Arodys Vizcaino, Hector Rondon ascend to closer roles

July 30, 2015

Atlanta Braves — Although it hasn’t been finalized, there are multiple independent reports that Jim Johnson has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The void he leaves should be filled by Arodys Vizcaino. The 24-year-old has the power arm managers value in a closer, and has been named as a potential replacement for Jim Johnson ever since the Grilli injury. Behind him, veterans David Aardsma and Jason Frasor are likely to get more late-inning looks as well. We’ll keep an eye on how the first few save opportunities go for the Braves, but Vizcaino is the guy to own for now.

Updated hierarchy: Vizcaino | Frasor | Aardsma.

Chicago Cubs – A day after Joe Maddon said that he needed to “do something” with the bullpen, Hector Rondon resumed the closer’s role after he struck out two to earn his 13th save of the season in a 3-2 Cubs win. Maddon also praised Pedro Strop on Tuesday night, and with former closer Jason Motte pitching in a five-run loss on Tuesday, we’ll move Strop ahead of Motte for now.

Updated hierarchy: Rondon | Strop | Motte.

Los Angeles Dodgers — LA has apparently acquired Jim Johnson from Atlanta, along with lefty Luis Avilan, giving the Dodgers an incredibly deep bullpen. We don’t think Johnson will challenge Kenley Jansen for save opportunities, but we do slot him ahead of Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell, Juan Nicasio, recently recalled Yimi Garcia, and Avilan, all of whom have been effective in high-leverage work.

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Johnson | Baez.

Tampa Bay Rays — The Rays are all but out of the race this year, and have been floating Brad Boxberger’s name as a potential trade piece. Last night he was used for only the third time in a game the Rays were trailing, which may have been a last-chance audition before the trade deadline. While he’s in Tampa, he’s still the closer, but if he gets moved, Jake McGee would be worthy of an immediate add (if he’s not already taken).

Hierarchy remains: Boxberger | McGee | Jepsen.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Amidst the rumors of the Diamondbacks trading for Aroldis Chapman, they called up former closer Addison Reed. Reed pitched two scoreless innings, and with his $4.9 million salary, he may be auditioning for a new job.

Hierarchy remains: Ziegler | Hudson | Hernandez.

Texas Rangers – Jake Diekman was included as a part of deal that brought Cole Hamels to Texas. Diekman may have had some sleeper value while still with the Phillies because they could sell off anybody at this point, but that is pretty much gone in Texas, where he’d have to jump several better arms to get into the late-inning mix.

Hierarchy remains: Tolleson | Kela | Scheppers.

1. J.J. Hoover, Cincinnati Reds – Aroldis Chapman has pitched in two straight, and more importantly might be traded or held out pending a trade as rumors swirl.
2. Aaron Sanchez, Toronto Blue Jays – Sanchez and Roberto Osuna will be sharing the 8th and 9th innings.