not feel safe at the moment. Fortunately for him, Bedrosian has been just as bad for the past 2 weeks. But you know who has been very good all season (outside of a bad outing on May 3rd)? Blake Parker. I’m not saying a change will definitely happen, but if they were just showcasing Norris before, and if he starts to slide a bit, I’d look into picking-up the guy who’s been their best reliever this year in Parker. I didn’t think Norris would be that good all year so it wouldn’t be a big shock to see him flounder here.
Closer: Kenley Jansen
Keep an Eye on: No one
The guy has 69 Ks and 4 walks. Seriously. Nothing here.
Closer: Brad Ziegler
Keep an Eye on: Drew Steckenrider and maybe Kyle Barraclough later
This has turned into a bit of a shit situation. After their only really good reliever, David Phelps, was traded to Seattle, Kyle Barraclough was in line to take over for Ramos (even though he’s been pretty awful this year with bad control), but hurt his shoulder right before Ramos was traded. Meanwhile, Brad Ziegler, who’s been pretty terrible himself, was coming back at just the right time. The Marlins sort of said “yeah, it’ll probably be Ziegler”…which is their way of saying “We don’t have any good options, so we’re going to throw our most experienced guy out there and see what happens. Fuck it.” Honestly, I’m not touching Ziegler – he’s allergic to Ks like Kintzler but without the elite spin rate that helps Kintzler not suck. I’m not a fan of waiting on Barraclough either though, because he isn’t very good either and I don’t like his chances of coming back quickly and effectively from a shoulder impingement. Junichi Tazawa is another guy who has some closing experience but is even worse than the other two, and Dustin McGowan is really just a guy. Drew Steckenrider is the only reliever in that pen that remotely intrigues me, and the fact that they just called him back up tells me they’re not really considering him to close at this point. That could change in the future if he continues to be their best reliever though so keep an eye on him.
Closer: Corey Knebel
Keep an Eye on: Anthony Swarzak
Knebel is another guy who seems like he should be safe, but you just don’t feel completely safe with. The reason for that is his shitty control – 5.4 BB/9 is so bad that Fernando Rodney is judging him. The reason he’s still likely to keep the job though is his immense 15.8 K/9 topped only among closers by Kimbrel’s 16.5 K/9. The Brewers did add Jeremy Jeffress and Anthony Swarzak at the trade deadline to a pen that has solid relievers Jacob Barnes and Oliver Drake in it already. Of those guys, I really only see Swarzak having the potential to take over as closer though and even that would be a little difficult to see unless Knebel starts blowing games left and right (though he does have 5 blown saves already). This isn’t yet a situation that you should be closely monitoring but keep it in your peripheral vision just in case.
Keep an Eye on: Trevor Hildenberger
So in the closing minutes of the trade deadline, the Twins decided to deal closer Brandon Kintzler. Ok great. Who closes there now? Kintzler’s whole selling point as being a solid closer wasn’t his skills so much as the complete lack of competition there. Ryan Pressly was supposed to be the closer-in-waiting, but that sure hasn’t panned out despite good peripherals. Taylor Rodgers was very likely going to be the guy until forgetting how to pitch in the last week. Matt Belisle’s peripherals are thoroughly uninspiring – he screams middle relief (at best). Former starter Tyler Duffey has been ok, but nothing special. Glen Perkins is supposedly close to making a return but he hasn’t pitched since 2015 so color me dubious that he’s going to come back healthy and effective for the last 6 weeks of the season. Now we’re left with the guy who I’d be targeting – Trevor Hildenberger. He was pretty dominant closing in the minors, and carried that success with him to the majors when he was called-up. He combines a good K rate with a very good walk rate and GroundBall% while suppressing HRs – what else could you ask for? Now, if you ask me if I think he’ll get the first shot at closing, then the answer is probably not…but he’s the guy I think will end up with the job, and he’s the guy with the skills I’d invest in.
New York Mets
Closer: AJ Ramos
Keep an Eye on: No one
We knew the Mets were trading Addison Reed. What we didn’t know was that they’d be trading FOR a closer as well. There went my recommendation to pick up Paul Sewald as a speculative closer out the window. So, AJ Ramos went from closing for the Marlins to closing for the Mets. At some point in August, Jeurys Familia is supposedly coming back. As usual when dealing with long-term injuries, I’m not counting on him to come back and be effective. Also, if he were coming back to a tentative situation, maybe I could see stashing him… but with Ramos there, I don’t see them making a change unless Ramos really struggles in the closer role. Now, it’s entirely possible the Mets go back to Familia as their 2018 closer, but I doubt he supplants Ramos this season. Not much to see here.
New York Yankees
Closer: Aroldis Chapman
Keep an Eye on: No one
Like Britton, Chapman wasn’t looking like he was 100% in early to mid July – looking quite hittable. However, since he seems to be pitching like vintage Chapman once again. I’m sure he’ll vault to the top tier in our closer rankings in no time. If he does get hurt, I imagine it’ll be David Robertson closing over Dellin Betances, but I’m not entirely sure. Either way, you’re not holding them unless you’re just looking for elite ratios.
Closer: Blake Treinen
Keep an Eye on: No one
After another thoroughly uninspired outing from Santiago Casilla, the A’s mentioned that they might make a change at closer. Nothing concrete was ever said, but looking at who made sense as next-in-line there and how they were using him, it became apparent that Blake Treinen is now the closer for the A’s. With Doolittle and Madson gone and Casilla not bringing any value back in a trade, the A’s were free to try out their new toy as a potential closer of the future in Oakland. Treinen certainly has the stuff to close, but he got hit pretty hard in April when he was closing for the Nationals, lost his job, and never got it back. Since May though, he’s been far less hittable. July was definitely his best month to date. Still, it’s tentative at this point – if he blows a save or two they could easily turn to someone else. I think Casilla’s time as a closer is up, but Ryan Dull, Simon Castro, and Liam Hendricks are all guys who have good predictive stats, though the results haven’t shown that yet. I think Treinen keeps the job, but Simon Castro especially is a name to watch in the event Treinen struggles.
Closer: Hector Neris
Keep an Eye on: No one
After a tumultuous start to the season for Hector Neris he’s really settled in as the closer in Philly. His job is 100% safe. Unfortunately, the job is saving a game every other week it seems (though somehow they’ve had more save opportunities than Cleveland, Cincy, and the White Sox). Still, he’s the closer there. With Benoit and Neshek being traded out of town, Luis Garcia is next in line, but there is no need to speculate on him.
Closer: Felipe Rivero
Keep an Eye on: No one
Rivero has been one of the most dominant closers in baseball since taking over for the ill-fated Tony Watson. I told my buddy Vlad (you might know him as RotoWire’s Vlad Sedler or RotoGut on Twitter or at the top of the standings in NFBC) back in March to stay away from Watson because he was not long for that job… he didn’t listen. It was the one thing he was wrong about all year it seems haha. Anyways, the Pirates traded away Tony Watson and brought in Joaquin Benoit and none of that matters because Rivero isn’t going anywhere. I’d assume Nicasio would be ahead of Benoit to close in the event of a Rivero injury but I’m not totally sure there.
San Diego Padres
Closer: Brad Hand
Keep an Eye on: No one
Well, the trade deadline came and went without the Padres cashing in their biggest trade chip in Brad Hand. When Maurer was dealt most in-the-know fantasy owners expected Hand to follow suit shortly after so it was a question of, “Who do I pick up other than Brad Hand because he’ll be traded any day now too?” My answer to that question was dominant minor league closer Phil Maton, but then the Padres turned to Kirby Yates (a less stellar stat sheet than Maton but had been a little more dominant than Maton in the majors thus far this season) when Brad Hand was unavailable. To my knowledge, the Padres never named Brad Hand the closer – probably because they expected to trade him. However, he did accumulate 4 straight saves after Maurer was traded so I think it’s safe to speculate that he’s the closer in San Diego. Hand has elite skills, so I think he’ll probably go the way of Felipe Rivero and be a dominant closer for the rest of the season. I’d rather speculate elsewhere on guys.
San Francisco Giants
Closer: Sam Dyson
Keep an Eye on: Mark Melancon
With the Giants out of the playoff picture, Melancon having no reason to rush back, and Sam Dyson pitching pretty well, I thought there was a good chance Dyson might keep the job for the rest of the season. But with Dyson showing cracks lately and Melancon looking like he’s on the verge of returning from his rehab assignment, I’d say it’s fairly safe to drop Dyson if there’s a better speculative option out there, but he’s not a bad guy to hold in case they don’t rush Melancon back into the closer role.
Closer: Edwin Diaz
Keep an Eye on: No one
There was a time earlier this season when it looked like you might need to know who’s backing Diaz up. That was then, and this is now. David Phelps is probably ahead of Nick Vincent in the case of a Diaz injury, but don’t concern yourself with it.
St. Louis Cardinals
Closer: Trevor Rosenthal
Keep an Eye on: No one
In early July, something finally clicked for Trevor Rosenthal – now he suddenly looks like his dominant 2014-2015 self again. The Cardinals had been trying to find a reason to transfer the closer role from Oh to him for awhile before then, but Rosenthal was struggling as much as Oh was. The Cardinals haven’t officially named him the new closer yet, but he has 2 saves in the last 4 days and the way they’re using him it’s pretty obvious he’s the guy. Oh looks a lot better over the last 2 weeks, but this is Rosenthal’s job to lose…and if he keeps pitching the way he’s been pitching for the last 3 weeks, he’s not losing that job. Brett Cecil is probably 3rd in line at this point, but I expect Rosenthal to run away with the job so I’m not concerned with Oh and Cecil unless Rosenthal regresses.
Tampa Bay Rays
Closer: Alex Colome
Keep an Eye on: No one
Colome hasn’t been a top closer this season, but he’s looked better lately and his job is still pretty safe unless he starts blowing saves. Steve Cishek would likely be next man up if the Rays did decide to remove Colome as closer, though Brad Boxberger is another good option. This is a very lucrative job, as the Rays lead the majors in save opportunities – but I expect Colome to continue to see those save opportunities.
Keep an Eye on: Keone Kela
This is definitely a situation where you’re going to want to keep an eye on the team closer depth chart. Here’s what I’m seeing: Alex Claudio has been getting most of the save opps lately, though Jose Leclerc also got one. Claudio pitched 3 innings today in a non save situation though – not something you’d do with someone you thought of as your closer. Claudio also doesn’t have the skill set of a (typical) closer – he’s a lefty who doesn’t strike guys out but has an insane 72% GB rate (basically a left-handed Kintzler). Leclerc has the stuff you’d like in a closer, but he also has a walk rate of 6 BB/9, so I’m skeptical he’s going to be the guy either. The Rangers just activated Keone Kela from the DL on July 20th, and he was in line to become the closer before his injury. I’ve heard Texas plans to eventually make him the closer at some point. However, I also heard that they were looking to get Matt Bush back into the closer role earlier this year too – though he’s probably made that difficult to do with his struggles. My gut says Kela is the guy to own in Texas’ pen.
Toronto Blue Jays
Closer: Roberto Osuna
Keep an Eye on: No one…yet
Osuna has been a top 3 closer so far this season, but the last 3 days have been rough for him – blowing 2 saves and giving up 5 runs in under 2 innings. Normally I’d just chalk it up to a couple bad nights, but it’s fair to wonder if his mental health is a concern. Also there were reports that his velocity is down – it might be a case of dead arm. Stay tuned here… I’m not worried about him yet, but there’s a chance this could be something. Ryan Tepera is the guy to own if Osuna needs some time off. Don’t speculate yet though; wait to see if Osuna rebounds in his next outing.
Closer: Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle battling for the closer role
Keep an Eye on: Brandon Kintzler and Sean Doolittle
When the Nationals traded for Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson, it quickly became clear that Doo was the guy they tabbed as their closer over Madson despite Doo giving up a run in each of his first 2 save opps then blowing a save 2 outings later. However, then the Nationals traded for Brandon Kintzler on trade deadline day muddying the waters a bit. The thing is, Kintzler isn’t Aroldis Chapman – he’s not established well enough that he’s going to be the closer basically anywhere he goes. As I’ve mentioned before, Kintzler doesn’t have closer stuff – Doolittle does though. However, in spite of all that, I’d bet on Kintzler eventually grabbing the job. It’s partially because of how good he’s been this year as a closer, partially because of Doolittle’s struggles since becoming the Nats’ closer, and partially because my gut tells me he’s going to take over. There’s another option too – they could share the job with Doolittle facing lefties and Kintzler facing righties…but I think the Nats want one guy to be the closer. I think they’re going to give them both opps moving forward to see who handles the job better. In spite of everything that would point to Doo being the better closer, I think it’ll eventually be Kintzler, though Doolittle could easily get first crack as the “incumbent.” Both must be owned though. Don’t bother with Madson or Glover.
Closers are often fluid as you can obviously see…it’s something you have to constantly monitor or you could find yourself lacking. Let RotoSaurus do the work for you. Check back here as we update pretty much daily. Here’s those links you should be checking:
Since before the season started, it’s been well known that the Nationals were in the market for a closer. They were especially hot on the trail of David Robertson, but the White Sox’s asking price was too high for the Nats’ tastes. Then Robertson came out on fire looking like a top 3 closer in baseball, and I’m sure that didn’t lower the Sox’s asking price for him. All the while the Nats have been trying different guys in the closer role – Treinen, Kelley, Glover, Albers, Romero – and not feeling comfortable with any of them. It’s clear that it’s only a matter of time before they trade for their closer. Now we know who they’re targeting:
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Nationals have “spoken internally” about closers Kelvin Herrera, David Robertson, Alex Colome, Mark Melancon, A.J. Ramos, and Roberto Osuna. They also like Padres setup man Brad Hand.
So let’s take a look at the implications of any of these guys getting traded, as well as the implications of any other closers or potential closers getting dealt at the trade deadline. Let’s start by looking at which teams may be looking for closers and which teams may be trading closers.
Teams Potentially Looking for Closers:
1. Washington Nationals – See above
2. Arizona Diamondbacks – The DBacks are playing very well and are right in the playoff hunt. With Fernando Rodney as their closer, they’d likely be looking for an upgrade if they’re still in the hunt around the trade deadline.
3. Texas Rangers – Dyson blew up HARD as he clearly wasn’t healthy to start the season… and still doesn’t look right. Jeffress and the rest of the bullpen hasn’t been very good either. Matt Bush has taken over, and he has the stuff to close, but this is a guy who didn’t pitch for 5 years while being a drug addict and going to prison before making a comeback last year. Now, maybe they stick with him, but I have a feeling they might want a more proven guy at the back end while using Bush as the set-up man. Either way they need another pen arm.
4. Detroit Tigers – Now they might just fall off and become sellers rendering this moot, but no one has taken control of the AL Central yet. The Indians are struggling, leaving the Twins atop the Central right now. If the Tigers have a shot, they’ll make a splash…and their biggest need BY FAR is the bullpen, which might be the worst in baseball outside of Justin Wilson. Wilson, though, is a lefty who has never closed before so they might want to bring in a more proven guy and use Wilson as a set-up man. I still think it’s more likely that the Indians start running away with the Central and the Tigers fall off, but as of now they’re still in this.
5. Baltimore Orioles – With Britton out indefinitely, the Orioles have turned to Brach. Unfortunately, he doesn’t resemble the dominant Brach we saw last season. In fact, O’Day and Givens also don’t look like their dominant 2016 selves. This could leave the Orioles as buyers for a proven closer because it would be pretty risky to depend on Britton to return as his dominant self.
Trade Implications by Team and Closer Candidate:
Arizona Diamondbacks Closer Depth Chart
RHP Fernando Rodney
RHP Archie Bradley
LHP Andrew Chafin
RHP JJ Hoover
Fernando Rodney– the DBacks could go either way here – if they fall out of the race, they could trade off Rodney to a contender, and if they stay in the race, they’d likely be looking for an upgrade. If he’s traded, he could easily go to a team as a set-up man and lose his role as closer.
Archie Bradley – If Rodney is traded, Bradley becomes the best and obvious choice for replacement. He’s someone who should probably be owned as a speculative guy right now…but just know that they’re just as likely to trade for someone to close as they are to sell. Chafin and Hoover aren’t worth speculating on at this point.
Atlanta Braves Closer Depth Chart
RHP Jim Johnson
RHP Arodys Vizcaino
RHP Jose Ramirez
Jim Johnson – Johnson is looking good as a legit closer, continuing from his late-season dominance in 2016. The Braves have him signed through 2018 so there’s no rush to trade him, but if someone made the Braves a good offer I’m sure they’d take it.
Arodys Vizcaino – If Johnson were traded, Vizcaino would likely become the closer. I just don’t see it as very likely that the Braves trade Johnson though, so I wouldn’t hold onto Vizcaino unless you hear something.
Chicago White Sox Closer Depth Chart
RHP David Robertson
RHP Tommy Kahnle
RHP Nate Jones (elbow – out indefinitely)
RHP Zack Burdi (minors)
David Robertson – If the White Sox trade Robertson, it’s extremely likely he’d close for whatever team trades for him because he’s very good and the asking price for him is so high that it wouldn’t make sense for a team to trade for him as a set-up man. Obviously he’d close for the Nationals, but he’d probably close for just about any team right now. Also, the White Sox have Robertson signed through 2018, so they could easily still continue to compete this season in a weak AL Central and trade him next season if they don’t get the package they’re looking for.
Tommy Kahnle – If Robertson were to be traded, Kahnle would likely be next in line to close for the Sox. I’d definitely grab Kahnle if Robertson were traded due to his dominant upside, but it’s a murky situation.
Nate Jones – He’s another option, and the guy we all thought would eventually take over when Robertson was inevitably traded, but re-injuring his elbow has complicated things – even when he comes back he may not be 100%.
Zack Burdi – The White Sox’s future closer who dominating in the minors could get a call-up upon a Robertson trade…but with Kahnle dominating I’m not sure they need to rush him to the majors.
Kansas City Royals Closer Depth Chart
RHP Kelvin Herrera
RHP Joakim Soria
LHP Matt Strahm
Kelvin Herrera – Just like Robertson, he’s signed through 2018 and he’d very likely keep his closer role on whatever team he gets traded to – though he hasn’t been his dominant self so far this year.
Joakim Soria – The former closer would be next in line if Herrera gets traded, though Soria will be a trade candidate himself. I don’t see him as a speculative guy to hold because for him to become closer, he’d have to either be traded somewhere to close (unlikely) or rely on a Herrera trade (unlikely) and then not get traded himself.
Matt Strahm – If both Herrera AND Soria are traded, Strahm would likely take over. Again, this is very unlikely, but in that event he does have great stuff and could be a very good closer.
Miami Marlins Closer Depth Chart
RHP AJ Ramos
RHP Kyle Barraclough
RHP Brad Ziegler
LHP Jarlin Garcia
AJ Ramos – I’m not a big Ramos fan, but despite his control issues, he’d likely take over as closer if traded to the Nats. As someone who is signed through 2018, I’m not sure any other team would be willing to pay what the Marlins would want for him because he’s not exactly a shut-down closer. I don’t think he’s as likely to get dealt as others.
Kyle Barraclough – He was a top 3 reliever in 2016, but he’s lost his mojo this season. He’s likely still next in line in case of a Ramos trade, but I wouldn’t bother speculating on him. Same goes for Ziegler, who’s been even worse this year, and Garcia who is probably best suited to be a LOOGY.
New York Mets Closer Depth Chart
RHP Addison Reed
RHP Paul Sewald
RHP Hansel Robles
Addison Reed – The Mets were supposed to compete this year, but injuries and poor performance has changed those plans. Reed has been very good taking over for the injured Familia, but he’s an obvious trade candidate as he’s a free agent after this season. Reed keeping the closer role depends on where he lands but I’d put him at 60/40 to keep it.
Paul Sewald – Here’s a name you should know that no one is talking about. He was a dominant reliever in the minors (where he closed too) showing the ability to both limit walks and strike guys out. He’s the only other reliever in the Mets pen pitching well, and as I just said Reed is an obvious trade candidate due to the Mets being likely sellers and him being in his walk year. If the Mets are still struggling a month from now, pick Sewald up.
Oakland Athletics Closer Depth Chart
RHP Santiago Casilla
RHP Ryan Madson
RHP Frankie Montas
LHP Sean Doolittle (shoulder – out indefinitely)
RHP Liam Hendricks
Santiago Casilla – Casilla is not very good. He’s also a free agent after the season. Then on top of that, he plays on the A’s who seemingly trade off their spare parts every single year. If he can find a taker, Billy Beane will trade Casilla. I’d bet against Casilla keeping his closer role if he’s traded elsewhere (doesn’t sound like Nats are interested).
Ryan Madson – He’s actually pitching VERY well this season. He’s signed through 2018 so he’s less likely to be traded THIS season (though he’ll be a prime candidate next season). Beane might be trying to increase Casilla’s trade value this year by making him the closer before trading him and making the switch to Madson. Madson is a pretty good speculative pick-up right now. Montas has great stuff but is getting hit pretty hard, and Doolittle cannot stay healthy enough to hold down the closer role.
Pittsburgh Pirates Closer Depth Chart
LHP Tony Watson
LHP Felipe Rivero
RHP Daniel Hudson
RHP Juan Nicasio
Tony Watson – The Pirates will definitely be sellers, and with Watson in his walk year he’s an excellent trade candidate. He’s also a lefty, so teams in need of a lefty in their pen might come calling. I don’t see him keeping his closing role for another team, but it would depend on where he lands.
Felipe Rivero – Rivero is everything you want in a closer – great stuff, great control, and lots of strikeouts. With Hudson sucking and Watson being a prime trade candidate, speculative guys don’t come any better than Rivero. Grab him ASAP.
San Diego Padres Closer Depth Chart
RHP Brandon Maurer
LHP Brad Hand
LHP Ryan Buchter
LHP Jose Torres
RHP Carter Capps (elbow – out indefinitely)
Brad Hand – With Maurer struggling, Hand is likely next in line to get a shot. It might also make sense to give him the closer role in order to raise his trade value. The Nats are interested as I’m sure other teams are as well, but he’ll be costly to acquire as he’s signed through 2019 (think about what the Yankees got for Andrew Miller, though a little less probably). He’s a pretty solid speculative pick-up given he could take over for Maurer and/or get traded into a closer role. With Maurer cheap and struggling, he doesn’t make much sense as a trade candidate. Buchter and Torres are other possibilities if Maurer loses the job but the line should start behind Hand.
San Francisco Giants Closer Depth Chart
RHP Mark Melancon
RHP Derek Law
RHP Hunter Strickland
Mark Melancon – With the Giants struggling, they look like definite sellers at this point. The Nats have Melancon as one of the guys they’re looking at as well. However, with a huge contract that pays him through 2020, a trade would seem complicated and unlikely. If he does get traded though, Melancon would surely close wherever he goes.
Derek Law – If Melancon does get traded, Law would take over as closer. He’s had good results so far this season, though his peripherals say he’s gotten pretty lucky and is pretty average. I actually think the Giants rushed Melancon back so I like Law more as a backup plan in case Melancon re-injures himself because I don’t think it’s very likely he gets traded.
Tampa Bay Rays Closer Depth Chart
RHP Alex Colome
RHP Tommy Hunter (calf – out until late May)
RHP Brad Boxberger (lat/flexor – out indefinitely)
RHP Danny Farquhar
Alex Colome – Colome is pretty unlikely to be traded because he’s in arbitration years through 2020 so teams would have to give up a big haul for him. On top of that, he hasn’t been that great so far this season so I don’t think it’s likely some team will want to give up that much for him. However, his name does keep coming up both in trade rumors with the Nats as well as with other teams (supposedly). If he gets traded somewhere it would probably be to a team that desperately needs a closer and would use him as such.
Hunter/Boxberger/Farquhar – 2 of the 3 of these guys are injured and honestly none of them are even close to being good closer options. I’d simply stay away from this situation in fantasy.
Toronto Blue Jays Closer Depth Chart
RHP Roberto Osuna
RHP Joe Smith
RHP Danny Barnes
RHP Ryan Tepera
Roberto Osuna – Who knows if he’s even remotely available, but the Nats are “discussing him internally.” The Jays are looking like sellers for sure, but Osuna is like Colome – cheap and in arbitration years through 2020… so it’ll take a monster package to acquire him. If he gets traded, he’ll surely be the closer wherever he goes.
Joe Smith – In the unlikely event Osuna gets traded, Smith would likely take over. He’s having a phenomenal season so far – and the best strikeout rate of his career to boot. He’d be someone to jump on if Osuna gets traded, but I’m not holding my breath.
Closers in danger of losing the Closer role through trade:
1. Santiago Casilla
2. Tony Watson
3. Fernando Rodney
4. Addison Reed
5. Matt Bush
6. Jim Johnson
7. AJ Ramos
8. Brad Brach
Speculative Relievers who could become Closers through trade:
1. Felipe Rivero
2. Ryan Madson
3. Archie Bradley
4. Paul Sewald
5. Tommy Kahnle
6. Joakim Soria
7. Kyle Barraclough
8. Arodys Vizcaino
RotoSaurus is back in 2017 with all your Closer Needs! Check out the links below:
Now, we aren’t even through the winter yet, so these rankings and lists will obviously be fluid. Guys like Sergio Romo and Greg Holland are still free agents and could certainly be signed as closers somewhere. Others like AJ Ramos, Alex Colome, and David Robertson have been on the trading block all winter and could still be moved before the season begins. Jeurys Familia will be suspended for 30+ games so Addison Reed now looks like a closer to begin the season as well. The Nationals are still searching for a closer on either the free agent or trade market. Other teams like the Phillies, Reds, Brewers, and Angels are also unsettled as well. These lists and rankings will be continuously updated as we go along, but at least this is a good place to start if you want to begin researching for the upcoming 2017 season. Welcome back!