Each weekend, we will examine the closing situations for each of the 30 MLB teams, and profile specific players whose arrow is pointing up or down as far as the ninth inning is concerned for fantasy baseball.
This week has seen a closer change in Seattle, while Toronto struggles with key injuries in the bullpen and guys like Lou Trivino and Emmanuel Clase get a stronger hold of ninth-inning duties.
Lou Trivino, Oakland Athletics
About a week ago, A’s manager Bob Melvin indicated that Trivino may be “an option” to get save chances going forward in the wake of Trevor Rosenthal’s thoracic outlet surgery. However, lefty Jake Diekman could also see a few opportunities come his way depending on matchups.
Today, we can say that Trivino cemented his position with two uneventful saves in as many opportunities in the last week. Diekman has been deployed in more of a setup role and Sergio Romo was used in mop-up duty with the A’s up six and allowed a couple of runs to make it an 8-4 game on Thursday.
The job appears to be Trivino’s, and it’s up to him to keep it for the rest of the season. Congratulations if you were able to get him in the last week, and if by any chance he’s still floating in your waiver wire, change that.
Rafael Dolis, Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto has had terrible luck with injuries to key relievers this season. First, free agent closer Kirby Yates went down with Tommy John surgery, and then impressive righty Julian Merryweather suffered a left oblique strain this week.
Jordan Romano, the next in line for saves in Toronto, was placed on the 10-day injured list with right ulnar neuritis on April 15. So yeah, it has been rough for the Blue Jays.
On Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees, Merryweather came to get one out in the eighth inning and would have come out for the ninth if it weren’t for the injury, so Tim Mayza finished the last frame in a 7-3 game.
Rafael Dolis, however, should be the name to own moving forward until Merryweather or Romano return to health. He pitched the last inning in a 5-1 game on Saturday, and while he is not exactly a top-tier reliever, there could be some short-term value here.
Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland
Emmanuel Clase seems to be Cleveland’s preferred option in the ninth inning despite blowing Saturday’s save opportunity. He hasn’t given up an earned run this season and while he did concede three hits last night, if first baseman Josh Naylor would have caught an easy grounder, Clase would have gotten out of the jam.
Clase has three saves this season, and James Karinchak is being used in more of a fireman’s role, getting through the fat portion of lineups in high-leverage situations. If you want saves, Clase is the guy to own. Don’t you dare drop him.
Yimi Garcia, Miami Marlins
The Anthony Bass era as the Marlins’ closer didn’t last long. Signed over the offseason to be the primary ninth inning option, the right-hander blew several save opportunities and Miami made a change in the past week and half.
Yimi Garcia has racked up three successful save chances since April 10, and looks like the man to own moving forward. He has beautiful ratios, too, with a 0.96 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. He won’t be this dominant all the time but is good enough to keep the job.
However, it’s noteworthy that Bass, currently with a 9.00 ERA for the season, has been unscored upon in his last four appearances. It’s a situation to monitor.
Rafael Montero, Seattle Mariners
Rafael Montero hasn’t necessarily been bad this season, with a 3.86 ERA and a good 0.95 WHIP. But he has three blown saves, and manager Scott Servais has given the last two save opportunities to Kendall Graveman.
There is a chance that the next opportunity goes to Montero, or that Servais returns to him in a week or so. But for now, the usage patterns indicate that Graveman will take care of the closer role for the foreseeable future. He has a 0.00 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP, so he’s pitching well and could run away with the gig.
Daniel Bard, Colorado Rockies
As of now, Bard is in no danger of losing the closer’s job in Colorado. But after a collapse against the Mets on Saturday, his ERA stands at 4.76 and his WHIP at an even worse 1.94.
If there was another arm that could pose a threat to Bard’s role, this could be a worrisome development. He should be safe for now, but he won’t rack up too many saves while allowing almost two baserunners per inning.
- New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
- Baltimore Orioles: Cesar Valdez (secure)
- Tampa Bay Rays: Diego Castillo (secure)
- Toronto Blue Jays: Rafael Dolis (first fill-in option)
- Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (first option), Adam Ottavino
- Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure)
- Minnesota Twins: Alex Colome (first option), Taylor Rogers
- Cleveland: Emmanuel Clase (first option), Nick Wittgren, James Karinchak
- Detroit Tigers: Potential committee between Gregory Soto and Bryan Garcia
- Kansas City Royals: Closer committee with Greg Holland as the first option; Wade Davis, Scott Barlow
- Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure)
- Oakland Athletics: Lou Trivino (first option), Jake Diekman
- Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
- Seattle Mariners: Kendall Graveman (first option), Rafael Montero
- Texas Rangers: Ian Kennedy (secure)
- Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure)
- New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
- Philadelphia Phillies: Hector Neris (secure)
- Washington Nationals: Brad Hand (secure)
- Miami Marlins: Yimi Garcia (first option), Anthony Bass
- Cincinnati Reds: Amir Garrett (first option), Lucas Sims, Sean Doolittle
- St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (first option), Jordan Hicks
- Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (secure)
- Chicago Cubs: Craig Kimbrel (secure)
- Pittsburgh Pirates: Richard Rodriguez (first option), Kyle Crick, David Bednar
- Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (secure)
- San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure)
- Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
- San Francisco Giants: Jake McGee (secure)
- Arizona Diamondbacks: Stefan Crichton (first option)