CLOSER SITUATIONS AROUND THE MAJORS & THOUGHTS ON THE CHICAGO CUBS SIGNING CRAIG KIMBREL
The Chicago Cubs signed Craig Kimbrel. This is a good deal for a Chicago team that badly needed a closer. The deal is fair and barring a surprising decline, this should give them a major competitive advantage against St. Louis and Pittsburgh. I don’t think that Atlanta made a mistake not signing him due to the amount of good young pitching that they have, and Minnesota has an underrated bullpen. I think that this firmly places Chicago as the favorites in the tough NL Central.
Let’s take a look at the closer situations around the Majors and see how it affects teams in both the real life and fantasy departments.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Closer: Aroldis Chapman
Real Life: He’s a contender for best closer in the game on one of the top contending teams. He’s not losing his job or getting traded.
Fantasy: If you don’t have him, good luck acquiring him.
BOSTON RED SOX
Real Life: They have no set closer, but one of these guys has to win the job at some point right?
Fantasy: Pick up whoever is available on the waiver wire, but don’t trade for any of them.
Real Life: They’re a bad team with no one really in the lead at this point.
Fantasy: Don’t even bother. They’ll rarely get save opportunities and there’s no clear leader for the job in a weak bullpen.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
Real Life: They seem comfortable mixing and matching going forward.
Fantasy: Pick up one these guys if they’re still on the waiver wire, but look for better options first and don’t trade for any of them.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Closer: Ken Giles
Real Life: He’s doing great but will be on a new team after the trading deadline. They might use a committee after trading him.
Fantasy: Look to trade him for someone good more likely to stick at closer all season, but don’t try too hard as he might actually be a closer on a new team. Consider trading for him if you don’t have him.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Closer: Ian Kennedy
Real Life: They’re barely getting save chances and he’s not that good. He still should be dealt by the trading deadline and they’ll have a committee.
Fantasy: Pick him up if you’re desperate for saves, otherwise don’t bother and don’t trade for him.
Closer: Blake Parker
Real Life: He’s been great this year if you don’t look at his advanced metrics. I’m not sure that he’ll hang on to the job all season. Taylor Rogers is next in line and is a better reliever. I don’t know if they will acquire a closer by the trading deadline and doubt that they will.
Fantasy: Try to trade Parker for a more stable closer if possible. If you don’t have him, don’t trade for him. Pick up Rogers if he’s on the waiver wire.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Closer: Alex Colome
Real Life: He’s doing fine but is getting traded at the trading deadline. They will probably go with a committee after the trade. Colome is unlikely to close for his new team.
Fantasy: Trade him for a more stable closer if you can. If you don’t have him, then don’t trade for him.
Closer: Brad Hand
Real Life: Cleveland are still in playoff contention but are going after the second AL Wild Card spot at this point. They will most likely try to contend next year too and Hand isn’t a free agent after this season.
Fantasy: He’s one of the best closers to own and is a great trade target.
Closer: Roberto Osuna
Real Life: One of the best closers in the game on one of the top contending teams.
Fantasy: See Chapman.
Closer: Blake Treinen
Real Life: He’s been shaky but still solid. He was the best closer last year so he has a long leash.
Fantasy: One of the best closers to own.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Closer: Hansel Robles
Real Life: He should lose the job to Ty Buttrey at some point, as he’s just not closing material.
Fantasy: Stash Buttrey if he’s still on the waiver wire, don’t trade for Robles and trade him for a more stable closer if you can.
Closer: Roenis Elias
Real Life: He’s pretty bad and will lose his job any day now at this point.
Fantasy: Don’t pick him up unless you’re desperate.
Closer: Shawn Kelley
Real Life: Kelley is doing good, but he’s keeping the seat warm for Jose LeClerc.
Fantasy: Stash LeClerc if he’s on the waiver wire and try to flip Kelley for a more stable closer. Don’t trade for either one.
Closer: Luke Jackson
Real Life: He’s been surprisingly very good, however he has no track record. At this point he’s safe, but there’s the possibility of Sean Newcomb taking over if Jackson struggles.
Fantasy: Consider stashing Newcomb if you have the room.
Closer: Hector Neris
Real Life: He has the job for now, but can lose it if he becomes volatile again. David Robertson should also get opportunities when he’s back from the IL.
Fantasy: Stash Robertson if you have room and don’t trade for Neris. Drop Robertson if he ends up.
Closer: Sergio Romo
Real Life: He’s been quietly effective, and the better he pitches, the more likely he is to end up traded by the trading deadline. He’s not going to be a closer if traded and Miami will likely use a committee.
Fantasy: Pick him up if he’s still available on the waiver wire, but don’t bother trading him as he’s significantly underrated or trading for him due to his situation as a trade candidate in the real world.
Closer: Sean Doolittle
Real Life: He’s not that good, but with the weak bullpen that they have, he’s their closer.
Fantasy: OK closer to have or to trade for.
NEW YORK METS
Closer: Edwin Diaz
Real Life: Good though overrated closer that’s going nowhere.
Fantasy: Don’t bother trading for him as he’ll be overvalued, but if you have him then he’s a good closer to have.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Closer: Jordan Hicks
Real Life: His days as a closer might be numbered as he’s been bad lately. St. Louis has last year’s closer Carlos Martinez ready to take over if he continues to struggle.
Fantasy: Stash Martinez if you still can and either try to trade Hicks for a stable closer if you have him, or don’t trade for him if you don’t.
Closer: Felipe Vazquez
Real Life: A contender for best closer in the game.
Fantasy: See Chapman.
Closer: Josh Hader
Real Life: They seemed to have preferred Hader in a multi-inning role, but now it seems as if he’s entrenched as their closer.
Fantasy: Either you have him or you’d like to have him.
Closer: Raisel Iglesias
Real Life: He’s a bit shaky but seems to have a long leash. For now at least he’s entrenched at the position.
Fantasy: I wouldn’t trade for him, but it may be difficult to get a stable closer that’s worth trading him for in return.
Closer: Craig Kimbrel
Real Life: He’s one of the best closers in the game.
Fantasy: If you stashed him then you lucked out, if not it’s probably too late to trade for him without overpaying.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Closer: Kenley Jansen
Real Life: He’s shaky and in decline, but they have no one better and will stick with him going forward unless he completely implodes, which is unlikely.
Fantasy: Consider trading him for someone like Roberto Osuna or Aroldis Chapman. Don’t trade for him.
Closer: Greg Holland
Real Life: He bounced back, now it’s a matter of whether Arizona sells or buys at the trading deadline. If the former, then they’ll go with a committee after trading him.
Fantasy: He might actually be a closer on a new team if traded. He’s a good value at the position.
Closer: Wade Davis
Real Life: On the IL with a non-serious injury. He’s good and is paid a lot, so is going nowhere.
Fantasy: Good closer to have.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Closer: Will Smith
Real Life: He’s getting traded in the next few weeks and is unlikely to be a closer on his new team. Mark Melancon will likely take over as the new closer after the trade.
Fantasy: Trade him for a stable closer ASAP and don’t trade for him if you don’t have him.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Closer: Kirby Yates
Real Life: They have one of the best closers in the game.
Fantasy: See Chapman.