July 31, 2018
Houston Astros – The Astros traded one headache for another, acquiring Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna in exchange for Ken Giles. Osuna, eligible to return on Sunday, probably won’t close for the Astros, as Hector Rondon has been nails since taking over the job, but he’ll likely get the first bite at the apple should Rondon falter.
Hierarchy remains: Rondon | McHugh | Pressly.
Toronto Blue Jays – John Gibbons said that Ken Giles will get the chance to close at some point for the Blue Jays. We’re guessing there will be a feeling out process first and that he won’t move into the role immediately, but we’re still starting him out just behind Ryan Tepera, and he could climb to the top quickly.
Updated hierarchy: *Tepera | Giles | Clippard.
* = closer-by-committee
Atlanta Braves – Brad Brach got his first action for Atlanta last night, pitching a scoreless 8th inning ahead of AJ Minter. We were close to removing Minter’s asterisk before the Brach trade, and we’ll plan to do so should the Braves continue to deploy them in this fashion.
Hierarchy remains: *Minter | Brach | Winkler.
* = closer-by-committee
Minnesota Twins – The Twins traded Zach Duke to Seattle last night. They also got Addison Reed back from the DL. We’ll make the requisite hierarchy change, but hopefully you owned neither of these guys and this doesn’t matter to you.
Updated hierarchy: Rodney | Hildenberger | Reed.
Seattle Mariners – Edwin Diaz became the first player to reach 40 saves and we aren’t even in August yet. Pat yourself on the back if you drafted him, as he’s now on pace for a 60-save season, which would put him just short of the MLB record (62) set by Francisco Rodriguez. Also, look for the newly-acquired Zach Duke to share 7th inning duties with James Pazos, Nick Vincent and others.
Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Colome | Pazos.
St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals placed Luke Gregerson on the DL yesterday, and the righty appears unlikely to pitch again this season. We’ll give his spot on the hierarchy to the recently-acquired Chasen Shreve.
Updated hierarchy: Norris | Hicks | Shreve.
Texas Rangers – After the trade of Keone Kela to the Pirates, the Rangers turned to Jake Diekman in the 9th inning. It didn’t end up being a save since the Rangers added a run in the 9th to make it a four-run lead, but it seems likely Diekman will, at least, share the closer role with Jose LeClerc, if not more. However, Diekman could also potentially be traded later today, so LeClerc should probably be added either way.
Updated hierarchy: Diekman | LeClerc | Claudio.
Pittsburgh Pirates – The Pirates have acquired former Rangers’ closer Keone Kela. Felipe Vazquez should hang on to the closer’s job with Kela sliding into a set-up role alongside Kyle Crick.
Updated hierarchy: Vazquez | Kela | Crick.
VULTURE SAVE WATCH
1. Craig Stammen – Kirby Yates threw 2 innings last night.
2. Tony Watson – Will Smith has pitched in back to back games, including 1.1 innings last night.
3-9. Jose LeClerc, Jose Alvarado, Jordan Hicks, Trevor Hildenberger, Justin Anderson, Jared Hughes, Drew Steckenrider – These guys are all sitting right behind closers who could conceivably be moved today. (Craig Stammen would be here too, but he’s already listed above.) If you’re looking to speculate on who might be closing by this afternoon, consider this order to be our confidence index — start at the beginning of this list and work your way down.
1. Alex Colome/James Pazos – If Edwin Diaz or Alex Colome go tonight, it’ll be three straight.
2. Jordan Hicks – If Bud Norris goes today, it’ll be back to back and three of four.