With the trade deadline rapidly approaching and a seemingly aggressive market for both buyers and sellers, it does seem likely that we see more deals than usual 2 weeks from now. There was already two major move related to this list, that being the Nationals finally bolstering their bullpen by acquiring both Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson. They still need one more option, preferably a legitimate closer candidate and with more than half of this list being mentioned in potential trade talks, they should be able to find one. The other deal happened late last night with the Yankees adding David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle from the White Sox for a package of prospects. Even with those 4 moving, Anthony Swarzak would be my top add this week for save needy fantasy owners.
TIER 1: Nothing Compares 2 U
- Craig Kimbrel blew a save on Saturday allowing a solo HR to Matt Holliday, but other than that its been business as usual in limited work for this group following the All-Star break. Kenley Jansen is on pace for having one of if not the best seasons ever for a closer, while the 22-year old Roberto Osuna looks like one of the games most exciting rising young stars.
TIER 2: Save Tonight
- Aroldis Chapman just doesn’t seem to be the same guy we are used to this year. It is probably due to him battling injuries more than his career beginning to decline, but it is still concerning his WHIP sits at 1.46 thru 26 appearances. It’s more likely than not that he regains his dominant ways and moves back into the top-tier sooner rather than later. If not, the Yankees now boast the best bullpen in baseball so they have fallback options.
- Of all the rumored RP trade options, I’d list Alex Colome and Kelvin Herrera the least likely to move by the trade deadline. Justin Wilson and Addison Reed are both legitimate top 15 closing options right now, but also have higher odds to be moved, and unless they are going to Washington, both would likely wind up in set-up roles.
TIER 3: Bound for the Floor
- This may be a bit drastic, but I really do have a strong feeling that both Zach Britton and Brad Brach are moved this trade deadline. Both of them could conceivably get the Orioles a huge return to help them rejuvenate a mediocre at best farm system, while opening the door for closer of the future Mychal Givens to start earning save chances. This makes sense for a team that isn’t in need of a total rebuild, but still needs to shake things up and look towards the future. At this point, you can argue Britton, Brach and Givens need to be owned until things are sorted out July 31st.
- Most people were gearing up for the Tommy Kahnle era in Chicago as David Robertson was seen as the most likely closer to be dealt by the deadline. Then the Yankees had to go and acquire both Robertson and Kahnle, leaving just Anthony Swarzak as the only possible closer candidate left for the White Sox. He’s put together an outstanding season though, and should be a solid option for the rest of the year.
- It looks like Trevor Rosenthal will get an extended look as the Cardinals closer for the foreseeable future, which is still nothing to get overly excited about. He has been pitching much better of late, and there is certainly a chance he holds on to the job for the remainder of the season. There is just as likely a chance Mike Matheny goes back to Seung Hwan Oh and/or Brett Cecil for save opportunities. Maybe Matt Bowman will get a chance if St. Louis falls out of contention.
TIER 4: Better Days (and the Bottom Drops Out)
- It seemed like everyone was freaking out this weekend about the Nats/A’s deal that sent both Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to Washington with people wanting to know who will close and who to pick up/spend their FAAB budget on. The real answer is neither probably ends up closing more than a few games, and neither is anything more than a pure speculative add at this point. While the two were in Oakland, I preferred Doolittle as Madson’s successor just based on pure stuff and strikeout ability, and still do prefer him giving the fact Dusty’s three most reliable relievers were already left-handed. That meaning there is no need to strictly play matchups with Doolittle, as you can use Enny Romero or Oliver Perez to get lefties out prior to the 9th inning. I’ve also seen a lot of talk about Dusty being old schools and wanting a more conventional right-handed pitcher for the 9th. Romero, Perez, Matt Grace and Sammy Solis have all been used in save situations this season already.
- The Rangers closing situation is still a debacle that is best to stay away from, at least until Keone Kela returns. When he does, the situation could become more clear (him being THE guy) or just as possible, get murkier, with a 4 man committee.
Will Harris (Houston Astros)