Joakim Soria has emerged over the past month as a quality closer for the Diamondbacks … just in time for the team to ship him off at the trade deadline. He obviously won’t be the only closer of interest this week, as I’d expect a dozen or so veteran relievers to change teams. Pitchers with more than one save over the past month who have a high probability of being moved by this Friday’s deadline: Soria, Daniel Bard, Brad Hand, Richard Rodríguez, Ian Kennedy, Hansel Robles, Yimi García, Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland, and Taylor Rogers (depending on injury severity). When speculating on who will get save chances for those teams come this weekend, make sure not to make too big of an investment in the two popular “next in line relievers” who are just as likely to be moved at the deadline as well; Ryan Tepera and Daniel Hudson.
- Craig Kimbrel is the only closer on the market that is a near-lock to remain in a closer role with his new team, wherever that may be. Teams like the Dodgers and Padres are likely to be interested despite having solid closers in place, but I’d still imagine Kimbrel would become the primary closer in either situation (definitely in San Diego, probably in Los Angeles). With Andrew Chafin already moved, the Cubs still are looking for new homes for not just Kimbrel, but Ryan Tepera as well who should be able to net the team a similar return as Chafin.
- Edwin Díaz has a nice bounce-back week after last week’s pair of blown saves, as he converted three saves while striking out seven and allowing just one baserunner. That’s the Díaz I envisioned we would see this season, but consistency has been an issue for him. He still provides one of if not the highest ceiling out of any current closer, it just comes down to consistency.
- Scott Barlow leads the Royals in saves over the past month with four, as he continues to operate as closer option 1A. Part of me wonders if the Royals are trying to beef up Barlow’s resume and attempt to trade him while his value is at its highest, but I still see that as doubtful. With Greg Holland likely on the move, that should leave Barlow as the sole closer than for the remainder of the season, but with Mike Matheny, we can never really be so sure.
- Gregory Soto has converted the Tigers last five saves and despite the high walk rate and WHIP seems like a good bet to remain in the closer role moving forward. Michael Fulmer’s return is imminent however and that could throw a wrench in things. Like with about ten other teams in the league, we should have some more clarity on the situation in about a week’s time.
- Brad Hand has picked an inopportune time to unravel as the Nationals will be looking to move him (and others) this week after allowing six earned runs over his past 2.2 innings pitched. Teams in the playoff hunt will surely still be interested in Hand as a left-handed setup/depth piece but I could see Daniel Hudson getting a better return than Hand.
- Also unfortunate were the Twins, who lost All-Star Taylor Rogers (and likely his trade value) to a finger injury last night. While Rogers may stay put for now depending on the severity of the injury, I’d still expect to see Hansel Robles and possibly Alex Colomé moved as contenders try to shore up their bullpen depth.
|1.||Emmanuel Clase||Cleveland||Cleveland seems committed to a Karinchak/Clase 50/50 split|
|2.||Paul Sewald||Seattle||Seattle may be copying Cleveland’s approach to the closer role|
|3.||Anthony Bender||Miami||The job should be Bender’s once García is moved, but Floro and Bass are lurking|
|4.||David Bednar||Pittsburgh||Unclear who will take over for Rodríguez, but Bednar presents the most upside|
|5.||Pete Fairbanks||Tampa Bay||Stealing some save chances from Castillo after the All-Star break …|
|6.||Spencer Patton||Texas||Has been the Rangers best reliever over the past month and is likely next in line|
|7.||Kyle Finnegan||Washington||Finnegan seems like the best bet to take over here … until Rainey returns?|
|8.||Rex Brothers||Chicago Cubs||I have no idea on this, but Brothers and Keegan Thompson are my bets|
|9.||Tyler Duffey||Minnesota||Contingent on Rogers, Robles, AND Colomé all being moved|
|10.||Amir Garrett||Cincinnati||Who knows who will be closing for the Reds two weeks from now|
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)