Great times are waiting. Grab some Bud.
Bud Norris gave up another four earned runs against the Blue Jays on Sunday. His total now sits at nine over the last seven days, so um, it’s not so great if you grabbed some Bud.
Perhaps the song “Who Can It Be Now” should play whenever Norris or Cam Bedrosian take the mound. These two are like the original Odd Couple, only you can’t forget Mike Scioscia. The steam coming out of his ears makes for fab-u-lous television, but if you’re a fantasy owner, relax! Thanks to baseball’s stupified rule book, Norris has a grand total of zero blown saves this week.
If the Angels could press ‘erase’ and trade their bullpen in for a bag of chips, I’d say go for it. Scioscia’s bullpen has combined for 25 hits in July alone, that’s six more than Craig Kimbrel has allowed all season. Anyway, here’s a look at the rest of the closers ahead of Week 18:
|Team||Closer||Next in Line||Plan C|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Fernando Rodney||Archie Bradley||Jorge de la Rosa|
|Atlanta Braves||Jim Johnson||Aroydys Vizcaino||Jose Ramirez|
|Baltimore Orioles||Zach Britton||Brad Brach||Mychal Givens|
|Boston Red Sox||Craig Kimbrel||Joe Kelly||Matt Barnes|
|Chicago Cubs||Wade Davis||Justin Wilson||Carl Edwards Jr.|
|Chicago White Sox||Tyler Clippard||Gregory Infante||Jake Petricka|
|Cincinnati Reds||Raisel Iglesias||Michael Lorenzon||Drew Storen|
|Cleveland Indians||Cody Allen||Andrew Miller||Bryan Shaw|
|Colorado Rockies||Greg Holland||Pat Neshek||Adam Ottavino|
|Detroit Tigers||Alex Wilson||Shane Greene||Bruce Rondon|
|Houston Astros||Ken Giles||Chris Devenski||Will Harris|
|Kansas City Royals||Kelvin Herrera||Joakim Soria||Brandon Maurer|
|Los Angeles Angels||Bud Norris||Cam Bedrosian||David Hernandez|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Kenley Jansen||Pedro Baez||Brandon Morrow|
|Miami Marlins||Brad Ziegler||Junichi Tazawa||Dustin McGowan|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Corey Knebel||Anthony Swarzak||Jacob Barnes|
|Minnesota Twins||Brandon Kintzler||Taylor Rogers||Matt Belisle|
|New York Mets||Addison Reed||A.J. Ramos||Jerry Blevins|
|New York Yankees||Aroldis Chapman||Dellin Betances||David Robertson|
|Oakland Athletics||Santiago Casilla||Blake Treinen||Ryan Dull|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Hector Neris||Luis Garcia||Joaquin Benoit|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Felipe Rivero||Juan Nicasio||Daniel Hudson|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Trevor Rosenthal||Brett Cecil||Seung Hwan Oh|
|San Diego Padres||Brad Hand||Kirby Yates||Phil Maton|
|San Francisco Giants||Sam Dyson||Hunter Strickland||George Kontos|
|Seattle Mariners||Edwin Diaz||David Phelps||Nick Vincent|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Alex Colome||Tommy Hunter||Brad Boxberger|
|Texas Rangers||Alex Claudio||Jose Leclerc||Keone Kela|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Roberto Osuna||Ryan Tepera||Joe Smith|
|Washington Nationals||Sean Doolittle||Ryan Madson||Matt Albers|
The Market Place
Okay, hold my daiquiri, let’s talk Zach Britton one more time.
Everyone put their cards on the table Sunday night. In short, Jonathan Lucroy to the Rockies, Melky Cabrera to the Royals, and Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubbies. Britton is pretty much the last man standing as far as relievers go, and unless the Yankees make a mad dash for Sonny Gray/Yu Darvish in the next 24 hours, New York and possibly Los Angeles are the two most likely suitors for the Big Z.
The Cubs situation is definitely a cracker. Trading for Wilson over Britton screams “thanks but no thanks” on his outlandish price tag, and since he’s given up four earned runs over the course of a week, his lack of command isn’t really justifying anything other than concerns. I suppose if you’re an owner you’ll still win/win with Britton either way. You can rule out any non-playoff contending teams now, and since there’s only a handful of clubs scrambling for a lefty, you know he’s good for K’s somewhere.
The alternative to Britton is, of course, fellow southpaw Brad Hand. The Padres want a small army of prospects in return, and really, who can blame them? San Diego’s farm system ranks in the top half of the league, and it seems like the Padres front office has finally woken up and realized, “Hey, Hand could be a vital part of this figuring out how to win – thing”. If that’s the case, the Padres playing hard-to-get until the offseason could easily warrant a much heftier return. In the mean time, Hand is owned in less than 50% of leagues, just remember that. If he winds up somewhere else, it’s probably a moot point, though, because who knows if he’ll close anytime soon.
Finally, Addison Reed is another question mark I just can’t answer. He’s a taste-tester option for any club looking for a rental, and the similarities between him and the Twins’ Brandon Kintzler are crazy close. Both deserve a cold beer and a pat on the back considering the Mets/Twins offensive dramas but combined the pair have allowed just 21-hits in July and one home run. That’s some tasty value.
- Pro tip: if ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Matt Barnes altered his mechanics earlier in July, and it worked, well kinda. He started off this month with nine strikeouts prior to last week, but then Sunday’s schmozzle came about. Barnes gave up four earned runs against the Royals in the eighth inning, enough to gift Jason Hammel his fifth win of the season. I watched Barnes throw Whit Merrifield four wobbly high fastballs during Saturday’s extra inning victory. It’s not what the Red Sox need right now, and obviously, the command is all of a sudden a big problem-o.
- Sticking with the Sox, the plus side was Craig Kimbrel. He’s the only positive sign of life in Boston’s bullpen (news flash) and his seven strikeouts over the last seven days are impressive. Also on that list is the rebounding Andrew Miller.
- I know this section is meant to focus on the weekend, but I just can’t go without talking about Corey ‘Evil’ Knebel. He gave up a grand total of zero hits and struck out four in two innings of work. Keep in mind, this comes against a Cubs team batting .271 in July.
- The Twins had a wow moment on Sunday, or more specifically, Trevor Hildenberger did. He has as much fantasy relevance as I do right now, but against the heart of the Oakland A’s order, he attacked hard. Hildenberger gave up a double to Matt Joyce in the bottom of the ninth in a tied ball game. He then sat down two and struck out Khris Davis to send it to extras. In the 10th, he found himself in the exact same situation, only this time, he struck out Matt Chapman on a wicked outside breaking ball. With Kintzler on the market, he chose the right time to put up five strikeouts in two innings pitched.
- It’s a good thing Chris Devenski is movin’ on up in the Astros bullpen because Tony Sipp was trippin’ Sunday afternoon against the Tigers. How does four earned runs in 0.1 innings sound? That’s what I thought.
- If Drew Storen makes like Tom and Cruises in Cincinnati, I seriously fear for the rest of the Reds’ bullpen. Jose Iglesias nearly blew a five run lead against the Marlins, giving up four earned and nearly costing Luis Castillo a mighty, mighty win. Iglesias has been pretty much untouchable since June, so we’ll chalk this up to good ole’ bad luck.
- We saw the awesome-foursome in New York Saturday afternoon. After Caleb Smith threw three innings of disaster ball, it was an early bullpen game for the Yankees. Dellin Betances walked someone (crazy, right!?), David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle combined for three strikeouts and an earned run, and then Aroldis Chapman did his thing to notch the win. It’s hardly smooth sailing just yet.
- Supposedly the Braves are open to trading Jim Johnson, but I’ll be damned if someone takes the bait. His last five games have featured two earned runs, and after having nearly a week off, Saturday’s affair against the Phillies was pretty meh. Johnson gave up a bomb to Obdubel Herrera and has now allowed 11 hits in his last nine innings.
- The Saves List: Kenley Jansen, Edwin Diaz, Justin Wilson, Greg Holland, Wade Davis, Zach Britton.
- The Winners Circle: Kelvin Herrera, Tyler Clippard, Andrew Miller, Matt Barnes, Hector Neris, Aroldis Chapman
- With an ‘L’ On Their Forehead: Albert Suarez, Tyler Duffey, Bryan Shaw, Matt Barnes, Bud Norris, David Phelps, George Kontos
Buy: Brandon Maurer
The switch to Kansas City won’t wave a magic wand over his disgusting 5.49 ERA, but the strikeout numbers are there, and he’s available in 70% of leagues. The good thing is the Royals look likely to throw Maurer into plenty of high leverage situations, and if his outing against the Red Sox on Sunday is any indication, he does have the stuff to make it work. In particular, Maurer’s slider has been slick, good for a 52% swing rate in the month of July. He’s great against lefties as well, surrendering only 16 hits and striking out 22 this season – if you look past the earned runs of course.
Sell: Archie Bradley
Sell, drop, whichever is easier. Really, you should have done this a century ago, because unfortunately, Bradley’s value is basically nonexistent. He gave up 11 hits in July, and until the Diamondbacks actually stop playin’ and make decisions in the bullpen, he’s basically a waste as far as fantasy value goes.