Some of the trade rumors I’ve seen are just plain funny. Craig Kimbrel to the Yankees? Wait, what!? Really? I’m not denying it as a possibility but I am thinking it might be a little overboard to acquire a premier closer when you probably only need a solid bullpen guy because you already have TWO premier closers. The list of closers and strong middle relievers available is so long this year. One thing’s for sure, there are going to be some strong bullpens vying for postseason play. Here’s the lowdown on closers and some other relievers who could be dealt in the upcoming weeks, starting with some of the players most likely to be traded and ending with those much less likely to be.
Tyler Clippard will certainly be moved. Wherever it is that he goes he is unlikely to end up as the closer. According to A’s beat writer Susan Slusser, Edward Mujica would become the closer for Oakland, unless Drew Pomeranz is moved back to the bullpen then he’s a possibility. Also note that Sean Doolittle could be returning by September so it seems unlikely that any single A’s closer will see more than 6-7 chances.
Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit are both candidates to be dealt by San Diego. Joaquin Benoit is definitely the next in line to Kimbrel but if they were both moved I would guess Brandon Maurer is the target.
Jonathan Papelbon should be moved and he reportedly will not be pleased if it’s as a non-closer. I’ve heard the Nationals, Cubs and Blue Jays mentioned as destinations and I think he could remain the closer in any of those places. Yes, even for Washington — see the first sentence in this paragraph. Ken Giles remains his next in line as has been the case all year.
I haven’t heard much more in regards to Francisco Rodriguez so even though he remains a likely trade candidate I’m not sure where. When Brett Cecil first imploded he was named as a possibility for the Blue Jays and I suspect that is still the case. Roberto Osuna would be out of a job and in the spot vacated by K-Rod I would still prefer to own Will Smith over Jeremy Jeffress but either one could be the next Brewers closer.
John Axford and his (probable) next in line LaTroy Hawkins are both trade candidates, so like the situation for San Diego above, we may have to go 3-deep here. I’m going to guess Rafael Betancourt would be the player to own of both Axford and Hawkins left via trade. If Axford is traded he will not remain a closer.
The word on Brad Ziegler is that his price is very high so he very well may stay put. If not I expect Daniel Hudson or possibly Oliver Perez to take over for Arizona. Ziegler’s probably a lot better than I had given him credit for, even if he is still due some regression to the mean. Maybe his ERA from here on out will be 2.50-ish?
The Rays could trade away Jake McGee or Kevin Jepsen or Brad Boxberger and I’ve heard that the Astros are now looking for bullpen help, so that seems like a possibility. I do consider Luke Gregerson’s job to be in jeopardy. Not much to see here as far as the Rays player’s go because McGee and Boxberger are both owned in most leagues.
Now here’s a handy dandy SAGNOF summary of the above information in table form.
|Player||Next In Line||Destination?||Loser|
|Tyler Clippard||Edward Mujica, Sean Doolittle waiting||Nationals, Pirates||Clippard|
|Craig Kimbrel||Joaquin Benoit||Blue Jays, Nationals, Yankees||Osuna, Storen|
|Jonathan Papelbon||Ken Giles||Nationals, Cubs, Blue Jays||Storen, Motte, Osuna|
|Aroldis Chapman||J.J. Hoover||Blue Jays, Nationals||Storen, Osuna|
|Francisco Rodriguez||Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress||Blue Jays?||Osuna|
|Jim Johnson||Arodys Vizcaino||Twins||Johnson|
|John Axford||LaTroy Hawkins||Tigers||Axford|
|David Robertson||Jake Petricka, Zach Duke||???|
|Brad Ziegler||Daniel Hudson, Oliver Perez||???|
Some brief Steals Ain’t Got No Face notes: Nori Aoki is returning from the DL today and he was in the midst of a great SAGNOF year before the injury. Jarrod Dyson stole two bases yesterday in a game he did not start which is to say he’s up to his old tricks. I expect more starts from him going forward, it seems like the Royals have faced an above average amount of lefties. Chris Owings has been seeing quite a few starts at second base for the Diamondbacks and is worth checking into. And finally a trade deadline note, if Troy Tulowitzki is somehow traded Trevor Story could be promoted and he’s hit 16 home runs and stolen 15 bases across 88 AA and AAA games this year.