Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register 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
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
2015 Draft Prep Guide
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
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
Athletics' Jesse Chavez happy with spring showing
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:55 am ET) Athletics pitcher Jesse Chavez allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings while striking out one in Thursday's 6-4 win over the Giants.

Chavez, who was on the mound just two days after the birth of his daughter, is happy with his performance this spring, the Bay Area News Group reports.

"I feel good," Chavez said. "I’ve put some men on, but I’ve pitched out of some jams. I’ve showed them I won’t let it snowball."

Chavez believes he needs to improve at changing the eye level of batters.

"I’ve got to get them to change eye levels better," Chavez said. "The last two or three starts, I haven’t been able to do that. The pitches that I’m trying to elevate they’re fouling off (instead of swinging and missing) and that runs up my pitch count."

Chavez has posted a 4.50 ERA in 16 innings as he competes for a spot in the rotation.


Giants' Bochy: Joe Panik pressing, remains starter at second base
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:09 am ET) Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday that while infielder Joe Panik might be pressing, he remains the team's starter at second base without reservations, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Panik is just 8 for 50 this spring after going hitless in four at-bats Thursday, though he has delivered three doubles and two home runs. He's looking for a strong follow-up to an impressive rookie season in which he hit .305/.343/.368 in 269 at-bats.


Pirates P A.J. Burnett changes tune about shifting
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:38 am ET) Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett has not had the highest of opinions when it comes to infield-shifting in the past. In 2013, he let some reporters know what he thought about shifting at the time.

When asked about a shift of shortstop Clint Barmes that year, Burnett stated, “I do not have a problem with (Barmes), I had a problem with the (expletive) shift. We play people in the wrong spot.”

But Burnett seemed to change his tune when reflecting upon the subject.

“As much as I complained about the shifts, they helped,” Burnett said. “They really did. It's that one a game, you've got a no-hitter for four or five innings and one gets through, and where you're like … ‘(expletive) shift.'

“But (shifts) saves you more than anything, and that's the truth.”

The 38-year-old has lost some steam on his fastball at this point in his career and he knows that.

“It took me getting a little older to realize that I'm not able to blow it by guys anymore and ground balls are just as good,” he said.

Burnett has posted a 6.39 ERA with nine earned runs, eight walks and 12 strikeouts in four starts this spring.


Time running out for Matt Lindstrom to win spot with Angels
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:35 am ET) Angels pticher Matt Lindstrom can opt out of his contract if he's not placed on the active roster five days before the regular-season opener, and he believes he may not have an opening to fill in the bullpen, MLB.com reports.

"There's a ton of guys in here that have shown they can compete at this level," Lindstrom said. "I just hope I can be one of those guys that breaks camp with the team. It'd be fun to be on a team like this, that has so much potential, especially with how many games they won last year. The pitching staff's going to be solid no matter which way they go, but I'm hoping to be a part of that."

Lindstrom has given up seven runs in 4 2/3 spring innings but is excited about how his arm feels this spring.

"I can just tell the ball's coming out better," Lindstrom said. "Hopefully, that can just translate to outs."


Giants' Tim Lincecum strikes out seven Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings while racking up seven strikeouts in Thursday's spring start against the A's.

"It comes down to one or two pitches per inning," Lincecum said on alternating good and bad innings, per MLB.com. "I just have to keep my pitches down. The ones that they're hitting are the ones that are up. Leadoff batters are locking in to some of the first pitches."

Lincecum has dealt with neck issues and mediocre performances but has looked much better over the last week, following a one-run outing Saturday by matching his seven strikeouts in his previous four outings. He appears on track to open the season as the team's No. 5 starter.


Rockies' Brandon Barnes displays new swing this spring
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes brought a brand-new swing to spring training that features a high leg kick as he looks to cut down the strikeouts and "be the best version of me," the Denver Post reports.

"I tried to refine who I am and what type of player I am in the box," Barnes said Thursday. "I'm not a guy who's going to hit 30 home runs. I know that. I'm the big guy who needs to be a pest, drive the ball into gaps, hit doubles, use my speed to my advantage, bunt, all those things."

Barnes lost 10 pounds this offseason as he looked to come to camp more athletic and less stiff in the batter's box.

"We have this tremendous athlete, and you see him in the outfield and it shows up daily," manager Walt Weiss said. "But you saw him in the box last season, and there was some stiffness to his approach. And I'm saying, 'Be that guy in the box.' It made sense to him."

Barnes indicated that he's committed to the new approach that pulls the focus away from home runs.

"I had to go back and do some soul-searching to figure out who I was," Barnes said. "I'm the guy who goes out and plays really hard."


Rangers' Shin-Soo Choo goes hitless in return Thursday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo (triceps) returned to the lineup Thursday, going 0 for 4 while serving as the designated hitter in his team's 6-3 win over the Rockies.

Choo had been sidelined since March 15 due to a triceps injury and was reported to be targeting a return Saturday, but he was able to remain in for the entire game Thursday, picking up four at-bats in his role as DH. He's managed just four hits in 22 at-bats this spring.


Rangers' Fujikawa confident in return from Tommy John surgery
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa is scheduled to pitch Friday, and the Rangers will be keeping a close eye on the pitcher to determine if he has fully recovered from Tommy John surgery or if he'll need time in the minors to open the season, MLB.com reports.

Fujikawa hasn't allowed a run in four Cactus League outings but has struggled a bit in two camp games. He remains confident his recovery is on track.

"This is still spring training, not the regular season," Fujikawa said. "It's only going to get better. Coming into spring training, the surgery was out of my mind. As a player, I am really confident. I am not sure what my role will be, but I'll be confident whatever the situation is."

Manager Jeff Banister is looking for the pitcher to build off his spring success.

"The guy is coming off Tommy John," Banister said. "There are good days and bad days. He has logged a couple of good ones. Let's see that continue."


Twins Trevor Plouffe wants to cement his place at third
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe is completely aware of the threat that Miguel Sano brings when it comes to the third base spot. Sano is considered by many to be a can't-miss player. But Plouffe is trying not to let that affect him or his play. 

“You can’t think about anything like that,” Plouffe said. “You can’t worry about what other people are saying about you. I’m more focused on getting this organization out of this rut that we’ve dug ourselves over the last four years.”

After moving around the infield for years, Plouffe seems to have found his place at third. The 28-year-old has a batting average of .245 with 62 home runs, 224 RBI and 398 strikeouts in five seasons.


Rangers' Ross Ohlendorf (groin) leaves Thursday's game
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Rangers pitcher Ross Ohlendorf was removed from Thursday's game against the Rockies due to recurring tightness in his right groin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Ohlendorf tossed a scoreless inning and struck out two Thursday in his first appearance since March 15 but continued to battle groin issues. He's competing for a spot in the bullpen.


 
 
 
Rankings