Well the flurry of trade activity we anticipated came late in the day, and it came with fury. Today’s trade deadline had megastars being moved and those deals stole the headlines, but several teams made shrewd moves to enhance their bullpens. This weekend’s chart will be interesting to say the least!
Let’s recap the moves this week. I will list the bullpen moves here and assess the ramifications of the moves for both teams. I have also become the jury for teams that are winners and losers after today.
Trade Deadline Bullpen Impact
Josh Hader to the San Diego Padres for Taylor Rogers and prospects.
A huge move by the Padres, who made a series of bold moves this past week. Hader moves immediately into the closer role that had been vacated by Rogers just this past weekend when manager Bob Melvin announced he would be taking a break. This led to many FAAB speculative bids on Luis Garcia and to a lesser extent Adrian Morejon. Garcia did get a save on Monday night but Hader will clearly have the role.
- WINNER: The Padres and Hader. Devin Williams if he becomes Milwaukee’s closer.
- LOSER: Those who rostered Luis Garcia in FAAB, like me, and potentially those who roster Rogers if he does not regain the closer role in Milwaukee.
Jake Diekman to the Chicago White Sox.
The White Sox were in desperate need of a left-handed arm in their bullpen given the inexperience of Tanner Banks and the injury to Aaron Bummer. Diekman has continued to strike out batters at a high clip but his command has been suspect.
- WINNER: No winner.
- LOSER: The White Sox for spending $40 million on their bullpen this year, and for not adding any bigger pieces than Diekman. General manager Rick Hahn for being sleepier than his manager this week.
David Robertson to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Phillies augment their bullpen by adding Robertson to current closer Seranthony Dominguez and Brad Hand. Best guess is that Robertson is the new closer, even if he might not be a marked upgrade over Dominguez.
- WINNER: Rowan Wick, who looks like the last man standing in Chicago. Maybe Stephen Brault?
- LOSER: Potentially those who roster Dominguez, who may lose the role to the more experienced Robertson.
Trevor Rosenthal, Taylor Rogers, and Matt Bush to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Brewers changed the landscape of their bullpen dramatically this week. The aforementioned Hader trade netted them Rogers, who has some kinks to work but has 28 saves this year. Some of Rogers’ struggle can likely be attributed to overuse; he’s had a whopping 35 save opportunities and 42 games pitched. The Brewers can afford to let him work it out as Devin Williams likely takes over the closer role. Rosenthal is likely a couple of weeks away and provides insurance if Williams doesn’t take to the role, and Matt Bush provides a depth option for the Brew Crew.
- WINNER: Not sure there is a winner here, but the Brewers did land some helpful arms. Williams if he closes.
- LOSER: General manager David Stearns if his calculated move to rid the team of salary backfires and the bullpen becomes terrible without Hader.
Raisel Iglesias to the Atlanta Braves.
This is an interesting move; who closes? They now have the two best closers in Los Angeles circa 2021 on their team with Iglesias and Kenley Jansen. The Braves also moved Will Smith so another power arm was needed here, and they also get Tyler Matzek back from injury. My best guess to those wondering is that Jansen closes and Iglesias moves to an eighth-inning role. Don’t quote me on it, but that is my hunch here. As for Los Angeles, the best guess is Ryan Tepera. Egads, that is lousy.
- WINNER: Hard to say, but Braves fans have a stacked bullpen to fight through the playoffs with this year. Ryan Tepera, I guess. The Angels shed $60 million in future salary commitments in trading Iglesias and Noah Syndergaard.
- LOSER: The Angels and their fans for wasting another year in the career of Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout and failing to build around them. Those who roster Iglesias may be downtrodden this week as he loses his closer role.
Chris Stratton to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Stratton will fill a middle relief role in the Cardinals’ bullpen. Their big three will remain Ryan Helsley, Giovanny Gallegos, and Genesis Cabrera.
Scott Effross and Lou Trivino to the New York Yankees.
The Yankees were able to add two good pieces here; slotting Effross and Trivino in behind Clay Holmes and Aroldis Chapman will work. Interesting to note that Holmes has a few dents in his armor the last week. Could Chapman inherit his closer role once again?
- WINNER: The Yankees for making two solid additions to their bullpen. We could also argue that Rowan Wick of the Chicago Cubs and AJ Puk and Zach Jackson of the Oakland Athletics are winners in that they may all get save opportunities.
- LOSER: No loser here except those who rostered Trivino as a closer. Egads!
Michael Fulmer and Jorge Lopez to the Minnesota Twins.
The Twins were the only team in the AL Central that made any substantive moves, and good for them as they may have just won the division as the White Sox didn’t feel a need to improve. Adding Fulmer and Lopez to mainstays Jhoan Duran, Tyler Duffey, Emilio Pagan, and Griffin Jax gives them some depth. It would appear that Lopez will be the closer, and Duran could become a multiple-inning weapon and leave Fulmer to set up the eighth. Who knows?
- WINNER: The Twins for astute additions here while the rest of their division slept in this week. Also, Felix Bautista who should become the closer in Baltimore.
- LOSER: Those who rostered Duran as their second closer, like me. For someone who studies bullpens several times a week I certainly screw up my own teams and should be better at this.
Anthony Bass and Zach Pop to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays were definitely in the market for relief help behind Jordan Romano. They got that help in acquiring old friend Bass and adding an intriguing guy in Pop. Bass can help set up with Adam Cimber and Yimi Garcia.
- WINNER: The Blue Jays for improving their bullpen today.
- LOSER: No one really, except those who rostered Bass thinking he might close in Miami. Oddly, Miami did not move Tanner Scott, Steven Okert, Dylan Floro or Anthony Bender.
Will Smith to the Houston Astros.
One thing the Astros have been missing is a left-handed weapon out of their bullpen. Smith should solve that and combine with some other really good pieces there in Phil Maton, Hector Neris, and Bryan Abreu. It intrigued me that the Braves then went and added Raisel Iglesias.
- WINNER: The Astros who made three great moves this week adding not only Smith but Trey Mancini and Christian Vazquez.
- LOSER: No discernible loser here.
Anthony Misiewicz and Luke Weaver to the Kansas City Royals.
These were kind of under the radar, but Misiewicz had success in Seattle last year, and Weaver is interesting as a post-hype sleeper who could develop value as relief pitcher. Kansas City has the time to find out. They did send Misiewicz to AAA today upon his acquisition.
- WINNER: Weaver for getting a clean slate to try a new role.
- LOSER: No discernible loser here.
Mychal Givens to the New York Mets.
Givens will be used in a setup role and augment a solid bullpen with Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino.
- WINNER: Rowan Wick for being the closer by default in Chicago.
- LOSER: No discernible loser here.
I am curious to hear your thoughts on the busy day we just experienced with the trade deadline. Who are your winners and losers? Thanks for reading my summary if you do.