FANTASY BASEBALL: CLOSER OUTLOOK FOR THE TRADE DEADLINE
The trading deadline is fast approaching and it’s time to analyze the closer situation. It’s simple, This is the time of the season when bad teams trade their closers and someone new takes over. The time when you have to stash relievers who are about to become closers and trade closers who are about to become regular relievers on their new teams. This article is best for redraft standard category leagues.
NEW YORK YANKEES
Aroldis Chapman has struggled lately and now has a 4.55 ERA for the season. On the bright side, he has an elite track record and a 2.95 xFIP. I’ll bet on the track record, he’ll bounce back. The Bronx Bonbers also won’t trade him due to their refusal to rebuild and his contract. In the meantime, he’s a good trade candidate as some owners are panicking.
BOSTON RED SOX
Matt Barnes is one of the best closers in the game and they just extended him, as they compete for the division. If you don’t already have him on your team then good luck acquiring him.
TAMPA BAY RAYS
They don’t really use one reliever as a closer and their current preferred option Diego Castillo is taken in every league. I would just stay away from them unless you have Castillo. If you do then try to trade him for a more consistently used closer.
They’re using a committee and are pretty bad this season. It’s anyone’s guess which of their relievers get traded and which will stay. Your best bet is to avoid them altogether.
TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Jordan Romano has done a decent job this season, but they’re buyers and are looking for bullpen help. It wouldn’t surprise me if they replaced him with a more proven option. There’s also the likely better Julian Merryweather on the IL. Merryweather was their closer before his injury, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s back in the mix barring a trade for someone else. If you can trade Romano for a more stable option, that would be perfect. It also makes sense to stash Merryweather if you have room, that is if he’s on your league’s waiver wire in the first place.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Liam Hendriks is an elite closer and they’re a contending team. That pretty much sums it up. It’s great if you have him and good luck trading for him if you don’t.
Hansel Robles is back to being his old self, which means that he’s getting traded and isn’t going to be a closer on his new team. You should trade him ASAP and if you can’t then drop him for a reliever that you can stash. Taylor Rogers is next in line, but already owned in most leagues. You can try trading for him in yours. There’s a chance he gets traded too however and despite his advanced metrics, who knows if he’ll be a closer on his new team. If they’re both trades, Minnesota will likely do a Committee.
We don’t know yet if they’ll be buyers or sellers, but it’s unlikely that they’ll rebuild and trade Emmanuel Clase or James Karinchak. You’re safe if you have either one, but try to trade them for a more stable closing option.
Jose Cisnero is breaking out and may have the hold on their closing job. That said, it seemed that they really wanted Michael Fulmer in that role. Fulmer is injured but is coming back before the deadline, to potentially get traded as he’s a free agent after next season and contenders always need bullpen help. Could Cisnero be traded as well? He’s not even arbitration eligible yet but the rumor is that he might be on the move. There’s also Gregory Soto. What is there to do? They’re going to be sellers, so it’s more about projecting who they won’t trade and who is better. Cisnero has been the best of the three (3.03 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 3.58 xFIP), but he also has a high 3.49 BB/9 rate. He’s also a free agent in two years, so Detroit may want to cash-in now. Fulmer hasn’t been impressive (4.05 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 3.80 xFIP) but he used to be a top prospect, so I can see Detroit not trading him unless he pitches well after coming off of the IL. If he’s traded, he won’t be a closer on his new team and most likely neither will Cisnero. Soto can’t be trusted (2.78 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 4.01 xFIP 5.30 BB/9) but is the likeliest closer in Detroit rest of season. I recommend avoiding them altogether and being ready to replace Cisnero on the waiver wire if you have him.
KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Despite his recent struggles, Scott Barlow is the best reliever in that bullpen and isn’t getting traded, as they plan to compete next season and he doesn’t hit free agency any time soon. I wouldn’t trade for him, but definitely scoop him up off of the waiver wire if you haven’t already.
Lou Trivino is walking on eggshells (1.88 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 4.26 xFIP, 4.19 BB/9). He’s going to crash and once he does he’s done as their closer. Trade him if you have him, as you won’t have a better time to do so. Jake Diekman is next in line (3.34 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 4.21 xFIP) but he doesn’t inspire much confidence either. I fully expect them to acquire a new closer by the end of the month as they’ll be buyers.
Like Cleveland, they Van really go either way when it comes to being buyers or sellers. Kendall Graveman had been phenomenal this season, but is a free agent after, so it’s likely that they’ll trade him, even if they intend to compete for a playoff spot. Set-up man Paul Sewald is s big reason why. They fixed his mechanics and he’s now dominating with a 1.40 ERA (1.03 FIP, 2.48 xFIP) and a 15.43 K/9 rate. I wouldn’t be surprised if they traded Graveman for prospects and handed over the closing reigns to Sewald. I could see Graveman closing elsewhere, but trading him for a more stable option makes sense. Stashing Sewald makes sense as well, as he‘ll help your ratios in the meantime.
I expect them to stick with Ryan Pressly, who is having an amazing season. See what I wrote about the Chicago White Sox.
Ian Kennedy has been great despite his advanced metrics (2.67 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 3.90 xFIP). He’s a lock to be traded and when he does he might not last as a closer. Trade him if you have him. Unfortunately their bullpen is so bad, that there’s no one really to stash. Joely Rodriguez has underperformed (5.84 ERA, 3.54 FIP, 2.74 xFIP) but has upside down stash him at your own risk.
LOS ANGELES ANGELS
Everything depends on whether they buy or sell. If they sell, then Raisel Iglesias is getting traded and closing elsewhere. In that case, they’ll have a committee as no one stands out in their weak bullpen.
I expect them to sell but plan to contend next season. This means that Will Smith isn’t going anywhere.
They’re going to be sellers, so Yimi Garcia, who is hitting free agency at the end of the season and who is overachieving (3.44 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 4.14 xFIP) is going to be traded to a contender and is no longer going to be a closer. It’s time to drop him for someone better. Anthony Bender is likely to take over so stash him if you can.
If they sell, then hopefully you grabbed Ranger Suarez, as he might actually remain their closer for the rest of the season. If they buy, they will likely acquire a new closer and you’ll have to drop him.
Brad Hand is doing a decent job and they’re buyers, so nothing to see here. Even if they’re out of playoff contention, they don’t typically sell so it’s unlikely that he gets moved. If you already have him then great, if not the price will likely be too high.
NEW YORK METS
Edwin Diaz is one of the best closers around so see what I wrote about Houston.
They’re buyers and they have the best closer in the game in Josh Hader. What I said about Houston applies here too.
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Alex Reyes has a 6.97 BB/9 and a 4.42 xFIP, but somehow keeps overachieving due to an 11.76 K/9. Try to trade him for an upgrade. They’ll stand pat and there’s no one to stash.
Their bullpen is one of the worst in the game and who knows if they’ll buy and get a new closer, or sell. Heath Hembree will fall apart so if you haven’t picked him up, just avoid them altogether.
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Kenley Jansen is doing a great job and has been a mainstay for years, so they’ll stick with him and so should you. There’s a slight chance they’ll upgrade at closer though just in case.
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Logic says that they’ll trade Daniel Bard and you’ll have to drop him, as he won’t be a closer anymore, but this is Colorado so wait and see.
SAN DIEGO PADRES
Mark Melancon has been great, but there’s a slight chance that they’ll acquire a new closer. There’s also his 4.15 FIP and 3.68 xFIP accompanied by a 7.22 K/9 rate. Shop Melancon around but don’t sell low.
Get ready to drop Joakim Soria, who won’t be a closer after he’s traded and don’t bother stashing anyone from this horrible team.