July 10, 2019
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+: Joe Biagini
BUY: Shawn Armstrong, Nathan Eovaldi, Emilio Pagan, Joe Jimenez, Aaron Bummer
SELL: Mychal Givens, Red Sox relievers not named Nathan Eovaldi, Shane Greene, Taylor Rogers, Alex Colome
Baltimore Orioles — The Orioles are a bad team with a bad bullpen. Some contenders may be interested in Mychal Givens, who has a team-high six saves. If Givens is traded, he certainly won’t close and would be slightly valuable only in a holds league that ignores every other pitching stat but strikeouts. Shawn Armstrong and Paul Fry would benefit the most from Givens’ departure, but you’d have to be pretty desperate to actually want to buy either of them. BUY: Shawn Armstrong; SELL: Mychal Givens.
Boston Red Sox — The Red Sox certainly need bullpen help, but just how desperate they get will depend on the next few weeks and the state of the market for high-end relievers. Boston is currently pushing to add a starter, which means that the team will keep Nathan Eovaldi at closer when he returns from the IL, at least for now. Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, and Heath Hembree will see their opportunities to blow saves diminish when Eovaldi returns. If you think the Sox will acquire a real closer, feel free to sell high on Eovaldi, but should the Sox focus on only their rotation, Eovaldi could be worth buying. BUY: Nathan Eovaldi; SELL: Everyone else.
New York Yankees — The first-place Yankees boast a top closer in Aroldis Chapman, and his role is safe heading into the deadline. Don’t be surprised if New York adds even more depth to their bullpen, however; Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino have been good but not great this season. BUY/SELL: None.
Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays are in an interesting position heading into the trade deadline. The team is in the postseason hunt, but after a rough last six weeks, it’s unclear whether they’ll go all-in for a possible spot in the Wild Card game. One name the Rays have been linked with is Joe Jimenez. Would he close for the Rays? It wouldn’t be out of the question given the struggles and injury concerns with Jose Alvarado and Diego Castillo. If the Rays don’t make a trade and Emilio Pagan gets hot, Alvarado and Castillo will be on the outside looking in anyway. We’ll list Pagan as a sneaky buy, but tread lightly with this committee. BUY: Emilio Pagan.
Toronto Blue Jays — Teams have been asking the Jays about Ken Giles, and if he goes to a club like the Twins, he’d almost certainly become their closer. Giles’ value after July 31 is extremely dependent on where he goes, but it’s highly unlikely he remains in Toronto past the deadline. That’s good news for Joe Biagini owners, as he’ll likely take over the ninth. Daniel Hudson could see some looks too, but his name has also been mentioned in trade rumors. BUY+: Joe Biagini.
Chicago White Sox — Alex Colome has 20 saves and a WHIP well under 1.00 at the All-Star break and while the White Sox are surprisingly hanging around .500 this season, Colome appears to be a prime trade candidate. Colome probably won’t close if traded to a contender. If he is dealt, Aaron Bummer could get the first chance at the Chicago closer’s job as he’s been great thus far. BUY: Aaron Bummer; SELL: Alex Colome.
Cleveland Indians — Less than a month ago, when the Indians were more than 10 games behind the Twins, it was rumored that they might trade closer Brad Hand. Now that Cleveland has pulled within 5.5 games of Minnesota and hold the second wild card position, it seems more likely that they’ll hold on to their All-Star closer. BUY/SELL: None.
Detroit Tigers — Shane Greene was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, and even though he’s still a year away from free agency, now is probably the time for the Tigers to try and move him. There’s a chance Greene could continue to close for the right team, but it’s more likely he’ll move to a set-up role. The Dodgers are interested, and Greene would lose most of his fantasy value setting up Kenley Jansen. Joe Jimenez has taken a step back from last season when he filled in at closer, but he is still the most likely candidate to close if Greene moves. BUY: Joe Jimenez; SELL: Shane Greene.
Kansas City Royals — Ian Kennedy is having a solid season in relief for the Royals and could draw some interest at the deadline. However, the fact that he is signed for over $16 million both this year and next makes it more likely that he’ll stay with the Royals and continue to close. BUY/SELL: None.
Minnesota Twins — The Twins are one of the biggest surprises of the first half and they’ll almost certainly be looking for bullpen help at the trade deadline. Taylor Rogers has been great this year, but the Twins were pursuing Craig Kimbrel before he signed with the Cubs, so they could be in the market for a new closer. Will Smith and Ken Giles are two guys Minnesota is rumored to be interested in; either would supplant Rogers as closer. SELL: Taylor Rogers.
Houston Astros — The Astros seem locked into a playoff slot and the current trade rumors concern potential starting pitchers. The team’s active roster, however, contains zero lefty relievers, so they could still make a move, whether for a current closer like Will Smith or Kirby Yates, or a lower-leverage option like Tony Watson. Only Smith would have any case to close over Roberto Osuna, and we don’t think it’s happening. BUY/SELL: None.
Los Angeles Angels — The Angels are floating around .500 and are not expected to be players in the bullpen trade market. BUY/SELL: None.
Oakland Athletics — Oakland has discussed the possibility of beefing up its bullpen this summer, but any reinforcements will likely be slated for the middle innings, rather than challenging All-Star Liam Hendriks for the ninth. At least one beat writer has them in the market for Smith, Yates, and some other big names, though. BUY/SELL: None.
Texas Rangers — A resurgent Matt Bush was set to rejoin Texas, but he suffered a torn elbow ligament last week. A stark lack of experience behind the top three relievers in the Rangers’ bullpen will likely mean a trade for bullpen help this month — but not a major deal that will totally reshuffle the late innings. BUY/SELL: None.