One of the Fake Teams loyal readers asked the following question in the Fantasy Baseball Questions Thread yesterday:
Who are the most likely closer candidates to get traded this deadline so we can be on the lookout for their heir apparent?
This is a very relevant question for those of us in keeper leagues as well as redraft leagues, as owners in redraft leagues are looking for that cheap waiver wire pickup who could garner a few saves later in the season to help separate you in the saves category.
With the July 31st trade deadline in our sights, here is a list of current middle relievers who could be closing come August, or sooner:
Chad Qualls/Ryan Webb, MIA
Like Jason responded in the Fantasy Baseball Questions thread, the Marlins have stated that Steve Cishek is not available, but you have to think with Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb in their bullpen, Cishek would be available to a team willing to give up a pitching prospect at the trade deadline. Qualls currently owns a 2.52 ERA and 1.04 WHIP, while Webb has a 3.62 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. Neither strike out a ton of batters, but Qualls is an elite ground ball pitcher with closing experience.
Luke Gregerson/Brad Boxberger, SD
Huston Street is an excellent candidate to be traded by July 31st, as his contract is cheap ($7 million in 2013 and 2014), and he has closed in both the National and American leagues. Gregerson was lights out before taking over the closer role, as he has blown one save and was removed from a save opportunity yesterday. Should the Padres look to move both Street and Gregerson at the trade deadline, Brad Boxberger could be given the chance to prove he can close at the big league level. Boxberger has closed in the minors and owns an excellent strikeout rate, having struck out 45 batters in 31.2 innings in AAA and the majors this season.
James Russell, CHC
Russell is probably not owned in many leagues, but he could be a sleeper choice to close for the rebuilding Cubs. The Cubs have already stated that Carlos Marmol won't get the job back, and Kevin Gregg is a likely trade candidate for the last place Cubs, so Russell is probably next in line should Gregg be dealt. Russell is a lefty, which might hamper things, but his splits indicate he can get left handed and right handed hitters out. Right handed hitters are hitting just .216-.341-.351 vs Russell this season.
Mike Adams, PHI
With the Phillies 8.5 games out of the wild card hunt at the moment, the team could look to deal closer Jonathan Papelbon, and rid themselves of his huge contract. With Mike Adams in the fold, they probably wouldn't miss a beat, as he is one of the better set up men in the game. Papelbon would be a perfect fit for the Tigers right now, a team built to win this year.
Carter Capps, SEA
The Mariners high hopes coming into the season have vanished, and they may look to deal closer Tom Wilhelmsen while he still has value. With Carter Capps over his early season struggles, the Mariners have a pitcher capable of stepping in to take over the role. Capps has given up just one earned run in the last month, and strikes out more than a batter per inning.