Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Fantasy Relief: The trade market for closers

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
  •  

Doesn't it seem like the closer market this season is mirroring that of the stock market? It seems like there is so much unpredictability with closers that the day-to-day fluctuation is reminiscent of how fragile our economy is at the hint of bad news.

I only drudge up that comparison because we are about a month away from the July 31 trade deadline and the chaos we have seen with bullpen situations isn't likely to slow down.

Don't Just Play, Play to Win!
Fantasy Baseball Today Be sure to catch Fantasy Baseball 360 LIVE at 5 p.m. ET every weekday to dominate your Fantasy leagues. Our writers will have the latest news, analysis and roster trends each afternoon.
Fantasy Baseball TodayCheck out the latest episode!

Long relievers, specialists, setup men and closers are all potential trade targets this summer, so in the spirit of the upcoming trade frenzy, we'll highlight some relievers that might have new address this summer and once again leave Fantasy owners dashing to waivers trying to chase saves.

Brett Myers, Astros: Myers' contract is arguably going to be the Astros' biggest hindrance in dealing him. Myers has a $10 million vesting option for the 2013 season, which includes a $3 million buyout. It's a similar situation to what the Mets had to deal with last summer in trying to trade Francisco Rodriguez. New York eventually unloaded K-Rod to Milwaukee and he restructured his contract, which could be an option for a team looking to add Myers. But K-Rod didn't finish the year as a closer and Myers might be facing a similar fate. If dealt, Houston could turn the closer's role back over to Brandon Lyon, who is striking out 9.0 batters per nine innings and sports a 2.79 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Wilton Lopez, who has closer experience in the minors, could be a darkhorse candidate, but he's on the disabled list with an elbow injury and there's no timetable for his return.

Jonathan Broxton, Royals: Kansas City continues to evaluate Broxton's worth to the ballclub. He's been spectacular as a fill-in closer for the injured Joakim Soria, who is out for the season following elbow surgery. However, Broxton is only in town on a one-year deal and Soria is due back next season. Unless the team has doubts about Soria's recovery or if youngsters like Greg Holland or Aaron Crow can't handle the closer's role the rest of the year, then it seems like Broxton has a better chance of being traded than landing a contract extension. A perfect landing spot for Broxton could be with the Mets, who need to upgrade their bullpen and have an unstable closer in Frank Francisco, who is now on the disabled list with an oblique injury.

Huston Street, Padres: Street is headed for free agency and the Padres are going nowhere fast. The Padres gambled last season by not trading closer Heath Bell, who left for Miami in free agency. The Padres received a supplemental first-round pick in this year's draft as compensation for losing Bell, but could get a better haul if they trade Street, who has a $9 million mutual option for 2013 with a relatively cheap buyout of $500,000. Street has his durability issues, but he's an effective closer when healthy. Street could be an attractive option for teams like the Reds, Red Sox, Giants, Blue Jays and Orioles. If dealt, the Padres would probably turn the closer's role back over to Dale Thayer, who filled in admirably earlier this season when Street was on the disabled list.

J.J. Putz, Diamondbacks: This is a long-shot scenario since Arizona is in contention, but July is going to be a key month for them. If they slip further out of contention before the trade deadline, then Putz might be put in play, especially since Arizona just locked up setup man David Hernandez with a two-year contract. Putz has a $6.5 million team option for 2013 with a $1.5 million buyout. Putz has been a closer and setup man in his career, so he could be a nice addition to any contender's bullpen. He doesn't necessarily have to close games.

Carlos Marmol, Cubs: It's been rumored that Cubs are willing to listen to trade offers on pretty much their entire roster. I'm going to speculate that might have played a part in manager Dale Sveum rushing Carlos Marmol back into the closer's role. The erratic reliever certainly would have more value as a closer than just another bullpen arm. Marmol still has electric stuff, but he's probably too unreliable to land a role as a closer on a contender. He still could be a nice addition as a setup man and backup closer, but you have to figure a trade would be bad for Marmol's Fantasy value. Surprisingly, Fantasy owners will probably want Marmol to stay put because at least we know he is the Cubs' closer and will see regular save chances. If Marmol is traded, then Sveum will likely go back to using James Russell and Shawn Camp in a co-closer situation.

Matt Capps, Twins: Capps' shoulder injury has clearly dimmed the hopes of Minnesota potentially trading him. Capps has a $6 million team option for 2013 and a fairly cheap $250,000 buyout. Unless the Twins feel he is their long-term closer, then Capps could be a nice veteran arm for any contender's bullpen, especially since it wouldn't cost them much to part ways with Capps in the offseason. But much like Marmol, Capps would probably have more Fantasy value if he stays put. The Twins are currently using the tandem of Glen Perkins and Jared Burton as closers with Capps sidelined. If a Capps trade forces Minnesota to pick a closer, my gut tells me the Twins would give Burton, who has closer's experience in the minors, the nod over Perkins, who might be more valuable as a left-handed setup reliever.

Top non-closers Week 12 (H2H)
Player Points
1. Dallas Keuchel, RP, Astros 30.5
2. Charlie Furbush, RP, Mariners 28
3. Brad Lincoln, RP, Pirates 27.5
4. Michael Fiers, RP, Brewers 26.5
5. Chris Sale, RP, White Sox 25.5
6. Jose Quintana, RP, White Sox 23
7. Franklin Morales, RP, Red Sox 22
8. Darren Oliver, RP, Blue Jays 22
9. Scott Feldman, RP, Rangers 21.5
10. Jared Burton, RP, Twins 21.5

Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers: It's too early to count out the Brewers, but if the tide doesn't turn in July, then they could become sellers at the deadline. K-Rod would then be a very attractive option because of an expiring contract. And while he hasn't been a full-time closer for nearly a year that doesn't mean a contender wouldn't toy with the idea of using K-Rod in a closer's role. It's doubtful the Mets would kick the tires on Rodriguez again, but Toronto has been known to load up on relievers and K-Rod could bring some stability to the back-end of the bullpen with Sergio Santos' return date unknown. It seems more likely, however, that K-Rod would end up in the bullpen of a top contender like the Yankees, Red Sox or Reds to bolster their depth for the stretch run.

Brandon League, Mariners: Don't be surprised if League is one of the most-sought after relievers in July. He is set to become a free agent and the Mariners now have a stable closer in Tom Wilhelmsen. Seattle is building toward the future anyway, so getting some value for League before he tests the free-agent market seems likely. League's experience as a closer will also play big. Teams like the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Red Sox and Yankees could all be players for a quality arm like League.

Grant Balfour, A's: I'd be shocked if Balfour finishes the year in Oakland. He has a $4.5 million team option for 2013 ($350,000 buyout) and was unhappy when he was removed from the closer's role. Ever since his last save, Balfour has posted a 1.59 ERA with seven holds in his last 21 appearances (22 2/3 innings). You know Oakland general manager Billy Beane likes stocking up on prospects. Balfour might be one of the more valuable relievers available in a trade, so it could net Oakland a good haul. Balfour could get the chance to close games again, but he would have to end up in an ideal situation, which would be a contending team with an unstable bullpen like the Mets. Or if a closer on a contender gets hurt then players like Balfour, League, K-Rod and Capps could be cheap options to close.

Closing Time

Each week we'll break down closer situations worthy of further examination ...

N.Y. Mets: Mets manager Terry Collins is turning the closer's role over to Bobby Parnell while Frank Francisco is on the mend from an oblique injury. Collins tried using Parnell in the closer's role late last season, but the results were disastrous. However, Collins chose Parnell over Jon Rauch this time because he said Parnell's "confidence is much better." Parnell believes he will be much more effective this time around because he is not just a hard thrower anymore. Parnell has dialed back the velocity on his fastball, so he could emphasize pitching lower in the strike zone. Last season, he averaged 96.7 mph on his four-seam fastball and 96.4 mph on his two-seamer, which are his two most-used pitches, according to PitchFX data compiled by TexasLeaguers.com. He had a 7.8 percent whiff rate on his four-seamer and a 9.2 percent whiff rate on his two-seamer. This year, Parnell is averaging 95.6 mph on his four-seamer and 95.4 on his two-seamer. His whiff rate has increased to 9.5 percent on the four-seamer and 12.0 percent on the two-seamer. Parnell could certainly be used as a stopgap option for saves in deep formats.

Top non-closers Week 12 (Rotisserie)
Player Rank
1. Charlie Furbush, RP, Mariners 10
2. Darren Oliver, RP, Blue Jays 17
3. Jared Burton, RP, Twins 44
4. Clay Rapada, RP, Yankees 45
5. Jim Miller, RP, A's 52
6. Boone Logan, RP, Yankees 57
7. Rex Brothers, RP, Rockies 59
8. Pedro Strop, RP, Orioles 62
9. Brandon Gomes, RP, Rays 63
10. Craig Breslow, RP, Diamondbacks 69

Washington: Nationals manager Davey Johnson dropped a bomb on everyone this past weekend when he said if Tyler Clippard continues at his current pace he will retain the closer's role once Drew Storen (elbow surgery) comes off the disabled list in July. One thing we have learned about the Nationals' closer situation this season is that it has been one of the most unsettled in the majors. I think Clippard would keep the closer's role had he been on a team without a proven closer on the roster. I feel Storen will eventually be back in that role at some point this summer. Two numbers that really concern me with Clippard are his line-drive and first-pitch strike rates. Clippard's line-drive rate is 7.2 percent, which is well below his career average (14.6) and well below the norm. His first-pitch strike percent is 63.3, which is well above his career rate (56.3). I don't think Clippard is going to self-destruct, but Storen is Washington's long-term closer and shouldn't lose his job because of injury.

Cincinnati: Aroldis Chapman is showing he is human. The hard-throwing lefty was 0-4 with three blown saves and an 11.37 ERA in his last seven outings (6 1/3 innings) prior to Tuesday's save. Chapman has been battling some back issues, but skipper Dusty Baker said that's not the reason for his struggles. He said Chapman needs to throw more breaking pitches. According to data compiled by TexasLeaguers.com, Baker is right. During his recent seven-outing slide, Chapman has thrown 123 fastballs and just 24 offspeed pitches. When Chapman posted a 0.00 ERA through his first 24 outings, he threw fastballs just 75.6 percent of the time, which is well below the 84.8 percent rate he had during his seven-game slide. If the Reds make a change at closer, I think they will do it via a trade and not put Sean Marshall back in that role.

St. Louis: Jason Motte hasn't exactly been a model reliever the last month, posting a 0-2 record and 4.86 ERA in his last 14 outings (16 2/3 innings). However, he has just one blown save in that span, so I think the hot seat in St. Louis is lukewarm. I still believe St. Louis might look to upgrade its bullpen as the trade deadline nears, but I don't feel any internal candidates are a major threat to Motte at this time.

San Francisco: Sadly, I don't have the same confidence in Giants' closer Santiago Casilla. He had a 27.00 ERA and one blown save in his previous three appearances (5 ER in 1 2/3 innings) prior to Tuesday's save against the Dodgers. The Giants have plenty of internal options for manager Bruce Bochy to make a change, with Sergio Romo being the leading candidate. Also, general manager Brian Sabean has shown in the past to be aggressive at the trade deadline, so if the team isn't confident in Casilla for the stretch run, then they could be in the market for a closer before the July 31 trade deadline.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us on Twitter @CBSFantasyBB or Michael Hurcomb at @CBSHurc . You can also send our staff an e-mail at fantasybaseball@cbsinteractive.com

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Collin Cowgill set to start rehab Friday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:26 pm ET) Angels outfielder Collin Cowgill will begin his minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake Friday, the team announced.

Cowgill, who underwent surgery to repair a broken nose less than two weeks ago, was expected to miss four-to-five weeks as a result of the injury. At this point, it is not yet clear how long he will require on his assignment, though he has already been out nearly three weeks. 


A.J. Pollock begins rehab assignment
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock began his minor-league rehab assignment for the team's rookie-league affiliate in Arizona Thursday, as he works his way back from a broken right hand.

Pollock went hitless in two trips to the plate, though he was able to shake off a hit-by-pitch after popping up in his first at-bat. Pollock has not played since May 31 due to the injury, and could need a fairly extensive rehab assignment before he can return to the majors.


Robbie Erlin begins rookie-level rehab assignment
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:06 pm ET) Padres pitcher Robbie Erlin began his minor-league rehab assignment last Sunday by throwing two scoreless innings with the team's Arizona League affiliate.

Erlin, who is working his way back from an elbow injury, struck out five batters over his two innings, while allowing one hit. It is not clear what his next step is as he recovers from the injury that has kept him out since May 22. 


Braves set to DFA Jordan Schafer
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:00 pm ET) Though the team has not officially announced it, the Braves are expected to clear two spots on the active roster by optioning pitcher Chasen Shreve to Triple-A Gwinnett and designating outfielder Jordan Schafer for assignment, MLB.com reports.

Schafer has appeared in 63 games for the Braves this season, almost exclusively as a reserve. He is hitting just .163/.256/.213 in 80 at-bats overall.  


Giants release Jose De Paula
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:58 pm ET) The Giants released pitcher Jose De Paula Friday, a week after he was designated for assignment.

De Paula had a 4.21 ERA as a 26-year-old with the team's Triple-A Fresno affiliate this season.  


Jarred Cosart making Marlins debut Friday
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:55 pm ET) Newly acquired pitcher Jarred Cosart will make his debut with the Marlins Friday, with his first start coming against the Reds. 

Cosart had a 4.41 ERA in 116 1/3 innings with the Astros before the Marlins acquired him Thursday.  


Asdrubal Cabrera not destined to help Nationals appreciably
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:55 pm ET) The two years that have passed since Asdrubal Cabrera was a premier offensive force as a middle infielder and the five years that have gone by since he played second base all but precludes him from making a major positive impact with the Nationals.

Cabrera slipped into mediocrity at the plate after earning his second All-Star Game appearance in 2012 and has stayed there. His plate discipline disappeared in a spate of overaggressiveness, causing his strikeouts to rise to alarming levels. He frustrated the Indians in recent years with his inability to hit in the clutch - he's batting .188 with runners in scoring position and is hitless in 13 at-bats with a runner on third and two outs this season.

More disturbing has been his defensive collapse. Cabrera wowed the Indians early in his career with acrobatic, dependable work at shortstop that overshadowed mediocre range. He is now among the worst middle infielders in the sport with 14 errors that was until recently the most at his position in the American League and arguably the worst range in the league. That problem will not be any less pronounced with a move to second base, where he is expected to spend most of his time in Washington.

Cabrera will be seeking to maximize his value in free agency in the offseason. He will command $10 million a year or more if he somehow reverts to the form that made him an all-star. Too much time has passed for that to be a realistic possibility.


Brad Peacock returning to rotation after trade
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:52 pm ET) The Astros will add pitcher Brad Peacock back to the rotation during the next turn according to the Houston Chronicle, after the trade of Jarred Cosart Thursday opened a spot.

Peacock was sent down last week following Collin McHugh's return from the disabled list. He could slot into the rotation Wednesday against the Phillies, though that has not been confirmed yet. 


Value hard to find among Red Sox rotation candidates
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) The Red Sox have decided to go all-in on next season, turning the rotation over to a slew of young guys after the trades of Jon Lester and John Lackey prior to the deadline. With so many innings up for grabs, Fantasy owners will want to keep a close eye on how things shake out, especially given the team's abundance of seemingly capable young starters.

Among the group of pitchers expected to get a shot at some point down the stretch are Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman and Joe Kelly. The latter four all have at least some major-league experience, though Ranaudo will get at least a taste of the majors when he debuts Friday against the Yankees. Of these five pitchers, who, if anyone, should Fantasy owners have their eyes on?

For now, it looks like De La Rosa, Ranaudo, Webster, Workman and Clay Buchholz have the next five spots in the rotation locked up, though a spot might open up for Kelly at some point once he reports to the team. De La Rosa, Buchholz and Kelly all have some measure of major-league success under their belts, though none profiles as a high-upside Fantasy option, given their middling track records so far. If upside is to be found, it is likely to come in the form of one of the other options. 

Webster has the best prospect pedigree among the group, and he and Ranaudo probably have the highest ceilings for now. Of course, the obvious caveats about young pitching apply. Though their upside is tantalizing, we simply don't have any record of success at the major-league level to depend on.

The Red Sox don't have a lot of sure things for their long-term rotation, and they will need to use these last few months get an idea of who they can count on next season. The question for Fantasy owners is whether they want their roster to be the team's laboratory during the most important months of the season. 

The young guys in Boston will all get their turns, but there isn't anyone in the rotation right now that screams "must-add," either due to a lack of upside or proven track record. AL-only owners might be smart to take a flier on anyone currently in the team's rotation, but it doesn't look like anyone here is worth consideration in mixed-leagues at this time. 


Jon Lester set to start Saturday against Royals
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:31 pm ET) What was speculated has been confirmed - newly acquired left-hander Jon Lester will make his Athletics debut Saturday against Kansas City.

Lester will seek to maintain the momentum gained with Boston. He has surrendered two or fewer runs in each of his last eight starts and will now pitch his home games in a far more friendly park for hurlers.


 
 
 
Rankings