So here we are. It's the last month of the season. With basically no exceptions, guys are now on the teams they'll finish the seasons on. (It's 10:15 Sunday as I write this. If there's another trade between now and midnight, so help me ...)
That means we're done with trade talks. Joe Nathan could give up 100 runs in his next inning - and the way parts of his season has gone, who knows - and the Tigers aren't adding someone. They'll go to Jim Johnson, or Joba Chamberlain, or if-he-can-get-healthy Joakim Soria.
It also means that we're close to the end of the season. For most of the year, I've been running two lists: Right-Now rankings and Rest-Of-Season rankings. They've been slowly merging as the season has gone on - in May, teams would have a closer in place that who was every reason to assume would be out of the role for one reason or another by the All-Star break. As it's gone on, the lists have grown more and more similar. Now that we're done with trades, the lists would basically be indistinguishable, so they are well and truly merged.
Of course, that doesn't mean this has gotten easier. Two weeks ago, I mentioned that we were getting more clarity on the closer situations - jobs didn't have nearly the question marks surrounding them that they had in weeks past. Of course, I mentioned that I knew that would change, because these things always do, but danged if they didn't change in a hurry.
Sean Doolittle got hurt, meaning Luke Gregerson, Dan Otero, Ryan Cook and Eric O'Flaherty became relevant. Joaquin Benoit's shoulder is aching, so Dale Thayer and Kevin Quackenbush had to be monitored. The Astros started looking at Tony Sipp and Josh Fields rather than Chad Qualls. Casey Janssen's struggles brought Brett Cecil into relevance. Zach Putnam with the White Sox. Jeurys Familia in Toronto.
Only a couple weeks after tracking 30 active closers and maybe five other guys, my list has ballooned back to 45. All of a sudden, right as one variable (trades) go off the table, a whole slew of others go on.
So this is this week's closer rankings. I don't include a "Last Week" column in this one, because I don't know which list from last week to use. Also because, with all the changes, half the damn list would be "NR." So if you need that ... too bad, I guess.
|1||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||Last blown save: June 20. Since: 0.74 ERA, 33 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.|
|2||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||Two more strikeouts (87 to 85) than Kimbrel in 10.1 fewer innings.|
|3||Greg Holland||KAN||Third-best closer, might be the third-best reliever on his own team.|
|4||Kenley Jansen||LAD||Since his ERA peaked at 4.55, it's 0.73 ERA, 38 strikeouts in 24.2 innings. So ... basically re-Kimbrel.|
|5||David Robertson||NYY||Only pitched once in the last week.|
|6||Huston Street||LAA||That two-run, no-out outing a couple weeks ago wasn't a bad omen -- six scoreless innings since.|
|7||Koji Uehara||BOS||Almost half of his 15 runs allowed this season have come since August 16.|
|8||Glen Perkins||MIN||He'd be so much more famous -- and ranked higher -- if he were on, you know, a good team.|
|9||Zach Britton||CLE||Hasn't blown a save since July 18.|
|10||Mark Melancon||PIT||I'd love for him to be more consistent, but it's still a 2.04 ERA and 6:1 K:BB on the season.|
|11||Cody Allen||CLE||He got Alex Gordon-ed on Sunday, but that could happen to the best of 'em.|
|12||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||He is very subtly absolutely being worth the money. You know, as closers go.|
|13||Jake McGee||TAM||Remember when they had Grant Balfour above McGee in the hierarchy? That was fun.|
|14||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||Last three outings: four innings, three runs, all on homers. Dude has a weakness.|
|15||Santiago Casilla||SFG||Five runs in his last 9.2 innings. Sergio Romo might be heard from again.|
|16||Fernando Rodney||SEA||His K:BB ratio on the season is under 3:1, and yet he's my No. 16 closer. Baseball, man.|
|17||Steve Cishek||MIA||Had a 2.80 ERA on July 1. The Marlins eventually decided not to deal him. Since, his ERA is 5.14.|
|18||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||His 40 saves mask the fact that his ERA has only dipped below 3.00 for one day all season.|
|19||Rafael Soriano||WAS||You keep hearing they're going to replace him, but his ERA is still only 2.52, his WHIP 1.06.|
|20||Addison Reed||ARI||Has finally put it together a bit, with no runs in six straight outings and 14 of 16.|
|21||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||Seven strikeouts in his last four innings, which is like Ben Revere having a four-homer game.|
|22||Hector Rondon||CHC||He's been really good of late -- only one earned run allowed since July 11.|
|23||Eric O'Flaherty||OAK||He's just now reached 15.1 innings on the season, but he looks like the guy the A's are going with unless and until Doolittle returns,|
|24||Neftali Feliz||TEX||He just isn't striking anyone out, but at least we know he's likely to keep the job.|
|25||Kevin Quackenbush||SDP||I'm not at all convinced Benoit pitches again this season. Quackenbush might have it for a while.|
|26||Joe Nathan||DET||Hey, he had two straight perfect outings. That's something.|
|27||Casey Janssen||TOR||Seven runs in 9.1 innings in August. And he still isn't striking anyone out. Bad times.|
|28||Tony Sipp||HOU||Walked the only four batters he faced Monday, but still got a save Thursday.|
|29||Chad Qualls||HOU||But Qualls is still around, because the Astros are confusing.|
|30||Brett Cecil||TOR||He might not get another save chance. But with Janssen's struggles, he might.|