Andrew Miller traded to the Indians

July 31, 2016

Cleveland Indians – Sunday began with a bang as closer Andrew Miller was traded to the Indians for several prospects. It’s unclear who will close for Cleveland right away, though one beat writer is guessing Miller will supplant Cody Allen. Follow this page for updates.

Updated hierarchy: Miller | Allen | Shaw.

New York Yankees – The Yankees’ Big Three is down to one, and the last man standing is the big young righty Dellin Betances. He should close for the remainder of the season, unless the Yankees find a way to trade him over the next two days, too.

Updated hierarchy: Betances | Warren | Swarzak.

Jake Barrett to see more saves for Arizona

July 31, 2016

Arizona Diamondbacks – Jake Barrett got the final four outs of the game last night to record his third save of the season.  The young right hander has impressed manager Chip Hale, who says that Barrett has earned more save chances.  We will move Barrett to the head of the committee for now, and if he is successful in his next couple save chances, he could drop the asterisk and get a chance at the full time closer’s job for the rest of the season.

Hierarchy remains: *Barrett | Clippard |  Hudson. 
* = closer-by-committee

Kansas City Royals — Closer Wade Davis went back to Kansas City on Saturday night for an MRI on his sore right arm.  He has not been placed on the DL but this is not a good sign for Davis, who just returned from the DL a few weeks ago.  We will continue to monitor his status.

Hierarchy remains: Davis | Herrera | Soria.

Washington Nationals — Newly acquired Mark Melancon has been confirmed as the new closer for the Washington Nationals. The Nationals former closer Jonathan Papelbon was reportedly on board with the trade, but this is the first time Papelbon will not be closing games since 2005.  Papelbon has really struggled recently, and he is going to need to pitch better if he wants to see some save chances when Melancon is unavailable.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Papelbon | Kelley.

Pittsburgh Pirates — The Pirates traded Mark Melancon to Washington for multiple players, including reliever Felipe Rivero. GM Neal Huntington has named Tony Watson the closer, with Neftali Feliz spelling him if necessary and Rivero pitching the seventh.

Updated hierarchy: Watson | Feliz | Rivero.

Los Angeles Angels – Joe Smith, who has been the subject of trade rumors, pitched 1.1 scoreless innings ahead of Bedrosian and Street on Saturday.  Smith hasn’t allowed a run since the All-Star break and should continue to be used in the later innings if he stays in LA.

Updated hierarchy: Street | Bedrosian | Smith.

1. Kelvin Herrera, Kansas City Royals – Wade Davis is having an MRI on his right arm.
2. Tyler Thornburg/Will Smith, Milwaukee Brewers – Jeremy Jeffress has pitched in three straight.  Thornburg will likely get the call unless match-ups dictate a need for lefty Will Smith to finish the game.
3. Trevor May, Minnesota Twins – Brandon Kintzler and Fernando Abad have both appeared in three straight.
4. Hector Rondon/Pedro Strop, Chicago Cubs – Aroldis Chapman blew his first save yesterday and has pitched in 3 of the last four.  Rondon has also pitched in three of the last four, but has thrown less than 10 pitches in each appearance.
5. Dan Otero, Cleveland Indians – Cody Allen has pitched in two straight, and three of the past four.  Brian Shaw has also pitched in two straight, and four of the past five.
6. Xavier Cedeno, Tampa Bay Rays – Alex Colome has pitched in two straight, and three of the past four.

Pirates deal Mark Melancon to Nationals

July 30, 2016

Pittsburgh Pirates — The Pirates traded Mark Melancon to Washington for multiple players, including reliever Felipe Rivero. GM Neal Huntington has named Tony Watson the closer, with Neftali Feliz spelling him if necessary and Rivero pitching the seventh.

Updated hierarchy: Watson | Feliz | Rivero.

Washington Nationals — The Nationals acquired closer Mark Melancon from the Pirates in exchange for multiple players, including Felipe Rivero. Melancon, who has been excellent this season, is expected to take over the ninth inning for Jonathan Papelbon.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Papelbon | Kelley.


Pirates, Nationals, and Braves deep in trade deadline drama

July 30, 2016

Pittsburgh Pirates — The Pirates are fielding offers from the Nationals, Indians, and Giants for closer Mark Melancon. Although Pittsburgh is in the playoff hunt and Melancon has been one of the most effective closers in the game, the team may be looking to improve other areas of its roster while trusting some combination of Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson in the ninth. Watson, a lefty, has owned the eighth most of the year, while Feliz has 98 career saves and better peripherals, including a 10.3 K/9 ratio. We still give Feliz a slight edge, but both could be excellent speculative adds; the Pirates are a good team that plays a lot of close games.

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Feliz | Watson.

Washington Nationals — After the Nationals’ bullpen was rescued in the eighth by a triple play, Felipe Rivero headed out for the save situation. Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable after pitching in four of the last six games. Rivero got the first two outs before giving up a single and being pulled for Shawn Kelley, who secured the vulture save. Although GM Mike Rizzo gave Papelbon a vote of confidence after the game, Dusty Baker suggested that the righthander would be examined after the game and could be headed to the DL. Whether it’s an injury, trade, or straight-up demotion, either way Papelbon is sitting on a burning hot seat.

Hierarchy remains: Papelbon | Kelley | Rivero.

Atlanta Braves — Jim Johnson picked up his fifth save of the year by successfully protecting a one-run lead last night. With Atlanta in selling mode, however, teams like the Mets are inquiring about Johnson, and the Braves could be close to moving him. If he gets traded, it seems that Mauricio Cabrera — who pitched another clean eighth for his third straight hold — would get the first crack at saves.

Hierarchy remains: Johnson | Cabrera | Withrow.

Tampa Bay Rays — Former All-Star closer Brad Boxberger was activated from the disabled list on Friday. Although he’s unlikely to unseat Alex Colome, he should immediately enter the late-inning conversation, just ahead of Kevin Jepsen and Erasmo Ramirez.

Updated hierarchy: Colome | Cedeno | Boxberger.

Texas Rangers — Three holds over the last week entitles Keone Kela to return to the Rangers hierarchy.

Updated hierarchy: Dyson | Diekman | Kela.

San Diego Padres — The Padres acquired Carter Capps in a seven-player deal with Miami. Capps is out for the year after Tommy John surgery, but is a strong candidate to close in San Diego next season.

Hierarchy remains: Maurer | Buchter | Hand. 

1. Chris Withrow, Atlanta Braves — Both Jim Johnson and Mauricio Cabrera have pitched in three of four games.