What’s poppin, Razzpimples? Bullpen update time!
Taking a look at potential deadline moves this time around.
Don’t forget, the Razzball Bullpen Chart is manned by yours truly and updated like every single second (not really, but I stay on top of thangs for the most part). And directly below, you’ll see a current look at the Top 15 RP (in both 5×5 standard leagues and 6×6 saves/holds leagues) via our Player Rater. Subscribers also get access to the incredibly handy Relievonator Game Log, which tracks every single relief appearance from the last 14 days, including what inning they were called upon and how many batters/pitches they faced/threw.
Alrighty, let’s do it to it. (Note: Monday’s games do not factor in)
Player Rater Top 15 (5×5 Standard)
Player Rater Top 15 (6×6 w/ Holds)
Scott Barlow is the first name that probably pops into everyone’s head when thinking “who are some RP that could move around this summer?” Barlow’s name has been there for a year or more in my head, but I think this summer has to be the time he actually moves. He’s been one of the better closers in baseball in recent years, and we all know how the market is right now for those types. And we all know how bad the Royals are, so they are obviously going to sell. You may or may not know that Barlow is a free agent in 2025, so that one year of control is extra appetizing for a potential contender looking to bolster their pen. There’s almost a 100% chance Barlow is moved, and you should probably expect Carlos Hernandez to step into closing duties once that happens. Hernandez has pretty good stuff and a classic closer repertoire of high heat and a very good slider. Absolutely stash him away if you’re sorely lacking saves. As for Barlow, his SVHD value would likely be boosted depending on where he ends up, buuut his SV-only value could tank. Totally depends. If I’m an owner in SV-only, I’m probably trying to sell him while I can. Or maybe he goes somewhere like the Dodgers and closes full-time so Evan Phillips can fireman it up. Who knows!
Carlos Estevez is another name I’m watching very closely. Wasn’t long ago that the Angels looked like prime deadline buyers…but now? Injuries are piling up. Shohei is single-handedly keeping them afloat yet it’s still not enough. I wonder if they throw in the towel and sell. Estevez is surely a prime candidate to move if they do. He has a 2-year deal that’s not very expensive, so like with Barlow, a contender is gonna like that.
Josh Hader may even be on the block. The Padres are hella underachieving, and A.J. Preller has been quoted as potentially being ready to pivot from buyers to sellers if need be. Hader is having one of his best seasons yet and is a free agent once it concludes. If the Dads feel like selling, Hader is bound to go.
Trevor May is more like Trevor Meh, but I could see him getting dealt in an unexciting deal. I’m only bringing him up to point out you may want to plan on a replacement (Shintaro Fujinami perhaps) if that happens. I can say with utmost confidence that he will not see save chances on just about any other team in the entire league.
Will the Tigers offload some pen talent? I could see it. I could see any one (or more) of the current four guys I have on the pen chart (linked above in intro) being traded to a contending squad. Alex Lange and Jason Foley have a few years left on their contracts, but if the price is right, I see no reason why Detroit doesn’t at least entertain the idea of moving one. Chasen Shreve or Jose Cisnero could move to bolster someone else’s pen, too. Could be a big shake-up in fantasy value for some of these dudes.
The White Sox, affectionately dubbed the Shite Sux by our own injury guru Keelin, should be sellers come deadline day. Both Reynaldo Lopez and Keynan Middleton are free agents after this season. Middleton has been the better of the two this year, but ReyLo has been dominant at times. Kendall Graveman may also be wearing a new hat soon. Been a pretty successful replacement closer for the Sox this year and has one year of control left. Ain’t no spring chicken either, so Chicago would probably be wise to at least shop him around. Of course, his SV-only stock probably takes a solid (if not huge) hit if he were to be shipped off.
Kenley Jansen could be a potential trade deadline piece, much like Hader. The Red Sox are still in the Wild Card hunt, so their status as buyers/sellers likely depends on how the rest of July goes. I imagine he stays put, but just wanted to toss it out there. Doesn’t hurt to plan ahead, just in case! Maybe Chris Martin instead/as well? He’s been really, really ding dang good this season. Whatever happens/doesn’t happen with Jansen, you can probably rest assured he’s gonna close no matter what, so don’t do anything crazy with your shares.
Jordan Hicks is a rather interesting case. He plays for the terrible, no good, very bad St. Louis Cardinals, who should be selling at least a little bit. Hicks is a free agent after this season, so he fits the trade bait bill. I guess his 3.96 ERA and 1.45 WHIP aren’t blowing any socks off, but the stuff has looked sublime at times, so someone may want to pay a little something for a cheap rental with massive upside. No doubt that Giovanny Gallegos would reclaim closing duties until Ryan Helsley‘s return. I think the Cards would be wise to cash in on Hicks’s rebound season.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Nationals move a bullpen arm. Hunter Harvey was a likely candidate, but now that he’s back on the IL that ain’t gonna happen. Maybe Kyle Finnegan? Or Carl Edwards Jr.? Finnegan is locked up til 2026, so I guess that’s pretty unlikely. CEJ, however, is a free man this offseason. He’s hurt but not too far from a return. It’s likely he’s activated before the deadline, and thus it’s at least not unlikely that he could get traded as the Nats try to capitalize on his solid ’23 campaign (ratios aren’t sparkling but he’s got a 3.69 ERA and 15 SVHD in just 31.2 IP of work. Someone might bite on that high-leverage success.
I briefly hinted at this above in Barlow’s paragraph, but I’m expecting the Dodgers to make a move for a bullpen arm or two. No telling of course who that might be, but what it does lead to is questions about how Evan Phillips would fare. Maybe they go grab a bona fide closer type and Phillips’s SV-only stock goes kaput. Or maybe they acquire depth piece or two and Phillips is just fine. I dunno. Something to keep an eye on. Dodgers pen has been affected by injuries (poor Daniel Hudson) and inconsistency, so something is bound to happen.
The Cubs may also be buying at the deadline. And if that’s the case, a bullpen addition is likely in order. They’ve got their closer in Adbert Alzolay, so I don’t expect his value is hurt one way or the other. But if a big enough name, then maybe I’m wrong about that, or maybe it’s just Mark Leiter Jr. who takes a fantasy hit.
The Brewers are another team in need of bullpen depth. Past Devin Williams and stonks-going-bonks Joel Payamps, there ain’t much to write home about. Something about those Brewers always leads to gobs of SVHD, so anyone that comes in is likely to get in the mix, at least as the #2 setup guy behind Payamps.
Same deal with the Giants. They’ve got an elite closer in Camilo Doval and a very effective setup man in Tyler Rogers, but then it’s pretty murky after that. Taylor Rogers just isn’t getting holds opps even though he’s had a pretty good season. His bro has 23 SVHD while he’s only got 5 SVHD. It’s ridonk how wide that gap is. Maybe someone joins the group and bumps Taylor down even more and lessens the pressure on Tyler.
With my 2023 man crush Josh Sborz hitting the IL, I could see the Rangers making a move for another reliever to bolster their pen. They’ve got Aroldis Chapman and Will Smith, and then it’s kinda…meh. Grant Anderson has shown flashes, and Brock Burke has not been able to replicate 2022’s sexiness. With Chapman and Smith splitting the ninth, it would make sense for Texas to make a splash for a third (or fourth?) high-leverage arm. A right-handed one, at that.
I specialize in bullpens and I used to do some fantasy hockey as well here at Razzball. Find me on Twitter: @jkj0787. DMs are always open for questions, comments, concerns, complaints, etc. Odds are good I’m drinking black coffee, dark beer, or some form of bourbon at any given time of day.