Chapman close to being dealt, Strickland records save

July 24, 2016

New York Yankees – There have been rumors of a lot of teams being interested in Aroldis Chapman and it looks like the Yankees are ready to finish up the process.  Andrew Miller has been in rumors as well, but it sounds like the Yankees might hold on to him.

Hierarchy remains: Chapman | Miller | Betances.

San Francisco Giants – Hunter Strickland recorded his second save of the season in extra innings last night.  Santiago Casilla picked up the win, pitching two scoreless innings.  Sergio Romo was also used earlier in the game, which left Strickland for the save.

Hierarchy remains: Casilla | Romo | Strickland.

Texas Rangers — Jake Diekman returned from the disabled list Friday and threw a scoreless inning.  He should immediately return to his set-up role, and could see the occasional save chance when Sam Dyson is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Bush.

Baltimore Orioles — Darren O’Day could be activated from the disabled list today or tomorrow.  The Orioles will be happy to have him back in their bullpen and O’Day will be happy to get away from Double-A Bowie and probably the worst jersey he has ever worn.

Hierarchy remains: Britton |  Brach | Givens.

Seattle Mariners — Wade LeBlanc pitched the last three innings of a Mariners blowout win to record his first save of the season. He didn’t pitch particularly well, giving up three runs, and he will not be seeing any high leverage late inning action any time soon.

Hierarchy remains: Cishek | Diaz | Benoit.

 

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Brad Brach, Baltimore Orioles – Zach Britton has pitched in four straight.
2. Fernando Abad/Trevor May, Minnesota Twins – Brandon Kintzler has pitched in four of the past five.  Lefty Fernando Abad could get the call with Kintzler likely unavailable or the Twins could use hard throwing righty Trevor May if the match-ups dictate it.
3. Chasen Shreve, New York Yankees – The big three of Chapman, Miller, and Betances have all pitched in back-to-back games, with each throwing at least 37 pitches.
4. Shawn Kelley, Washington Nationals – Jonathan Papelbon has pitched in two straight games.

Updated MLB Closer Depth Chart

Closer 1st in line 2nd in line Updated Closer 1st in line 2nd in line Updated
BAL Britton Brach Givens 7/24/16 ATL Johnson Cabrera Alvarez 7/16/16
BOS Ziegler Tazawa Barnes 7/22/16 MIA Ramos Rodney Phelps 7/2/16
NYY Chapman Miller Betances 7/24/16 NYM Familia Reed Robles 7/23/16
TB Colome Cedeno Ramirez 7/20/16 PHI Gomez Neris Ramos 7/7/16
TOR Osuna Grilli Storen 6/30/16 WAS Papelbon Kelley Rivero 7/4/16
.                    
CHW Robertson Jones Duke 7/22/16 CHC Rondon Strop Wood 6/23/16
CLE Allen Shaw Otero 7/7/16 CIN Cingrani Ohlendorf Iglesias 7/16/16
DET Rodriguez J.Wilson Rondon 7/22/16 MIL Jeffress Thornburg Smith 7/6/16
KC Davis Herrera Soria 7/17/16 PIT Melancon Feliz Watson 7/20/16
MIN Kintzler Abad May 7/10/16 STL Oh Siegrist Broxton 7/16/16
    .            
HOU Harris Gregerson Giles 7/7/16 ARI *Clippard Barrett Hudson 7/18/16
LAA Street Bedrosian Salas 7/2/16 COL Estevez Ottavino Motte 7/19/16
OAK Madson Dull Axford 7/11/16 LAD Jansen Liberatore Blanton 7/22/16
SEA Cishek Diaz Benoit 7/24/16 SD Maurer Buchter Hand 7/23/16
TEX Dyson Diekman Bush 7/24/16 SF Casilla Romo Strickland 7/24/16

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* = closer-by-committee

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Edwin Diaz and Brad Hand are making moves

July 23, 2016

Seattle Mariners — Edwin Diaz pitched the eighth inning of a one-run game and added two more strikeouts to his league-leading 44 relief strikeouts since his June 6 debut. A converted starter, Diaz has a plus fastball and an incredible 18.3 K/9 ratio this season. All that’s holding him back thus far is his age (22), but four straight eighth-inning appearances suggests that Scott Servais is coming around to using him over Joaquin Benoit. It may be hard for Diaz to keep up his otherworldly ratios, but he could still see save chances soon.

Updated hierarchy: Cishek | Diaz | Benoit.

San Diego Padres — Lefty Brad Hand pitched the eighth inning in a three-run game; although he gave up a run, he earned his third hold in the last week, edging him past Kevin Quackenbush in our hierarchy. Hand could see another promotion soon, as Ryan Buchter has been drawing interest from teams in the market for lefthanded relief help.

Updated hierarchy: Maurer | Buchter | Hand. 

New York Mets — Hansel Robles pitched a solid sixth and seventh to earn the win on Friday. Robles has seen his role expand in the New York bullpen, while Jerry Blevins has been used as more of a LOOGY.

Updated hierarchy: Familia | Reed | Robles.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs — Hector Rondon has pitched in four of the last five games, including a 22-pitch outing last night.
2. Fernando Abad, Minnesota Twins — Brandon Kintzler worked in and out of a jam on Friday, needing 24 pitches to close out the Red Sox. He’s gone in three of four now, while the rest of the Twins’ pen is well-rested.
3. Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies — Carlos Estevez pitched in his third straight game on Friday. Ottavino has been excellent since his return and may get a shot at a save on Saturday.

Adam Liberatore continues ascent in Dodgers bullpen

July 22, 2016

Los Angeles Dodgers – Adam Liberatore continued his impressive run on Thursday, pitching a clean eighth inning to set things up for closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth. In fact, Liberatore has pitched the eighth inning ahead of Jansen twice this week and has not allowed a run since May 18, when he forked over his only two earned runs allowed this season (0.56 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, nine holds).

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Liberatore | Blanton.

Boston Red Sox — Converted starter Joe Kelly, currently at Triple-A Pawtucket, could help a beleaguered Red Sox bullpen without Carson Smith, Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara for an extended period of time. There’s no word on when Kelly will make it back with the big club, but reinforcements are returning, as Junichi Tazawa will be activated from the disabled list later today. Meanwhile, has anyone seen Clay Buchholz?

Updated hierarchy: Ziegler | Tazawa | Barnes.

Detroit Tigers – As the Vulture Save Watch foresaw, closer Francisco Rodriguez had the night off Thursday, albeit because the game was called after the top of the 7th inning due to rain. We’ll still gloat about it. Shane Greene got the last two outs of the sixth inning, leaving the bases loaded in a 2-1 win. It was his first save since Opening Day, when he closed the door in the 11th after K-Rod allowed three game-tying runs in the ninth.

Hierarchy remains: Rodriguez | J.Wilson | Rondon.

Chicago White Sox — The White Sox are quickly slipping out of contention, and rumors are flying that the team is listening to offers for closer David Robertson, who is owed $29.45 million through the end of the 2018 season. With the deadline less than two weeks away, stay tuned.

Hierarchy remains: Robertson | Jones | Duke.

Major League Baseball — Commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN’s Mike and Mike Thursday that the league is looking into restricting the number of relievers teams can use in a game or inning, noting that pitching changes “slow the game down.” He added that the relievers are so good that “they actually rob action out of the end of the game.” Furious at the thought of any drastic change to how relief pitchers are implemented, the Closer Monkey was left speechless. He elected to drown his sorrows.

Hierarchy remains: Manfred | Selig | Torre.

VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Jake Barrett/Daniel Hudson, Arizona Diamondbacks — Tyler Clippard is expected to lead this up-in-the-air committee, but theoretically, any one of these three could pick up the next save chance.
2. Adam Ottavino, Colorado Rockies — Carlos Estevez threw just two pitches Thursday, but he has pitched in three of the last four and could need the night off Friday.