Friday's trade - Jason Grilli for Ernesto Frieri - barely rippled in June fantasy baseball. I put in a claim on Frieri in my 12-team NL-only league, but that's a 12-team NL-only, and every-freaking-body gets claimed. And I didn't get him.
Back in March, a Frieri-for-Grilli trade would have been the lead story on our homepage for a day. Frieri had 60 saves in 2012-13, with a 3.07 ERA and 196 strikeouts in 134.2 innings. Grilli, meanwhile, only had 2013 on his resume as a closer, but he closed out 33 games for the Pirates, and he pitched to a 2.74 ERA in the three seasons since missing 2010 with injury. Such a trade in March would have been a huge deal.
Of course, in March, that trade never would have happened. The de facto challenge trade came to be because both pitchers have been pretty daggone terrible so far in 2014. Check out their stats on their original teams:
As you can see above, Frieri has been victimized by bad luck, as he's pitched to a 20.5 percent home-run rate. Then again, he's always been on the homer-prone side of things, so I might be willing to discount the luck factor a bit. Grilli, meanwhile, has been unacceptable no matter how you slice it.
It's why Joe Smith has inherited the Angels' closer role, and Mark Melancon the Pirates'. In the preseason, I predicted Melancon would take over for Grilli. And I drafted Dane de la Rosa in a 20-team league under the "Frieri isn't actually that good" thinking. This isn't like Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman falling apart.
Still, I can't remember the last trade like this, when two teams had two guys in roles - any roles, really - who struggled to the point that they were traded exactly for one another. In regular fantasy leagues, neither guy might reach relevance again this season. Frieri, moving to the easier league, has the better chance of being decent, though Melancon is also better than Smith, so Frieri might have more work to do to even get the chance.
Fantasy-wise, it's not a season-maker or -breaker. Not now. Odds are good it won't become one, either. It might be meaningless, ultimately, but it is, as I tweeted Friday, very, very interesting.
Anyway, these are this week's rankings. Remember, two lists: The first is the right-now rankings, while the second is the rest-of-season list. These lists are growing more and more similar as the season goes on, as question marks get answered, as roles get more defined. At this point, the differences between the lists generally boil down to two things: Slumps and trade worries. Those will answer most of the differences between the lists. Here we go:
|1||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||1||Three closers (Chapman, Soria, Doolittle) have FIPs of less than 1.00; Chapman is the only one whose xFIP is as well.|
|2||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||2||His FIP is lower than last year; his K/9 is higher.|
|3||Greg Holland||KAN||3||Last outing without a strikeout: May 21.|
|4||Glen Perkins||MIN||5||Allowed as many runs in June as April and May combined.|
|5||Koji Uehara||BOS||6||Gave up more runs in June than April and May combined; then again, that's only five runs total.|
|6||Huston Street||SDP||4||Someone is going to pay a lot for his services in trade, yeah?|
|7||Kenley Jansen||LAD||8||Last four outings: 4 IP, 2 H, 7 K, 0 BB, 0 R. Settling down.|
|8||David Robertson||NYY||9||He's striking out more than sixteen guys per nine innings. That's insane.|
|9||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||7||March/April: 11.1 innings, 9 strikeouts. May: 10 innings, 9 strikeouts. June: 10 innings, 9 strikeouts.|
|10||Sean Doolittle||OAK||12||One walk in 39 innings. That's superhuman.|
|11||Rafael Soriano||WAS||13||Three 40-save seasons on his resume, but 2014 is setting up as a career year.|
|12||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||11||His LOB% is still really high, which is why he's outperforming his FIP.|
|13||Joakim Soria||TEX||10||Soria vs. Twins, 2014: 4.1 innings, 7 runs allowed. Soria vs. not-Twins, 2014: 23.1 innings, 4 runs allowed.|
|14||Casey Janssen||TOR||16||He doesn't have the innings of Doolittle, but he's also at only one walk on the season.|
|15||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||14||Since May 21, he's been more like what we expected: 11 saves in 12 chances, 0.54 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 16.2 innings.|
|16||Steve Cishek||MIA||15||Total meltdown Friday (4 runs in 0.2 innings) still didn't bring his season ERA above 3.00.|
|17||Mark Melancon||PIT||18||Has been struggling now that the job's his. Last five outings: 4.1 IP, 3 ER, 1 K, 8 hits.|
|18||Fernando Rodney||SEA||23||Successful on his last 12 straight save opportunities.|
|19||Cody Allen||CLE||19||Hasn't gotten a save since June 14, but hasn't had a chance, either.|
|20||Chad Qualls||HOU||20||The Astros gave him a hold Saturday, and gave Tony Sipp the save Sunday, but Qualls is still the guy.|
|21||Zach Britton||BAL||21||Outside of his blowup June 20, he's at an ERA of 0.66 on the season.|
|22||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||22||11 runs allowed, 11 strikeouts. That'll be a fun race to monitor.|
|23||Addison Reed||ARI||24||Hasn't had an ERA below 3.00 in a single month this season.|
|24||Jake McGee||TAM||28||He's certainly better than Grant Balfour, and he probably was before the season.|
|25||Joe Smith||LAA||NR||Let's just say the trust isn't high, even now that the job is his.|
|26||Joe Nathan||DET||26||His best single-month ERA in 2014 is 5.40. Good signs are lacking.|
|27||Hector Rondon||CHC||29||June was a disaster (9 runs in 7.2 innings), but it appears he still has the job.|
|28||Jenrry Mejia||SFG||NR||I guess they're sticking with Mejia long-term, but danged if I'd bet on it.|
|29||Santiago Casilla||SFG||NR||I never saw Sergio Romo's struggles coming. The team says he's out, with Casilla and Affeldt committeeing it for now.
|30||Jeremy Affeldt||SFG||NR||I'd take Casilla of the two Giants, but Romo for the long run.|
|15||Joakim Soria||TEX||11||Where might he wind up? San Francisco? Heck, following Nathan to Detroit?|
|17||Mark Melancon||PIT||20||I expect he'll work out his minor issues of late.|
|22||Sergio Romo||SFG||14||I still think he'll get the gig back and be fine. Ish. I'm less sure than I was, though.|
|24||Chad Qualls||HOU||25||The most likely current closer to be traded, and it isn't that close.|
|25||Jake McGee||TAM||NR||Joel Peralta will still get the occasional save, but I think this is McGee's role unless he bombs out.|
|29||Jenrry Mejia||NYM||NR||Mets gonna Met. I'd rather have a Wade Davis or a Joel Peralta than any Met reliever.|
|30||Jake Petricka||CWS||NR||Whatever. Someone on the White Sox has to get save chances.|