Recapping a busy day of trades and back injuries

August 3, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates – David Bednar hasn’t pitched since Friday, his only appearance since a July 24 outing, which made it a bit surprising that it was Wil Crowe who got the ninth inning on Tuesday. Crowe converted his third save of the year and after the game manager Derek Shelton said that Bednar’s lower back was bothering him again. Shelton added that they’ll determine whether or not he’ll need an IL stint in the next day or two. Expect Crowe to be the first option for saves if Bednar does indeed land on the IL.

Hierarchy remains: Bednar | Crowe | de los Santos.

Baltimore Orioles – The Orioles traded closer Jorge Lopez to the Twins on Tuesday. Brandon Hyde said that Felix Bautista, Dillon Tate and Cionel Perez are candidates to close depending on matchups. We’ll put an asterisk here for now based on Hyde’s comments, but Bautista should be the clear favorite for save chances most nights.

Updated hierarchy: *Bautista | Tate | Perez.

Minnesota Twins – It was a busy day for the Twins, as they added Baltimore closer Jorge Lopez and Detroit setup man Michael Fulmer. Manager Rocco Baldelli said that he expects Lopez to pitch “a fair amount in the ninth inning.” We expect Lopez to get the bulk of save chances, but that Jhoan Duran and Fulmer will be in the mix as well depending on matchups.

Updated hierarchy: *Lopez | Duran | Fulmer.
* = closer-by-committee

Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies upgraded their bullpen by adding Cubs closer David Robertson on Tuesday. We expect Robertson to be the leader for saves in Philadelphia, but apparently Seranthony Dominguez and Brad Hand will still get plenty of save opportunities while Robertson “figures into the late-inning mix.” You don’t say.

Updated hierarchy: *Robertson | Dominguez | Hand.
* = closer-by-committee

Chicago Cubs – The Cubs traded both David Robertson and Mychal Givens on Tuesday, leaving Rowan Wick as the man for the ninth inning. 

Updated hierarchy: Wick | Hughes | Uelman.

Atlanta Braves – The Braves added depth to their bullpen by trading for Angels closer Raisel Iglesias on Tuesday. Manager Brian Snitker said that Kenley Jansen will remain as the team’s primary closer and that Iglesias will be the “secondary closer.” 

Updated hierarchy: Jansen | Iglesias | Minter.

Los Angeles Angels – The Angels dealt Raisel Iglesias and his multi-year deal to Atlanta on Tuesday. The first save chance in the post-Iglesias era went to lefty Jose Quijada, who tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his third MLB save (and second this season). Manager Phil Nevin said before the game that Quijada, Ryan Tepera and Aaron Loup would be his three options to pitch the ninth going forward. The A’s had two lefties due up in the ninth last night, so Quijada’s usage makes sense. We’ll leave Tepera at the top of this committee for now and see how Nevin deploys his relievers in other situations.

Updated hierarchy: *Tepera | Quijada | Loup.
* = closer-by-committee

Toronto Blue Jays — The Blue Jays added a familiar face to their roster when they traded for Anthony Bass, who pitched for the club in 2020 when they were based in Buffalo. We expect Bass to be one of the main setup men for closer Jordan Romano.

Updated hierarchy: Romano | Bass | Garcia.

Miami Marlins – The Marlins traded Anthony Bass traded to Toronto, but they did also add to their bullpen on Tuesday with the return of Anthony Bender from the IL. Pitching for the first time since May 18, Bender was sharp last night, striking out two in a perfect eighth inning. We’ll slot Bender into Bass’ spot in the hierarchy for now.

Updated hierarchy: Scott | Bender | Floro.

Detroit Tigers — The Tigers traded setup man Michael Fulmer to Minnesota and then proceeded to defeat the Twins later that night. After Andrew Chafin tossed a perfect seventh inning, Joe Jimenez took Fulmer’s usual eighth-inning role, pitching a scoreless frame ahead of Gregory Soto.

Updated hierarchy: Soto | Jimenez | Chafin.

Seattle Mariners — The Mariners deployed Paul Sewald in the seventh inning to face the top of the Yankees’ order and protect a 7-6 lead. Sewald was perfect with two strikeouts, which paved the way for Andres Munoz to pitch the ninth. After he struck out the first two hitters he faced, the Yankees were able to load the bases, but Munoz battled back with a strikeout to end the game and earn the save.

Updated hierarchy: *Sewald | Munoz | Swanson.
* = closer-by-committee

Cincinnati Reds – A night after Hunter Strickland secured a save, it was Alexis Diaz’s turn to close out a Reds win. Expect Cincinnati to continue to utilize both Strickland and Diaz in the ninth inning, though Diaz has more long-term upside.

Hierarchy remains: *Strickland | Diaz | Sanmartin.
* = closer-by-committee

New York Yankees – The Yankees acquired A’s closer Lou Trivino and Cubs’ setup man Scott Effross at the deadline. Both additions made their Yankee debuts on Tuesday; we’ll slot Effross into the hierarchy for now and see if he can continue his strong rookie campaign.

Updated hierarchy: Holmes | Peralta | Effross.

New York Mets – The Mets traded for Mychal Givens on Tuesday and are expected to activate Trevor May from the IL later today, giving their bullpen some more depth heading into the stretch run. We’ll see how Buck Showalter, who managed Givens in Baltimore, deploys Givens, May and Seth Lugo going forward.

Hierarchy remains: Diaz | Ottavino | Lugo.

Arizona Diamondbacks – Ian Kennedy struck out all three batters he faced to earn his fifth save of the season. Hopefully you read yesterday’s Vulture Save Watch!

Hierarchy remains: Melancon | Kennedy | Mantiply.

Heaven – The Celestials added one of the all time greats when Vin Scully passed away at the age of 94 yesterday. The best to ever do it, and maybe the best there ever will be. Rest in Peace Vin Scully, we were glad to spend a part of so many days with you. 

Updated hierarchy: Scully | Caray | Harwell.

1. Andres Munoz/Matt Festa (SEA) — Paul Sewald and Erik Swanson have both pitched in three of four and Munoz threw 25 pitches last night, which could open the door for Matt Festa to steal a save opp. 
2. Garrett Whitlock (BOS) — Tanner Houck has thrown back-to-back and a combined 35 pitches. 
3. Joe Jimenez/Andrew Chafin (DET) — Gregory Soto is still a Tiger, but he has pitched back to back and thrown 43 pitches over that span. Jimenez has gone back-to-back as well, but kept his pitch count low.
4. Wil Crowe (PIT) — As mentioned at the top, David Bednar has a sore back and may end up on the IL.

1. Anthony Bass/Yimi Garcia (TOR) — Today would be two straight and four of five for Jordan Romano, although he has kept his pitch counts low.