Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
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
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
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
 
 
 

Bullpen Report: What's your closer worth?

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

So far this season, we've ranked closers, identified their backups, taken a deeper look at holds and invented the term "SPARP." But now we're in June and owners are starting to get roused from their sedentary states of not panicking and holding off on moves. It's probably a good time to look at the trade value for closers.

Because trading is an inexact science -- different sized leagues, varied scoring rules, homers who only want the closer from their favorite team -- it's a near-impossible task to undertake in a column. But I'm trying anyway. Here's the scenario: you just received a message board post from an other owner in your league, you have an extra closer and you're looking to make a deal. Before we start, I'm going to lay down a few ideas to keep in mind while reading along:

1. Think of these trades taking place in a league where every closer should be owned, along with a few backups. In other words, we're living in a world where Steve Cishek is on someone's roster.
2. The "who you should aim for" suggestion is a player you probably won't get in the trade, but is within the range of possibility. He's good enough to make the trade tilt in your favor, but not so far ahead of the closer that the other owner will never speak to you again.
3. I tried to throw the closers in groupings, just to get more in there. They aren't precise, perfect matches, but they do share similar characteristics that make them about equal on the trade market.

Enough with the preamble. On to the Closer Trade Matrix!

Closers: Aroldis Chapman, Reds; Craig Kimbrel, Braves
Characteristics shared: Top-tier, dominant young closers with a ton of strikeout potential.
Who you should aim for: Jacoby Ellsbury, OF, Red Sox; Adrian Beltre, 3B, Rangers; Jose Reyes, SS, Blue Jays
Who you should realistically expect: Domonic Brown, Of, Phillies; Ryan Zimmerman, 3B, Nationals; Ian Desmond, SS, Nationals

It's actually tougher to ascertain value for the top-tier closers, because you don't know how high to aim. But I think dangling one of the game's top closers for Ellsbury could at least get you a downgrade to Brown, who may eventually stop his power barrage and start adding steals and average.

Closers: Joe Nathan, Rangers; Mariano Rivera, Yankees; Sergio Romo, Giants
Characteristics shared: Awesome closers who you can depend on throughout the season.
Who you should aim for: Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Red Sox; Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Dodgers; Mike Napoli, C, Red Sox
Who you should realistically expect: Jose Altuve, 2B, Astros; Billy Butler, 1B, Royals; Yadier Molina, C, Cardinals

Nathan, Rivera and Romo may have carved out their own little niche as "1a" -- just below Chapman and Kimbrel, but still a level above the rest of the crowd. The Pedroia owner may balk at trading a top second baseman to fill a need at a position that can be had for a few FAAB dollars or timely waiver claims (just rotating in the Luke Gregersons and Vinnie Pestanos of the world), but these three are as solid as closers come, and having the comfort of a Mariano Rivera might be worth dropping down a level to someone like Jose Altuve for an owner in need of saves.

Closers: Jason Grilli, Pirates; Tom Wilhelmsen, Mariners
Characteristics shared: A couple closers who came out of nowhere and have produced in a big way for their owners.
Who you should aim for: Adam Jones, OF, Orioles; James Shields, SP, KC; Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX
Who you should realistically expect: Wil Myers, OF, Rays; Doug Fister, SP, Tigers; Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies

I can't see anyone giving up Adam Jones for Tom Wilhelmsen, but if the idea is argued correctly, you might be able to at least make a case for Wilhelmsen's usefulness to the point where a counter of Wil Myers (likely from a team already enjoying a stacked outfield without room for Myers) could come back your way. Wilhelmsen and Grilli don't have a very long track record, but their potential is through the roof and there's no reason -- other than not having that long track record -- to not believe in them keeping this up.

Closers: Huston Street, Padres; Rafael Betancourt, Rockies
Characteristics shared: Injured closers who are expected to return relatively soon.
Who you should aim for: Aaron Hill, 2B, Diamondbacks; Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies; Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
Who you should realistically expect: Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves; Justin Morneau, 1B, Twins; Leonys Martin, OF, Rangers

It's always tricky to work injured players into a deal. In this case, with Street and Betancourt, you have to be dealing with an owner either desperate for saves or looking to buy low on closers. This one is all about perception. Both pitchers have 11 saves and both will most likely go back to being closers when they return from their injuries. Hill is a bit of a reach, but enough owners are down on Howard and Soriano for these proposals to be made. And the counters that could come back make plenty of sense, especially in deeper Roto formats where some teams roster three closers, making saves even more scarce.

Most Added Relievers (as of 6/7)
Player % change
1. Luke Gregerson, RP, Padres 25
2. Rex Brothers, RP, Rockies 18
3. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Brewers 15
4. Jose Veras, RP, Astros 9
5. Bobby Parnell, RP, Mets 5
6. Justin Wilson, RP, Pirates 4
7. Grant Balfour, RP, Athletics 4
8. Hector Ambriz, RP, Astros 3
9. Fernando Rodney, RP, Rays 3
10. Casey Janssen, RP, Blue Jays 2

Closer: Chris Perez, Indians
Characteristics: An injured closer who may be facing some legal troubles.
Who you should aim for: Jonathan Lucroy, C, Brewers; Nick Swisher, OF, Indians; Alejandro De Aza, OF, White Sox
Who you should realistically expect: Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies; Adam Eaton, OF, Diamondbacks; Josh Reddick, OF, OAK

Perez is in a league of his own right now as he battles a re-aggravation of a shoulder injury he had in spring training while facing some legal problems, too. Making matters worse: Perez only has six saves on the season (one more than Steve Cishek). There's probably not much a Perez owner can do right now, outside of convincing a fellow owner that he's worth something. Snagging Swisher would be a dream, but settling on Eaton, who could need Tommy John or could be back by mid-July stealing bases and hitting for average, makes for a decent swapping of risky players.

Closers: Jim Johnson, Orioles; Addison Reed, White Sox; Grant Balfour, Athletics; Glen Perkins, Twins
Characteristics shared: Underrated closers who, despite recent success, still are not being fully bought into.
Who you should aim for: Jordan Zimmermann, SP, Nationals; Matt Carpenter, 2B, Cardinals; Jedd Gyorko, 2B, Padres
Who you should realistically expect: Yovani Gallardo, SP, Brewers; Kyle Seager, 3B, Mariners; Neil Walker, 2B, Pirates

Seager-for-Balfour was an actual trade made in one of our many Fantasy leagues at the office. It's pretty fair, considering what each team needed. I'm not sure if the original offer was for Carpenter, but I could see trade talks starting there and then settling on Seager.

Closers: Heath Bell, Diamondbacks; Edward Mujica, Cardinals; Jose Valverde, Tigers; Kevin Gregg, Cubs
Characteristics shared: Closers picked up off the waiver wire this season who show no signs of going away anytime soon.
Who you should aim for: Andrelton Simmons, SS, Braves; Brett Lawrie, 3B, Blue Jays; Hunter Pence, OF, Giants
Who you should realistically expect: Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox; Anthony Rendon, 2B, Nationals; Brett Gardner, OF, Yankees

There's a fair amount of pushing pride aside when looking at this group -- is the other owner really going to trade a player he drafted for someone scooped up off he waiver wire? If he needs saves, then absolutely. Bell, Valverde, Gregg and Mujica are pretty much locked into their jobs right now, with only Bell really in some kind of danger of being usurped (by J.J. Putz, who hasn't even thrown off a mound yet). Factor in the damaged pride and a swap of Valverde for Stephen Drew seems like an even swap, especially if you believe in Drew's .324 average and 1.040 OPS over his last 11 games.

Closers: Brandon League and Kenley Jansen, Dodgers
Characteristics shared: They both pitch for the Dodgers
Who you should aim for: Dan Uggla, 2B, Braves; Eric Hosmer, 1B, Royals; Tim Lincecum, SP, Giants
Who you should realistically expect: Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers; Paul Konerko, 1B, White Sox; Andy Pettitte, SP, Yankees

I'm actually a little reluctant to even include this duo here because their values are almost wholly reliant on the opinion of your trading partner. You could offer Jansen and get one of two very different reactions: Awesome, he's going to be the closer soon! or Why would I want this guy, he's not even the closer? And it's similar with League. So this is almost a stab in the dark as far as value. In fact, if you can package both in a deal, I would maybe bump them up to the "closers picked up off the wire" category, as it helps to have both pitchers in the saves mix, but trading them requires your partner to dedicate an extra roster spot to the backup.

Closers: Bobby Parnell, Mets; Jose Veras, Astros
Characteristics shared: Good closers on bad teams.
Who you should aim for: Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox; Michael Morse, OF, Mariners; Jose Fernandez, SP, Marlis
Who you should realistically expect: Zack Cozart, SS, Reds; Andre Ethier, OF, Dodgers; Mike Leake, SP, Reds

There's a decent history of good closers on bad teams getting saves. And I suppose the staus of Veras being "good" is subjective -- I happen to like his low WHIP and high K/9 (believing the ERA will eventually come down) and I would guess most people don't realize he already has 11 saves in 2013. And that's where his value comes in -- not in the ratios, but in the fact that he is going to get saves and doesn't have any ready-made replacement on the Houston roster. Getting a fallen star like Andre Ethier back for Veras might have seemed silly two months ago, but it ends up being a deal where you can present it to a third party, they'd say "I'd absolutely do that deal," and you're not sure which side they're referring to as the winner.

Closer: Steve Cishek, Marlins
Characteristic: Decent closer on a very bad team.
Who you should aim for: Denard Span, OF, Nationals; Mark Reynolds, 3B, Indians; Dan Straily, SP, Athletics
Who you should realistically expect: Drew Stubbs, OF, Indians; Nolan Arenado, 3B, Rockies; Trevor Bauer, SP, Indians

Steve Cishek has five saves, a 4.50 ERA and 1.38 WHIP over 24 innings this year. His 7.9 K/9 stands in stark contrast to his 9.4 from the previous two years. I'm not sure he has much to offer outside of being the closer for the Marlins -- and, as of a couple weeks ago, his hold on that title was tenuous -- at best. He hasn't recorded a save since May 10 and the team is going nowhere fast. Still, a desperate owner is a desperate owner, and if you come across someone in grave need of saves you may be able to get something back for a closer who has basically been dormant for a month.

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

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Ryan Zimmerman could be bench player for Nationals in NLDS
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:39 pm ET) Nationals manager Matt Williams did his best Thursday to avoid questions about Ryan Zimmerman's playing status for the NLDS against the Giants. Williams did say there is "possibility for matchups" for Zimmerman, who missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury.

Though, Zimmerman did not play third base in the team's intrasquad game Wednesday, which could be evidence Zimmerman will be coming off the bench in the NLDS, according to The Washington Post.


Nationals might leave Rafael Soriano off NLDS roster?
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) Nationals manager Matt Williams declined to talk Thursday about the postseason roster status of reliever Rafael Soriano, who was replaced as the team's closer in early September by Drew Storen.

"We'll determine the final roster when we get out of this workout," Williams said, per The Washington Post.


Nationals tab Stephen Strasburg to start NLDS opener vs. Giants
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:14 pm ET) Nationals manager Matt Williams announced Thursday starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg will start the NLDS opener against the Giants. Jordan Zimmermann will start the second game and Doug Fister will start the third game.

Duquette: If O's advance, 'possibility' Chris Davis added to roster
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:43 am ET) If Orioles advance to the AL Championship Series, executive vice president Dan Duquette said it is a "possibility" the team keeps a roster spot open for infielder Chris Davis, who is serving a 25-game suspension for testing positive for amphetamines, according to MASNsports.com.

Starling Marte picks up a hit Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:26 am ET) Pirates outfielder Starling Marte collected one of the few hits for his club Wednesday against the Giants. 

Marte finished 1 for 4, singling in the seventh inning. He was one of three Pirates to notch a hit against Madison Bumgarner during the contest. Bumgarner gave up just four hits during a complete game shutout. Marte also struck out once and stranded two runners. 


Tim Hudson to start Game 2 of NLDS
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:25 am ET) Giants pitcher Tim Hudson has been tabbed to face the Nationals Saturday in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Hudson has delivered an ERA under 4.00 for eight straight seasons, but he was rocked this September, going 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA and 14:5 K:BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings over five starts. Hudson has pitched in six postseason series (four with Oakland, two with Atlanta), finding himself on the losing side each time. He owns a 3.46 ERA postseason ERA in 54 2/3 innings. Hudson faced the Nationals twice during the regular season, earning a win each time.


Jake Peavy to start Game 1 of NLDS vs. Nationals
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:19 am ET) Giants pitcher Jake Peavy will take the mound for Game 1 of the National League Division Series in Washington against the Nationals Friday.

Peavy excelled after returning to the NL West this summer, going 6-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 58:17 K:BB ratio in 78 2/3 innings over 12 starts. Prior to joining the Giants, he delivered a 4.48 ERA in 30 starts with the Red Sox after posting a 4.00 ERA in 84 games (83 starts) with the White Sox. He's posted a 3.77 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and 14:3 K:BB ratio in 14 1/3 innings in two starts at Nationals Park.


Report: Justin Smoak likely to hit free agency this offseason
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:06 am ET) Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak will likely reach free agency this offseason, as the team is expected to pay the $150,000 buyout of his 2015 option, the Seattle Times reports.

Smoak has a $3.65-million club option for next season, but the Mariners figure to pay the buyout and decline to tender the first baseman a contract. The option would have vested if he made 525 plate appearances in 2014. Instead, he hit .202/.275/.339 in 276 plate appearances.


Russell Martin collects one hit Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:02 am ET) Pirates catcher Russell Martin picked up one hit Wednesday against the Giants.

The Pirates only mustered four hits against Madison Bumgarner, so Martin was one of the standout performers during the contest. During his last at-bat, the fans chanted for Martin to re-sign with the club during the offseason. The team continued to chant even after Martin flew out. He gave the fans a tip of the cap before going into the dugout. Martin is set to be a free agent during the offseason.


Andrew McCutchen goes hitless Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10/1/2014) Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen went hitless Wednesday against the Giants.

The entire Pirate offense was shut down by Madison Bumgarner, who allowed just four hits all night. McCutchen struck out, flew out and grounded out in three at-bats. He did reach base once, walking in the fourth inning. McCutchen hit .314/.410/.542 over 548 at-bats during the regular season.


 
 
 
Rankings