July 13, 2016
Special Update (Part 1 of 2 — check back tomorrow for the National League)
BUY+: This player has a strong chance (at least 50%) of becoming a closer by the trade deadline.
BUY: This player has a small chance (at least 20%) of becoming a closer by the trade deadline.
SELL: This player has a small chance (at least 20%) of losing his closer job by the trade deadline.
SELL+: This player has a large chance (at least 50%) of losing his closer job by the trade deadline.
TL;DR – AL relievers
BUY+: Andrew Miller.
BUY: Dellin Betances; Trevor May; Cam Bedrosian; Ryan Dull.
SELL: Koji Uehara; Brandon Kintzler; Huston Street; Ryan Madson.
SELL+: Sam Dyson.
Baltimore Orioles — The first-place Orioles have one of the best bullpens in the American League, and are not expected to make any moves. Ace set-up man Darren O’Day will rejoin the team over the weekend, although he has no timeline yet to return to the mound. BUY/SELL: None.
Boston Red Sox — Our first draft of this blurb advised that Boston might trade for middle relief help like Brad Ziegler. Now that the submariner calls Fenway home, GM Dave Dombrowski said that the bullpen was “pretty well set.” Craig Kimbrel’s prolonged absence might make him reconsider, however; the team’s current closer and top set-up guy were each born in the 1970s. An internal option to bolster the relief corps is 23-year-old Chandler Shepherd, who has excelled at Portland and Pawtucket this season. SELL: Koji Uehara.
New York Yankees — The Yankees hit the .500 mark in their final game before the break, and they continue to debate whether to buy or sell on the trade market. Whether they can contend this year or not, breaking up their ostentatious bullpen seems necessary — there are too many holes in the walls to keep the Lamborghini. If either Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller is traded, Miller seems a lock to close somewhere. In the unlikely event that both men go, Dellin Betances will get his shot. BUY+: Andrew Miller, BUY: Dellin Betances.
Tampa Bay Rays — All-Star Alex Colome has been one of the only bright spots in a truly dismal season for the Rays. The team might move one of their lefthanded set-up men, but that’s not going to impact anyone’s ninth. BUY/SELL: None.
Toronto Blue Jays — Toronto moved early, acquiring Jason Grilli from Atlanta way back in June. Although they might still be in the market to buy (Brandon Kintzler) or sell (Drew Storen) a middle reliever, Roberto Osuna’s job is safe. It seems likely that the impact set-up man the Jays will count on most down the stretch is currently their best starter. BUY/SELL: None.
Chicago White Sox — After a great start, the Sox are scuffling near the .500 mark. If the team decides to reinforce the bullpen, it’s not likely that they bring in a name big enough to unseat David Robertson. BUY/SELL: None.
Cleveland Indians — Cleveland has opened up a 6.5-game lead in the division, and Cody Allen is a fixture in the closer role. BUY/SELL: None.
Detroit Tigers — The Tigers are happy with their bullpen, including the rejuvenated Bruce Rondon and the ageless K-Rod — who has a real chance to retire holding the career saves record. BUY/SELL: None.
Kansas City Royals — Kansas City’s bullpen is as dominant as ever (2.95 ERA in relief), and Wade Davis expects to return after the minimum 15-day stay on the disabled list. BUY/SELL: None.
Minnesota Twins — Brandon Kintzler has gotten some attention lately, and even manager Paul Molitor has admitted that his closer might be headed out the door. With arbitration-eligible lefty Fernando Abad also a trade target, it’s converted starter Trevor May who could stand to benefit most from a possible fire sale. BUY: Trevor May, SELL: Brandon Kintzler.
Houston Astros — Houston is in the thick of the wild card race and has a surprisingly impressive bullpen (4.75 K-BB ratio!) to thank for it. If life were a baseball sim, the team might consider flipping Will Harris before he reverts to the mean, but it’s not. Life is a location-based augmented-reality game sometimes played on a baseball field. BUY/SELL: None.
Los Angeles Angels — Huston Street’s injuries and struggles have depressed his market, but a move isn’t entirely out of the question. Joe Smith is also a possibility to be traded in what has become a lost season for the Angels. BUY: Cam Bedrosian, SELL: Huston Street.
Seattle Mariners — If Seattle is going to make a push for the playoffs, they might consider an upgrade at closer — although it’s unlikely that they have the prospects needed to get that kind of return. In any event, Steve Cishek’s peripherals are still solid, and we don’t think the Mariners are going to give up on him yet. Joaquin Benoit is more likely to see a change of scenery. BUY/SELL: None.
Texas Rangers — By any metric, the Rangers have the worst bullpen in the American League, a fact they desperately want to change before October. Although Keone Kela should return this week, Texas could be in the market for someone like Jeremy Jeffress, Will Smith, or even Andrew Miller. SELL+: Sam Dyson.