Orioles’ Zach Britton to Stay Put…For Now
The 2017 non-waiver trade deadline has passed with quite a few closers/relievers changing teams. Well, if you needed saves, they are probably out there, as more than one closer should be available on your waiver wire. FAAB will be very interesting this week. There are 30 Major League Baseball teams (breaking news, I know), only 14 closers who started the season in that role still have the job. Out of those 14 (ARI, BAL, BOS, CUBS, CIN, CLE, COL, HOU, KC, LAD, NYY, SEA, TB, TOR), only Fernando Rodney, Craig Kimbrel, Wade Davis, Raisel Iglesias, Greg Holland, Ken Giles, Kelvin Herrera, Kenley Jansen, and Alex Colome haven’t been replaced in the role for one reason or another this season. Out of those nine that are remaining, which would you consider a reliever worth drafting in the middle-rounds next season? It might just be Jansen. Yeah, there is no chance I spend any major assets at closer next season. The position is just way too volatile.
Atlanta Braves: The good news for Fantasy owners is that Jim Johnson was not traded at the deadline. The bad news is that he still may not close out games, as Atlanta came out a few days before the deadline and stated that Johnson would share the role with Arodys Vizcaino. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Johnson hasn’t been pitching well for over a month. This is not the first time Vizcaino has closed for Atlanta and, at this point, he is the better pitcher. Still, it’s unlikely that he will get every save opportunity, and Mauricio Cabrera is waiting in the wings also.
Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton also wasn’t dealt at the deadline, as the Orioles didn’t receive an offer to his liking. You can now safely release Brad Brach, as his days of collecting saves are over. There has been some concern about how the O’s have used Britton. They haven’t let him pitch on back to back days, and that raised some eyebrows. It shouldn’t for you, however, as he is good to go for your Fantasy team.
Chicago White Sox: The Sox have traded just about everyone who isn’t nailed down in their bullpen. Their new closer is Tyler Clippard. Yes, the pitcher the Yankees couldn’t wait to get rid of. He’s terrible, but if every save matters to you, and you can afford the hit on your ratios, then good luck with him.
Detroit Tigers: After the trade of Justin Wilson (Cubs) the new closer for Detroit is likely to be Shane Greene. The Tigers’ bullpen was a mess before Wilson took over the closer role and might also be now that he’s gone. The Tigers also called up Joe Jimenez so Greene may be short lived in the job. Greene is really more suited for a long relief or spot starter role so Jimenez could get the job as soon as he earns the trust of the Tigers coaching staff.
Miami Marlins: Due to the trade of A.J. Ramos to the Mets, manager Don Mattingly announced that Brad Ziegler would take over as closer. This however could be short lived as Kyle Barraclough was expected to take over the closing role if/when Ramos was dealt but he was put on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. There is no timetable for the return of Barraclough so the longer he is on the shelf for the longer his odds are of becoming the closer for Miami but if he were to return within the next couple of weeks then the job should be his as the team will need to know if he is part of their future or if they will need to look for a closer in free agency next season.
Minnesota Twins: The Twins went from buyers to sellers in a big hurry last week. The traded for Jaime Garcia one day and then dealt him away a few days later. The team also traded away closer Brandon Kintzler (Nationals). That leaves who closes for Minnesota in flux. Is it Tyler Duffey or Matt Belisle? Does it matter? It could also be a committee with manager Paul Molitor using whichever reliever he believes gives him the best chance to get the job done that night. I’m staying away unless desperate.
New York Mets: Well if you’re a Ramos owner you only had to sweat for a couple of hours. He was traded to the Mets which may have made him look like a setup reliever to Addison Reed but then Reed was dealt to Boston which leaves the closing role once again in the hands of Ramos. As for Reed, oh well, you knew it was coming, he will setup Craig Kimbrel in Boston with a very slight chance to garner a save from this point forward.
San Diego Padres: Like the Orioles with Britton, the Padres couldn’t get the offer they wanted to trade Brad Hand so he stays as the closer for San Diego. Perhaps they will be able to trade him during the off-season but if not, they will play this same game again next July 31.
San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon (elbow) is currently on a rehab assignment and could return to SF by the end of the week. Sam Dyson has performed admirably in his place but did blow his last save opportunity versus the Dodgers and his time in the 9th inning is about to come to an end.
Texas Rangers: Alex Claudio did have a rough outing in his last appearance versus Seattle but he’s still the Texas’ closer at this point in time. Keone Kela may still get an opportunity here and there and may even get a chance to take the job over eventually but if you need saves now, then it’s Claudio that you want.
Washington Nationals: You have to hand it to the Nats, they recognized their biggest weakness and have taken care of it. The bullpen was a disaster in the early going this season so they acquired Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson in early July. Then, Monday, they reinforced the bullpen even further with the addition of Brandon Kintzler. This will allow manager Dusty Baker to once again mix and match in the late innings should he choose to do so or just keep Doolittle as his closer. Either way, Washington is setup to have a long post-season run.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.
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