The MLB trade deadline is today. So far the fireworks haven’t been overly bullpen related. We’ll see if that holds true as many teams fashion themselves plucky upstarts in the mix for expanded playoff spots. As far as rumormongers go, Jeff Passan is really the only name I put any stock in at this point. Evening-bird and Yo-dude are banned from my twitter feed.

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The changes to bullpens week to week this season will probably never cease to amaze me. It’s the damn wild west out here. Why anyone would pay for saves is beyond me. With the trade deadline looming it’s also a good time to take stock and maybe stash some of the next in line guys if you have the room. Tiers are day of the week themed since everyday is Wednesday now.

  • I thought Joe Jiminez had one of the safest jobs in baseball. He did everything he could to lose it. The team has announced his removal as closer and a committee going forward. Gregory Soto is probably the only one of the lot with enough upside to make it worth the chase.
  • The Rays traded Emilio Pagan and were cursed to never again find a closer. It seems like Diego Castillo is the reliever due for an injury. He a plenty capable reliever. We’ll see what the usage looks like soon.
  • Daniel Bard snagged a pair of saves for the Rockies. As a righty, he has a lead on Carlos Estevez for manager decision making. We’ll see if that holds up until Wade Davis returns.
  • The Blue Jays are a full blown committee now. Anthony Bass didn’t do much to lose his grip but Jordan Romano is converting some opps, as well. Ken Giles is throwing so it may not matter much longer.
  • The Cardinals placed Andrew Miller on the IL. Giovanny Gallegos is kind of the guy by default at this point. Team management is still trying to stop one step shy of committing to him fully but whatever. Until Ryan Helsley is back I’m not sure anyone else earns a save.
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You all can blame me for the weekend bullpen chaos. I said last week was a relatively calm one on the saves front and as soon as I typed the words the baseball gods launched a comet of calamity at MLB. I shall do may best not to draw their ire again anytime soon.

  • The Phillies traded for Brandon Workman to come in and close over the struggling Hector Neris. We’ll see how this goes. Workman has better results than peripherals. He may be a time bomb. He’s 1/2 for saves on Philly already. Matt Barnes was named sort of the closer but like only if he’s being cool about it. Maybe Ryan Brasier finds himself in the ninth again at some point.
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All in all, this was a relatively calm week on the bullpen front. At least by 2020 standards. That’s always a good time to go find the next man up and consider being a week early on a buy. Even better if they can provide an extra service like strikeouts or ratios in the mean time.

  • The Mets are right on schedule with the disaster that their rotation typically becomes. That’s required Seth Lugo to be transitioned from the bullpen to a starting role. On top of that they’re game Thursday was canceled due to COVID concerns. If they get back on the field soon expect Edwin Diaz to split closing duties with Dellin Betances. Jeurys Familia is a dark horse to mix in.
  • Hector Neris is lucky the Phillies have no one behind him to threaten his role. He blew another save Thursday. David Robertson has clawed his way back from injury and is close to pitching in the MLB again. You’d expect it to take a while to return to form for him. The threat is out there to Neris, though.
  • Color me unimpressed by Craig Kimbrel’s save this week. Rowan Wick had pitched back to back days. Kimbrel’s fastball is still not getting by anyone. The bottom of the Cardinals order was fouling off every two-strike fastball he fired. Better hitters are taking it yard.
  • Zack Britton is hitting the IL just as Aroldis Chapman makes his return. That’s one closer role that should sort itself out naturally barring Chapman being unable to shake off the rust quick enough.
  • Even as a skeptic of Nick Anderson’s role I’m starting to feel frustrated with the Rays. They’re costing themselves games at this point. Stop trying to be so smart and just save your best reliever for the ninth. It’s not like there aren’t other good pitchers in their pen.
  • Jairo Diaz has fumbled the Rockies closer gig into a committee. Carlos Estevez notched their last save. I have very little faith Estevez is the guy. Maybe if Daniel Bard continues to deal he’ll get the job.
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I posted the last Closer Report two weeks ago, the same distance in between them as always. I basically had to take a flamethrower to that ranking. It’s hard to recall a more drastic two weeks in bullpen hierarchies. Yes, it’s only been two weeks imaginary friend Carl that keeps telling me to huff some more glue. It only feels like a quarter season. Tiers are Fla.Vor.Ice themed since my three-year-old has just discovered them.

  • Keona Kela is off the COVID-IL for Pittsburgh. He should slot into the closer role by default. They may want him to get one appearance with less leverage prior to closing.
  • Mike Matheny has fired up the way back machine and found a vintage Trevor Rosenthal. Perhaps Matheny’s gentle style of yanking pitchers around and pitting players against each other just soothes Rosie.
  • Kirby Yates’ arm is barking a bit. The team is doing their best to give him days off. That does not help your fake teams. Drew Pomeranz is the guy benefiting most from that.
  • Ty Buttrey has managed to hold the closer gig after Hansel Robles was decidedly not hot. That’s a change from last season when he couldn’t string two decent appearances together. There was potential in Buttrey after his rookie year. Maybe he’s turning a corner.
  • The Rays are determined to get every reliever on the roster a save this year. They don’t want anyone feeling left out. Who has two thumbs, not enough sleep, and told you to be careful with Nick Anderson?
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The rocky start to our baseball season continues. The Cardinals are fighting outbreaks. Cleveland is grounding pitchers for breaking protocols. Fernando Rodney is preparing to debut. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. Sorry, I went full Venkman for a second. Let me wipe the ectoplasm off. There. Now to the prognostication.

  • You can write Rafael Montero’s name in pen as the Rangers closer. He’s been the only one they’ve called to close out games since his return. Seems rash I know. Welcome to fantasy baseball in 2020. Raf may have been everyone’s least favorite TMNT but he may be the best reliever to pop in the SAGNOF scene all year if he stays healthy.
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Having fun chasing pitching yet? At least this short season won’t be boring. There has been no shortage of actionable bullpen moves. They’re not likely to slow down anytime soon. Get aggressive on middle relievers and closer spec plays.

  • Somethings not right with Ryan Pressly. He blew the save in his first opportunity for Houston without recording a shot. Andre Scrubb worked a clean inning and a third before that. Cy Sneed and Blake Taylor gave up a bunch of runs prior to that. We’ll see which way the wind blows next time the ninth comes up with a lead. Brad Peacock is probably worth a stash as he works his way back from arm soreness.
  • The Cardinals are going to need Kwang-hyun Kim in their rotation upon their restart from quarantine. That leaves the closer role open. Giovanny Gallegos should be ready to go at this point. Many fantasy managers have also made a bet Ryan Helsley will get opportunities.
  • Poor, cursed Nick Burdi has been placed on the season-ending 45-day IL with an elbow issue. At least he was able to earn his first career save before being struck down again. Richard Rodriguez should get the ninth until Keona Kela returns shortly.
  • Brad Hand has shown us the rumors of his demise were somewhat exaggerated. He’s notched two uneventful saves this week. I’d still expect Cleveland to try and rest him between appearances when they’re comfortable with James Karinchak handling the ninth.
  • The Angels are an unexpected dumpster fire in the backend of their bullpen. Hansel Robles has washed out as the closer. Ty Buttrey is filling in but has 1 K to 3 BBs in 6.1 innings. Kenyan Middleton is serving up gopher balls. Felix Pena is the only one treading water.
  • Jairo Diaz is cementing himself into the Rockies closer gig. His Ks and ratios don’t blow you away but the job security is nice.
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I’ll give the 2020 baseball season credit for this: it’s going to make us feel like it was 26 weeks. Illness, injury, and outbreak have not been in short supply. FAAB periods have been wild. Here’s my corner of the internet to help keep you afloat in this sea of change.

  • Turns out Craig Kimbrell is shot after all. Rowan Wick is the assumed closer now, though Jeremy Jeffress has a recent save and will be called on for high leverage spots, as well. There’s more strikeout upside to Wick.
  • James Karinchak did, in fact, eat a save opp from Brad Hand last week. Karinchak is going to have to show he can consistently control his wipeout stuff. But if he does…
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It’s been a busy few days for bullpen shuffling as I try to keep up from my vacation at the shore. Injuries are popping up. Ineffectiveness will also be tolerated far less. Each week of the season is roughly ten percent of it. You’re already running out of time to adjust. Since I’m not into contagious viruses I won’t be partaking in the usual boardwalk indulgences. Therefore, the tier themes will have to do.

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Roto-Wan is at the Jersey Shore this week, home to the iconic reality show of the same name. Much like the cast of misguided Jerseyites our MLB season is already riddled with disease. I won’t depress you with talk of how this kind of travel and interaction is a slap in the face of a contagious virus. COVID will do that enough. I’m here to try and catch up on the widespread bullpen carnage of this very early season. Hopefully, you headed my advice and discounted closers in your drafts. Now’s the time to plug those holes. You’ve got plenty of options. Unlike the guys that settled for going home with Snookie.

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Welcome to your first Bullpen Report of the season. How’d day one of your season go? You know, besides losing two top 30 players moments before lineup lock. Unfortunately, that’s more likely to be the norm than the exception. If you didn’t already (you donkey), build any flexibility into your fake teams that you can. On the pitching side that means having a reliever that can juice a category for you when a body is needed in a pinch.

  • The big free agent this week was Zack Britton with Aroldis Chapman hitting the COVID-IL. If you missed out on him I’d suggest considering Adam Ottavino. Britton is getting the first call but I wouldn’t be shocked if Ottavino gets a look if Boone feels the matchups favor him.
  • Kwang-Hyun Kim is being anointed the Cardinals closer. I’m holding my breath here. It’s hard to trust someone who’s never pitched an inning stateside to immediately walk into the closer role. To me, it feels more like they’re set on the injured Giovanny Gallegos and don’t want to disappoint Ryan Helsley with a demotion this early.
  • I’m targeting the options behind Kyle Crick as the Pittsburgh closer. Just a gut feel that Crick can’t hack it in the ninth. Richard Rodriguez and Nick Burdi get much more swing and miss with their stuff.
  • Yoshihisa Hirano is another COVID delayed player of the early year. That may give Matt Magill enough leash to take over the closer gig in Seattle. It was kind of his last year. He was kind of going to close this year. Now he can at least win or lose it on his own merit.
  • Let me remind you that Corey Knebel has nasty movement on his off-speed stuff. He’ll need to find his fastball velocity with reports of it in the low 90s thus far in summer camp. If he can get that up a few ticks he could immediately figure into the ninth for the BrewCrew.
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