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Fantasy Baseball Closer Report for Week 18: Post-deadline closer shuffle!

See who kept his ninth-inning job and who lost it after the MLB Trade deadline passed.

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The trade deadline left a mess with the closer landscape in fantasy baseball. Some pitchers were dealt and will retain their ninth-inning status as the finishers, while others will function as setup men with their new clubs.

Let’s see how the closer chart looks and who’s moving up and down.

Trade deadline deals that included closers:

  • Richard Rodriguez to the Atlanta Braves (he will likely set up for Will Smith but could get the occasional save)
  • Ian Kennedy to the Philadelphia Phillies (he is expected to be the closer)
  • Craig Kimbrel to the Chicago White Sox (expected to set up for Liam Hendriks, could eventually evolve to a co-closer situation)
  • Yimi Garcia to the Houston Astros (expected to set up for Ryan Pressly)
  • Joakim Soria to the Toronto Blue Jays (expected to set up for Jordan Romano)
  • Diego Castillo to the Seattle Mariners (expected to be the closer)
  • Kendall Graveman to Houston (he is expected to set up for Ryan Pressly)
  • Brad Hand to the Toronto Blue Jays (he is expected to set up for Jordan Romano)
  • Hansel Robles to the Boston Red Sox (he is expected to set up for Matt Barnes)

Arrow Up:

Cole Sulser, Baltimore Orioles

With saves on Friday and Saturday, it looks like the closer gig in Baltimore is Sulser’s to lose. Between the two innings, he didn’t allow any runs or baserunners, striking out three.

Make a bid for him if he’s available in your league. For the year, the 31-year-old righty is sporting a shiny 2.75 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 39.3 innings, with 54 strikeouts.

Emmanuel Clase, Cleveland Indians

Clase is working on a 6.2 scoreless innings streak, one that has put him back into the saves mix and the favorite to earn most of the opportunities going forward. James Karinchak will also get some, but Clase remains a guy to own.

The power right-hander saved a game last Sunday and another on Saturday, and the latter included a valiant effort to clean up a mess created by Karinchak.

Clase has 13 saves on the season, with a 1.85 ERA. A 1.19 WHIP and 47 punchouts in 43 frames.

Spencer Patton, Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers traded Ian Kennedy and Joely Rodriguez, so it looks like Spencer Patton will be the favorite to close games going forward. In fact, he received the first save opportunity post-trade deadline, on Saturday, and while he blew it by allowing a game-tying homer, he ended up getting the win.

Patton has a solid 3.32 ERA to go along with a 1.21 WHIP this campaign, and should be able to retain the role barring a disaster.

Arrow Down:

Ranger Suarez, Philadelphia Phillies

Ranger Suarez wasn’t always perfect, but he was the best option to close in Philadelphia if they didn’t bring in help at the deadline. They did, however, and Suarez is losing his role.

In fact, he will move to the rotation in a rather shocking turn of events. Ian Kennedy will handle the ninth inning now, while Suarez will slowly stretch out to become a starter from this point forward.

He had been excellent as a reliever for the season, with a 5-3 record, four saves, a 1.12 ERA, 42 strikeouts and a 0.87 WHIP.

Hansel Robles, Boston Red Sox

Robles was sharing the closer role in Minnesota, but the trade that sent him to Boston will effectively remove him from saves consideration, not while Matt Barnes and Adam Ottavino are healthy.

He has been rather frustrating to own, anyway, with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP in 44 innings. If something were to happen to those two relievers, he could enter the mix. For now, he is not expected to do so.

Brad Hand, Toronto Blue Jays

Hand, who has been struggling lately (six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings in his previous four games) pitched in setup capacity in his first game with the Blue Jays on Friday, conceding an unearned run in a game that resulted in a Jordan Romano save.

He has loads of closing experience and had racked up 21 saves with Washington this year, so he could eventually climb his way up to a timeshare. It’s not a given, though.

Situations to monitor:

Pittsburgh Pirates

Manager Derek Shelton won’t name a closer, but David Bednar is the favorite.

Washington Nationals

Kyle Finnegan got the save on Saturday and could be the favorite for the role moving forward.

Chicago Cubs

Here is what Liam Hendriks had to say about newest Cub Codi Heuer: “He’s got a bright future in this game. You give it a week, he might be closing for the Cubs over there. I can’t wait to see what he develops into.”

Arizona Diamondbacks

One would think Stefan Crichton would be the closer after the Joakim Soria trade, but he allowed five runs in his most recent two appearances. Keep an eye on Tyler Clippard.

Closer chart:

  • New York Yankees: Aroldis Chapman (secure)
  • Baltimore Orioles: Cole Sulser (first option), Paul Fry
  • Tampa Bay Rays: All top options (Pete Fairbanks, JP Feyereysen, Nick Anderson, Collin McHugh) injured; top options in the meantime: JT Chargois, Drew Rasmussen, Andrew Kittredge.
  • Toronto Blue Jays: Jordan Romano (first option), Brad Hand, Joakim Soria
  • Boston Red Sox: Matt Barnes (secure), Adam Ottavino, Hansel Robles
  • Chicago White Sox: Liam Hendriks (secure), Craig Kimbrel
  • Minnesota Twins: Taylor Rogers (injured), Tyler Duffey (first option), Alex Colome
  • Cleveland: Committee between Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak
  • Detroit Tigers: Gregory Soto (first option), Jose Cisnero
  • Kansas City Royals: Committee between Greg Holland, Scott Barlow, and Wade Davis
  • Houston Astros: Ryan Pressly (secure), Kendall Graveman
  • Oakland Athletics: Committee between Lou Trivino and Jake Diekman
  • Los Angeles Angels: Raisel Iglesias (secure)
  • Seattle Mariners: Diego Castillo (first option), Paul Sewald
  • Texas Rangers: Spencer Patton (first option)
  • Atlanta Braves: Will Smith (secure), Richard Rodriguez
  • New York Mets: Edwin Diaz (secure)
  • Philadelphia Phillies: Ian Kennedy (secure)
  • Washington Nationals: Kyle Finnegan (first option), Tanner Rainey
  • Miami Marlins: Committee. Options: Anthony Bender, Dylan Floro, Anthony Bass
  • Cincinnati Reds: Heath Hembree (secure), Amir Garrett
  • St. Louis Cardinals: Alex Reyes (secure)
  • Milwaukee Brewers: Josh Hader (secure)
  • Chicago Cubs: Codi Heuer (first option)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates: David Bednar (first option)
  • Los Angeles Dodgers: Kenley Jansen (first option)
  • San Diego Padres: Mark Melancon (secure), Daniel Hudson
  • Colorado Rockies: Daniel Bard (secure)
  • San Francisco Giants: Committee between Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers
  • Arizona Diamondbacks: Tyler Clippard (first option)