StrategyJuly 27, 2012

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Bottom of the 9th: Closer Trading Over?

By R.J. White

The names Huston Street, Rafael Betancourt and Chris Perez have come up in trade rumors this month, but at this point, the only remaining closer who is even a 50/50 bet to change teams is Jonathan Broxton. The Royals are looking for MLB-ready starting pitching in a Broxton deal — who might bite? With the new rules preventing an acquiring team from landing a compensatory pick next year, it’s hard to imagine someone meeting that price. If it happens, Greg Holland should get the first crack at closing. That’s about it for AL Closer Talk. Now let’s get to all of the NL drama.

Now Closing

MIL Bernie Brewer
It might as well be. Francisco Rodriguez was named the closer just a short while ago, but after picking up two straight saves, he’s been so bad that the Brewers are moving to a closer-by-committee. BB-Rod has given up seven runs and seven walks over his last three outings while only recording seven outs. He also has about a seven percent chance of seeing the Brewers’ next save opportunity. The only guy to own in this ‘pen is John Axford, who has been ringing up scoreless outings over the past week. He may not get the next save for the team — that could be anyone — but he’s likely the only Brewer reliever with long-term value.


ARI J.J. Putz
ATL Craig Kimbrel
BAL Jim Johnson
BOS Alfredo Aceves
CHW Addison Reed
CIN Aroldis Chapman
CLE Chris Perez
COL Rafael Betancourt
DET Jose Valverde
LAA Ernesto Frieri/Scott Downs
LAD Kenley Jansen
MIN Jared Burton/Glen Perkins
NYY Rafael Soriano
OAK Ryan Cook
PHI Jonathan Papelbon
PIT Joel Hanrahan
SD Huston Street
SEA Tom Wilhelmsen
STL Jason Motte
TB Fernando Rodney
TEX Joe Nathan
TOR Casey Janssen
WAS Tyler Clippard

Safe … For Now

SF Santiago Casilla
Casilla seems to be righting the ship, but the Giants have their eye on Chris Perez. Since Perez is under control through 2014, the Giants would presumably have to offer a pretty good prospect to land the quality closer. If they do, the Indians should take him and laugh all the way to the bank, or wherever teams stuck in mediocrity on a yearly basis deposit their money.

MIA Steve Cishek
While Cishek hasn’t been named the everyday closer and the team is still under the guise of implementing a committee, it’s only a matter of time. If the Marlins can’t trade Heath Bell — and who would actually take him? — the overpaid deposed closer may wind up back in the saddle before long. Still, Cishek and his 2.00 ERA deserve a spot on fantasy teams whether he’s closing or not.

CHC Carlos Marmol
Marmol has no competition pushing him, no one that would take him and his contract in a trade and likely no chance of losing the job again barring anything resembling competency. So why’s he here? He’s struggling to even provide mediocre numbers. In Marmol’s last six outings, he’s put multiple guys on base five times. If the Cubs do manage to trade away their quality starting pitching, there probably won’t be many more save opportunities for anyone in the Chicago ‘pen.

NYM Bobby Parnell
Frank Francisco is out on rehab, meaning Parnell’s time as closer could be coming to an end. With the Mets collapse coming right on time, they probably aren’t in the mood to trade anything of value for actual bullpen help, meaning a new closer probably isn’t on the way. Hey, I bet they can get Marmol! The Mets probably won’t be inserting Frank-squared back into the closer role immediately, so Parnell owners should be able to squeeze a save or two out of him.

HOU Francisco Cordero
“Welcome to Houston. We’d like you to close for us.” “Certainly. How does back-to-back three-run losses sound?” I don’t know what the Astros expected — unless this is it. After all, they’re clearly gunning to grab a second No. 1 overall pick. The Astros will likely decide to give Wilton Lopez a closing audition at some point this year, as his peripheral stats point to a guy with a lot of ninth-inning potential. If Houston was hoping to flip Cordero to another team looking for relief, fail.

R.J. White is the head editor at the Cafe and has previously written for FanHouse, Razzball and FanDuel. Catch up with him in the forums under the name daullaz. Follow him on Twitter; don't follow him in real life.
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