Each new season brings change.  And this one is no different.  The leaves have changed color, and they will turn back again.  The reliever corps are no different, in-season or off of it.  The reliever flux train has already started, and it’s just January.  For some teams, it is a needed boost to a back-end unit that was piss pour last season.  For most though, it is a change for the piece they were missing.  While others, (cough, cough, the Yankees) just want to be greedy and make a super-unit of the three-headed variety.  So today, as it being my first post in the new season, I will look at the guys who changed clubs and will most likely open the season as that teams new closer.  It isn’t very dissimilar to real life, you know that ‘ole tale… for it’s as old as the sea.  Some young up-and-comer arrives and thinks they can do your job better, faster and for longer, but veterans that have been an established piece for years get the respect they deserve.  That’s what makes a 12 dollar salad a 12 dollar salad.  So without all the soliloquy and gesturing, let’s just get to the closers who have changed clubs for the better…

Aroldis Chapman – It’s kinda not fair.  The Yankees now have three relievers that could pretty much close for 25 other teams, and on top of that, three relievers with just disgusting K/9 rates.  So disgusting that they were the only three relievers that were over 14 K/9 last season.  Now they all get to do it in order.  Not fair.  Come draft day, it isn’t going to be impossible to draft all three.  The thought of owning all three, and getting roughly 200 innings of sub-2 ERA, with more K’s then any starter you are going to draft… it’s tempting.  I know that three guys take up a lot of roster space, but the thought of it is pretty sexy.

Steve Cishek – Dumped by the Marlins, revitalized in the ‘Lou.  Sounds like a spin-off of One Day at a Time.  So he goes to the land of Tehol’s and should be given the keys to a unit that last year was a decent bunch.  Unfortunately the Mariners have traded a dearth of their quality arms in the relief game.  Cishek should do well with a switch of leagues and the added veteran behind him in Benoit gives him a nice safety net to fall back on if falter does occur.  He is by no means a salad, but a low end donkey based on his being employed. If drafting him as a cuff to Benoit is probably your best bet.

Francisco Rodgriguez – The Tigers haven’t had a closer since Joe Nathan could actually pick up a baseball and throw it effectively.   That unfortunately was three years ago.  For now, K-Rod is the new infused closer pedigree that the Tigers have been missing.  The only problem with this is the Tigers middle relief group is porous at best.  So getting from the starters to Frankie will be the trick.  A group led by Mark Lowe is a step in the right direction, but after that the names become also-ranish and not very comfy. If anything leads to Rodriguez’s lack of stat accumulation it will be the lack of quality in the setup and hold game for the Motor men.

Craig Kimbrel – I could just say he went from being a shiny hood ornament on a Ford Pinto, to basically being the same thing.  The problem in Boston isn’t the relievers… it’s who, after Price, is going to give them depth in a game consistently?  They didn’t have it last year by any stretch, and their record showed it.  I am not trashing the Sawx, because I should from a Yankee fan perspective, I am simply being an honest baseball observer.  The bullpen was the least of their woes.  Adding Kimbrel does bolster it, but at the expense of a few trade chips, and a lack of usable fantasy depth in starters, he will get his and the saves will definitely be there.  Fantasy teams pray on closers on bad teams, and he will be an accumulator, getting his 40 saves for a just .500 team.

Ken Giles – He goes from being bottom “B” to possibly in the top-3 relief group discussion.   From a fantasy perspective, Giles is going to be off the board within the first five closers. Mostly because of age, what he has shown, and the new team.  Stat wise he isn’t going to let you down, he’ll get you 40 saves, an above 10 K/9 rate, and will be a stud piece that never moves once you set your roster after draft day.  I’m just a bit leery of the over-draft when the Astros hype wagon gets steaming along.  I would rather have a Jeurys Familia or Huston Street later in the draft…

 

 

 
  1. Natty Boh says:
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    Thanks for the lunch time read. I drafted Kimbrel in the 4th round of a 15 team league, which I’ll never take a closer that high again. He concerns me. Had a high era last year, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was hiding an injury and really falls off this year.

    • @Natty Boh: thing is, his season ERA went up, but it was all from april/may, after that he was back to lights out. so i don’t think injury really explains it. more likely it just took his digestive system a little while to adjust to all the fish tacos down there. hopefully that has him primed for the chowder

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Natty Boh: agree with Wily Mo, Padres bullpen wasn’t typical Padres pen by any stretch. He can be drafted comfy as a top 3 option

  2. John says:
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    Is it safe to trade for Ramos in keeper league or too risky of a trade?

    Thanks for the write up

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @John: Thanks for the read. Yea Ramos is entrenched there now it just depends on trade chips going the other way. He is a top 15 option but not much more than that

  3. UncleSpiffy says:
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    Thoughts on Roberto Osuna in Toronto? Does he close over Storen?

    What about Hector Rondon in Chicago, what will it take for them to trust him all year?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @UncleSpiffy: It’s going to be a dog fight between Storen and Osuna, I think Storen eventually takes the reigns. Rondon was awesome down the stretch and to me right now is the guy

      • goodfold2 says:
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        @Smokey: worst thing about last year rondon is lost his job for bit for no good reason. maddoning wasn’t it.

        • Smokey

          Smokey says:
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          @goodfold2: and when he pitched bad it wasn’t awful, just tinkering.. good pun

  4. danny almonte says:
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    For a holds league, can i expect the same, reliable stats from Benoit as usual? Hes 38 so just wondering when it catches up to him..

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @danny almonte: Seattle gutted that pen so he is the #1 option there. I would worry about overuse and wear and tear but he is a top guy to covet come holds draft season

  5. papasmurf says:
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    Didnt Philly try to trade giles?

  6. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    thanks for the work,getting in baseball mode

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @AL KOHOLIC: anything for you AL

  7. Speedy McGreedy says:
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    The Yankees are sitting even prettier now that the state has announced it won’t press charges against Chapman.

    Who do you think the most vulnerable closer in the bigs is heading into soring training?

    Thanks for the post

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Speedy McGreedy: Papelbon looks to me like his attitude may force him out, but he is pretty decent when not runnig his mouth. I would probably lean towards a lesser guy like Ziegler or whomever wins the A’s closer Doolittle/Axford

  8. Booya says:
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    15 team 5×5 dynasty
    Was offered McCullers for baez, Archie Bradley & Mcgee. Which side would you want? I’m leaning towards rejecting…

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Booya: That’s a pretty decent haul for McCullers, depends on your hard on for him

  9. OtisNixonLovesRainesCrackRocks says:
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    Whaddup @smokey
    Quick keeper question (can keep 6 players for 3 years no penalties)
    Standard yahoo H2H PLUS OPS as a category
    I have Aroldis as a year C (Last year I can keep him) and Wade Davis as a year B (2 year keeper potential)
    Are either of ’em worth keeping guys like….Papi for his retirement year or Choo Choo Shin Soo or even Tanaka?

    Mercy Buckets (french thanks a lot) in advance!

    ‘spos in 2017

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @OtisNixonLovesRainesCrackRocks: while keeping closers is never a good idea, I am going to say I would rather have both of them over Papi, Choo or Tanaka

    • Chucky says:
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      Id keep Tanaka over ether.

      • Smokey

        Smokey says:
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        @Chucky: interesting. I like a good keeper debate. What’s your pro Tananka push? Mine is So you would want a starting pitcher who is an injury risk, and will be capped at most likely 180 or so innings. He isn’t in top 30 in K/9. over 2 of the 3 best closers in baseball right now arguably.

  10. goodfold2 says:
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    thanks for very detailed response over in soccer for my most valuable readily available guys.
    cishek won’t come cheap in that league being one of at most 4 unowned closers, along with hernandez, grilli (the VIZ owned on long term rookie deal), motte (plus he’s not really that good anymore, since his whole shtick was one pitch, which is a lot slower now, and in COL) but good to learn or 2nd my existing thoughts on stuff like:
    barrios MIL (unowned), akeel morris (owned, but robles loses value anyway with bastardo signing), HOU having too many moving parts for harris to be a big grab (hell, wasn’t fields better anyway last year, and he’s owned), shackleford (traded just post christmas to WAS), CIN’s Wood not being good enough (could likely find lower depth guys with better skills on other teams that could later have better jobs than spending on him). Thanks.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @goodfold2: totally missed the Shackleford getting signed a s a minor league free agent, thanks for that. Agree with Morris, mets are now set

  11. Mindicohn says:
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    14 tm dynasty 5×5 but OBP not avg. $300 cap
    am i overthinking by offering up my Will Myers $11 to keep for Gausman $6 to keep? I have Duda/Bryant/Castellanos as 1b/CI and there will be other 1B avail…My OF is springer/marte/calhoun/adam jones/myers…think i can get another good OF in auction…

    just crowdsourcing at this point.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Mindicohn: I like Gausman

  12. Shill Team 6 says:
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    Is Kenley the new best closer in the NL? Think he’s worth a top 50 pick?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Shill Team 6: Best closer yes, he is right in that 48-52 range for me depending on format

  13. Shill Team 6 says:
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    Sorry. 5×5 10 team NL only.

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