It’s getting ugly in the reliever market. Injuries, ineffectiveness, and promotions have wrung much of the top talent out of the scene.  Much like the bazaar in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle there’s stuff everywhere, but it’s hard to find what you need. Also, there’s a basket with a cobra in it. You just have to hope the Rock shows up and start throwing people through walls. I don’t actually know what the fantasy baseball equivalent of that is. I’ve gotten off track here thinking about the Rock’s ridiculous biceps, as per uzhe. I’ll wrap up this lede in ramble with a comparison Jumanji’s theme: the only way to win the game of relievers is to play and win.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

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A strain is a tear and a tear is a strain. The arms that are hurting have torn stuff somewhere in there. Don’t let doctors dress thing up with fancy words. Discomfort, swelling, strain all mean something is not in its original state. If one of your pitcher’s arms is hurting you have trouble. Buy some insurance with a well-placed bullpen add.

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The bullpen upheaval has begun in earnest. If you need saves you’re about to get your chance to bid for some. The NFL draft also starts tonight, so I went with NFL movie themed tiers.

  • Mike Scioscia’s spirit must be haunting the hallways of Angel stadium. Brad Ausmus tried to get twelve outs from Ty Buttrey but he only had 11 in him and gave up a run and the lead to New York. Hansel Robles, who hadn’t pitched the day before, was called on for the last out of the loss. I’m more confused about the LA situation than ever.
  • Mychal Givens notched an honest to goodness save Wednesday. A six-outer, to boot! Maybe that means manager Brandon Hyde is starting to realize that Givens his only real fit for the ninth.
  • Ryan Brasier has grabbed the upside to the Boston closer Schwartz. He’s viewed as the more straight-line ninth inning guy, while Matt Barnes has more value as a fireman.
  • Baseball is weird. Shane Greene has eleven saves and two earned runs. He’s the second best closer in baseball on one of it’s worst teams.
  • With David Robertson on the IL the Phillies have been turning to Hector Neris mainly. That’s shocking for Gabe Kapler. When Neris has his split-piece working it’s nasty, though. We can back the Kapler meddling threat level to yellow for now.
  • Both Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo needed some well-deserved rest this week. Kevin Cash turned to Emilio Pagan for back to back saves. Pagan was cast off by Oakland after they traded for him and didn’t get the reliable reliever they expected. Their loss could be Tampa’s gain.
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Raise your hand if the juiced ball isn’t affecting your high priced pitcher yet. Not so fast Blake Snell owners, he’s on the IL with a broken toe via clumsy furniture moving. You’re going to be in the mean streets of relief appearances with the rest of us now. You can throw on some REM and cry in the shower or work at filling some gaps. A well-aimed non-closer can certainly pay dividends. There’s something below for whatever ails you. I don’t include anyone getting regular saves in the ranks.

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It’s Masters Week! Let’s enjoy some Augusta themed tiers (hold the bigotry). First some (mostly bad) closer news.

  • Jose Leclerc blew a save and couldn’t get more than one out with a four-run lead. He’s earned some leash, but we’ve seen ineffective periods from him before. Expensive salads don’t melt down. He’s downgraded for a spell.
  • The Mariners can’t seem to get their bullpen sorted. Anthony Swarzak is their best arm but that means coming in when it’s the seventh or eighth. He should still see more saves than any other reliever for them.
  • Hate to say I told you so on Trevor May, but also I told you so on Trevor May. When in doubt back greed. His deployment is very characteristic of a team looking to save in arbitration. Not that he won’t see any save opps, they’ll just be too unpredictable for most of our leagues. Blake Parker gets most of the looks with Taylor Rogers matching up with lefties on occasion.
  • Raisel Iglesias got through a clean ninth inning for a save finally. That’s encouraging but between his struggles and being used in other innings I’m dropping him all the way to the bottom rung until we can feel comfortable in his stuff and role.
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Is your pitching staff a disaster? Don’t worry, they all are. If you need a fill-in while transitioning a role consider some of these folks. Each tier is ranked, roughly speaking. The amount of variance in middle relief is greater than with closers so you can follow these less rigidly. I’ve pulled the names that are getting serious saves consideration, as they’re likely claimed.

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Let’s dust off Grey’s tiers for this first closer report of the season. We’re one day in and the sky is already falling all over the closer landscape.

  • We have our first dumpster fire of the season in Arizona. Pudding-brained Toery Lovullo will use the guy with experience in Greg Holland, albeit awful recent experience.
  • Bruce Bochy did the right thing and confirmed Will Smith will be the closer. A manager making a sensible decision, be still my heart.
  • Taylor Rodgers earned the opening day save in Minnesota. The matchups dictated a LHP so don’t go overboard changing that hierarchy. We need to be aware Rocco Baldeli will mix and match, however.
  • An old fashioned 6-out save was on the menu for Josh Hader. He needed Lorenzo Cain to bring a homer back over the wall, but the stuff was nasty as ever with plenty of whiffs.
  • Pedro Strop hammy wasn’t a big deal and he’s ready to go. Bump him up a tier with another leap pending his hold on the role of.
  • The Reds and Royals bullpens got off on the wrong foot. Both spots need to be monitored to see if roles are changing.
Please, blog, may I have some more?

It’s been a messy couple of weeks for relievers. Shoulders, elbows, backs, oh my. We’re getting daily news bombs that feel like a gut punch. Welcome to baseball season! My tiers are aptly themed friends of March Madness this week. A good portion of the third and fourth tier are close to moving up, I just need more concrete confirmation on their roles once the real bullets start flying…

Please, blog, may I have some more?