The week of the trade deadline is one of the most active for SAGNOF (Saves Ain’t Got No Face). Occasionally a team in contention will upgrade their closer. More often teams in the running for the playoffs will look to upgrade their bullpens by acquiring a closer from an out of contention team and moving him to an 8th inning role. Time to discuss which closers and next in line players will be affected as the trade deadline closers in. (Ahem) I mean closes in. (Or do I? I like how either way it’s a pun.) Because the trade deadline is July 31st this is one of two SAGNOF Specials to come which will do just that.
First off, the closers which could be on the move to fill an 8th inning role. The closers that best fit this description are Tyler Clippard, Brad Ziegler (next in line Daniel Hudson), John Axford (LaTroy Hawkins) and Jim Johnson. (LOL at anyone trying to acquire Ziegler, Axford or Johnson as a closer, amirite?) Closers likely to keep their jobs if moved include Aroldis Chapman (J.J. Hoover), Francisco Rodriguez, and David Robertson (Jake Petricka). I put the (somewhat) obvious next in line players in parentheses. Unfortunately the situations in Oakland (the lefty Drew Pomeranz, Edward Mujica, Evan Scribner), Atlanta (David Aardsma, Arodys Vizcaino) and Milwaukee (lefty Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress) are unclear to me. Fans of these teams or others with knowledge should give their 2 cents in the Comments section. Seriously. It will make my job a lot easier in trying to have it all sorted out by next week’s SAGNOF Special post when the trade deadline will be truly imminent. That also means it would be a good idea to take a look at the comments section a time or two after reading this because in addition to the readers comments and my replies, I will attempt to do a mid-week update (in the comments section) where clarity is needed.
As far as closers that could be replaced because of a trade, I’m sticking with Roberto Osuna as a likely candidate. Not likely as in a 70% chance or anything like that, likely relative to the chance that any one contending team has in replacing their closer. In other words the Blue Jays seem more likely than other teams to make a move that way. Go figure that most contending teams are set at closer, with maybe the one exception being Houston, where Luke Gregerson closes. The Astros, however, are more focused on acquiring another starting pitcher and because their overall bullpen strength is very good I see it as unlikely that they bring someone in to replace Gregerson.
Rafael Soriano is now playing for the big club leaving the Chicago Cubs bullpen a messier mess. I suspect if he pitches well in 2-3 non-save situations he will become their closer. Jason Motte is still the other player to own in the bullpen. In other news, Shawn Tolleson had a rough week and they’ve been using Tanner Scheppers in the 8th. I consider that a situation to monitor but not act on.
SAGNOF Saves recommendations: Rafael Soriano, J.J. Hoover, Will Smith/Jeremy Jeffress, and Daniel Hudson. It’s hard for me to recommend players from some of the situations which are unclear, like Oakland, where in one scenario Sean Doolittle could end up as the closer for most or all of September. Next week’s trade deadline post promises to be one to read but you should also try to keep your eyes on the Comments section below.
Delino DeShields Jr. has been starting in most games and he’s been an excellent source of steals this year. However, I’ll once again remind you that he was never expected to be this good. Still, I think he has shown some good signs, like the 12.1% walk rate which bodes well for future stolen bases. His OBP is .360 so he’s actually been worthy of the leadoff spot. I think his value going forward is similar to Billy Burns‘ with the main difference being Burns is playing every day and he should be able to hit for a higher AVG.
Alex Rios is a player that might be better to own than DeShields or Burns, unless SBs are all you care about. What I’m saying is while he might not deliver the SAGNOF goods, per se, he’ll probably deliver a more valuable 5×5 line. It may not look like Jarrod Dyson‘s bump in playing time has gone as expected but it’s because the Kansas City Royals have faced left handed starters in 3 of their last 4 games. Aaron Hicks has been hitting more than he did last year and like Rios he possesses some power.
SAGNOF Steals recommendations: Delino DeShields (where still available), Jarrod Dyson, Alex Rios, and Aaron Hicks. DeShields, Dyson and Rios are not readily available but could easily become that way.