All in all, the MLB trade deadline wasn’t an all out bullen nuke. We have some spots that need updating but nothing more than 2020 has been throwing at us. If you’re falling behind in a category you need to attack it with an all out assault from multiple angles. See if some of these cheap sources can help you out.

  • After trading away Archie Bradley we have an opening for the Diamondbacks closer. Two young names with a shot are Stefan Crichton and Kevin Ginkel. I’d have bet good money Ginkel was the guy prior to the season. He’s had lackluster results, however. Crichton has been solid on the other hand and building trust. Junior Guerra and Hector Rondon probably get the first opps but they should be moved aside fairly quickly.
  • Aroldis Chapman has been suspended three games for throwing at Mike Brosseau. Zach Britton gets a little extra life if you were holding him on the chance Chapman stumbled.
  • We’re still trying to figure out the Cubs bullpen. Jeremy Jeffress seems to be the flavor of the week after Rowan Wick had some hiccups and Craig Kimbrel is still serving meatballs. I’m still holding out hope that Wick can rise to the top of this foul brew.
  • The Padres trading for Trevor Rosenthal makes more sense with them sending Emilio Pagan to the IL. They want a RHP compliment in the ninth for Drew Pomeranz. Pagan’s shoulder fatigue isn’t a great sign for his 2020 prospects.
  • Two relievers are getting close to return from the IL and may be worth a stash where available in Nick Anderson and Wade Davis. Anderson is less likely to be out there and may not get saves even upon return. Davis will almost definitely get back into the ninth but may not have great results aside from saves. Pick your poison.
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We know spring training is fully underway when a bunch of arms break. We’re sure to see more as soreness becomes less general and more devastating to our early drafts. The four-tier format is back for our closer report. This week, pandemic foodstuff themed tiers. I’d laugh but for fear that might cause me to cough resulting in those nearby turning mob justice on me. Let’s get to some news and notes on the reliever front first.

  • Emmanuel Clase – He of the hardest cutter in baseball is starting his Cleveland career off on a sour note. A back strain will likely sideline him for 8-12 weeks. This opens the door for fellow reliever wunderkind James Karinchak to solidify a leverage role. If you want a job relieving for Cleveland just have a hard to spell name, throw gas, and be in your early 20’s.
  • Jose Alvarado – Don’t look now but Alvarado looks sharp as ever. But Roto-Wan, Nick Anderson is *the* it closer of draft season?!? I have no issue with Anderson’s stuff, just his role. He factors into their ninth inning, no doubt. Let me ask you this, though. He saved some games for them last year since they’re a team that’s the most progressive in leverage roles, right? No? Ok, well he came over from Miami, who’s bullpen was a collection of molding leftovers. He racked up a bunch of saves there, surely? How about one save. Well, at least he’s a young prospect? Turns 30 in June. I don’t mean to rain on your Nick Anderson parade, and by “don’t” I mean I do, but he’s far from a lock. I’m betting on Alvarado seeing some of their saves as the lefty side of a committee in every league I draft that uses RPs.
  • Brandon Kintzler – Things are not off to a great start this spring for the presumptive Marlins closer. Like, walking four straight batters bad. I’d consider a spec play on Ryne Stanek early on.
  • Ryan Helsley – I’m not the Helsley guy but some people I respect (see: Matt Thompson, Nick Pollack) have made it a point to draft the young Cardinal in the late rounds. Their ninth inning is a mess to predict, as usual. Helsley also has an outside shot at the rotation it seems, depending on the health of their assumed starters.
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Rosie is the latest zombie reliever. He’s always been able to light up radar guns. He just has zero command at times, as in most of the time. The command seems to be there this spring, however. KC would love to add any talent it can to baseball’s most mediocre bullpen.
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Oh, hello random blog reader. I didn’t see you there. Don’t mind me, I’m just doing early offseason fantasy baseball research while listening to Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls On Parade” on a loop. It gets me in the proper mindset to tackle bullpens. I generally find few fantasy positions that elicit more angst than relievers. Nevertheless, I’ve hit the double-digit mark on BoP and am feeling all kinds of weird. It’s the perfect place to dip a toe into choppy reliever waters. I’ve broken down the roles while unveiling my new “Razzers” rating system (base 1-5). Is this a ploy to trick search engine’s into redirecting users searching for Brazzers? Yes. Yes, it is.

Ok, now that you’ve returned to this tab from your incognito browsing session, the Pens!

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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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The hot stove has been bubbling this winter, mostly thanks to Jerry Dipoto. Bullpen arms tend not to rank all that high in offseason coverage, so I cobbled together the notable moves for your reading pleasure. I know, I know, you’re thinking seriously ‘Wan, I’m not anywhere near the state of mind you need to think about the saves chase. There’s no rest for the closing wicked when it comes to the bullpen landscape, I’m afraid.

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I was waiting for Manny Machado or Bryce Harper to sign before dropping the last bit of offseason signings before the rankings that start on Monday, but apparently the Phillies only have $300 million for each, and they want $325-plus respectively, so we need to go forward with the news without Machado and Bryce.  The last bit of big news was Yusei Kikuchi signing with the Mariners.  He reminds me of every other Japanese pitcher, but not in a raycess way.  He reminds me of Miles Mikolas too, who was only Asian after being reborn.  It’s something about Asian pitchers, and non-Asian pitchers who go to Asia and return; they exercise some serious control.  Maybe it’s the culture.  I had a robot watch Gung Ho 15,000 times to tell me what it thinks and now the robot is speaking super-racist.  Yo, robot, why are you so culturally inappropriate?  “I have no culture of my own, so I adopt yours.  And I kill puppies.”  AHHH!!!  ROBOT MURDERER!!!  RUN!!!  Or roll your swivel chair towards a door if running is too much for you.  Kikuchi, which is going to be fun for me to say this year, comes with a lot less fanfare than Ohtani, but I do think he can be better than him, pitching-wise, in his first full season.  Ohtani is a unicorn in Babe Ruth’s body, we all know this.  Kikuchi reminds me of Mikolas and Ryu and others in that mold.  He’s a decent strikeout guy, but won’t blow people away, while also having impeccable command.  I’m definitely looking to draft him this year, then passing him up every other year when he fails to throw 130 IP in consecutive seasons because the Japanese also completely overwork their starters.  In fact (Grey’s got more!), the Mariners have already said Kikuchi will only throw an inning or so every fifth or sixth start to try to preemptively avoid the inevitable arm injury that befalls every Japanese starter.  For 2019, I’ll give Kikuchi projections of 9-7/3.67/1.18/136 in 151 IP.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this offseason for 2019 fantasy baseball:

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Kendrys hit it? Yes he can. Blue Jays first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales homered in his fifth straight game Friday night and now has a total of six jacks in five nights! KEN-DRYS do it again!? I don’t know! The B-Jays have won four in a row and Morales extended his hitting streak to eight games and is hitting .571 in the past week with five multi hit games, seven runs scored and nine RBI. Kendrys is available in over half of fantasy leagues and he’s hotter than Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s sex life. Which I hear is very steamy. That was a fairly on trend reference though, right?  Speaking of trendy, it’s Players Weekend, HE’LL YALL! That means dope cleats, mostly ugly/funny uniforms (I can’t tell if I like the Rays hats or hate them so much), and of course: terrible nicknames. This is a good opportunity to tell if your favorite player has a good personality or not. Some of the nicknames are clever or fun (SABANERO SOY? yes please, and Brad Boxberger gets millennials), but if a guy just adds a -y or an -ie he’s probably a pretty lame dude so I guess it’s a good thing he’s so good at baseball. Kendrys chose to wear “MONINA,” which I tried Googling but couldn’t get a proper translation so I’ll just assume it means “Only Hits In August.” Well, it’s still August for another week and despite how long he chose to wait to get en fuego, Kendrys Morales was a BUY and is one of the hottest hitters in the league right and I’d ride him while he’s hitting all the baseballs.

Here’s what else I saw in fantasy baseball Friday night featuring more dumb nicknames than you’ve ever wanted:

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The trading deadline is days away and the roles they are a changing.  In comes one out goes the other.  Closers losing value left and right while the waiver wire warriors of the world are circling like buzzards for the SAGNOF scrap heaps. The latest in the foray of closers to go is Joakim Soria, now a Brewer.  The White Sox closer role is likely to go to Jace Fry or Juan Minaya.  Not an awesome situation or a good predicament to be in, but a closer is a closer.  The SAGNOF model should be: “Leave no good save behind”.   Similarly, the Orioles traded Zach Britton to the Evil Empire, Brad Brach assumes the role there for the time being or until he gets traded for assets that the Orioles can ruin.  The trade winds and finalized deals don’t help the set-up man either, as key components to the back-end game have been replaced by acquired talent.  This is life for the ever building bullpen foundation of playoff contending teams.  Build from the back, because the girth of talent that exists in the starters just isn’t there. So if you are currently zonked from losing a closer that no longer has a professional job of closing, it is time to speculate where speculating looks speculative.  Look at guys on the secondary for teams that are rumored to be wheelin’ and dealin’.  The Rangers, Nationals, Twins, Rays, Tigers, and to a lesser degree maybe the Cardinals… Be ahead of the curve instead of being caught looking at Uncle Charlie.  Closer news is fluid this time of year, and by the time this gets posted there could be 2-3 more trades that make me look even dumber than I already do.  More after the jump, with success stories and diminishing returns.  Cheers!

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Zach Britton was traded to the Yankees.  The Yankees acquired Britton to throw out all Boston players’ tea.  Now the Yankees just need to acquire Ben Revere to ride into Boston and tell everyone in Fenway what’s up.  “Excuse me, Jimmy McMalley, should we Google when the Yankees are coming to town next?”  “I don’t think that’s necessary, Shane O’Irishharvard, the Yankees have a lovely black gentleman riding into town named Revere with a Britton”  “Splendid, Jimmy, splendid.”  And that’s how Massholes discuss current events.  Britton now moves about three innings from the ninth.  Is he gonna pitch the 6th?  Not sure, to be honest, but he’s not closing, so in most leagues you can drop him.  As for Baltimore’s new closer?  Like neon scrunchies, what’s old is new again, and Brad Brach should regain the closer job.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

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