As we get closer to the All-Star game, but even more importantly to the July 31st trade deadline, speculation will heat up as to where certain players will go by that annual deadline. Closers will be the hottest commodity on the market. With so many failures at the position, along with massive injuries, there will be plenty of closer-starved teams hunting for the best bargains to shore up their bullpens for a playoff run. This could have a devastating impact on fantasy teams across all league types. When closers move, there is never a guarantee that they will be the closer on the new team. In-fact, most often it’s not the case at all. At this point, most teams that are making a playoff run are looking for help in the bullpen, backup for their closer, or an elite setup man. There will be teams on the hunt for a true closer, but they are far less common. Let’s examine some of the closers up for grabs over the next several blog posts. Please note, that the teams interested will get smaller as teams fall further out of contention as we get closer to the trade deadline.
Jonathan Broxton, KAN - Broxton has had a great season closing for the Royals. Some say he has returned to form, but I disagree. Broxton, who if you know me was one of my favorites, simply made adjustments. His velocity has dropped 2-3 MPH, but in return his control has been spot on. He would make a solid closer or elite setup man for any team interested.
Teams Interested: Miami Marlins, NY Mets, Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals. NY Yankees, and San Francisco Giants.
Teams Most Likely to land: NY Mets, Miami Marlins
Dark Horse Team: Atlanta Braves
The Marlins need help in their bullpen. With Heath Bell showing weakness and inconsistency, the Marlins want to back him with another closer. The Marlins do expect to get Juan Carlos Oviedo (a.k.a. Leo Nunez) back in late July from his suspension, which ends July 22. If they feel that adding him back to their bullpen is enough, they will not go after Broxton. That leaves the Mets, who are 4.5 games out of first place in the National League East and locked in a tight race for the wild card. They have Frank Francisco, who is currently on the DL and Bobby Parnell behind him. Acquiring Broxton gives the Mets the depth they need, along with the a 7/8/9 inning shutdown with three pitchers. And lets not joke, Francisco isn’t the most reliable closer out there.
Then there is the dark horse team Atlanta Braves. By placing struggling setup man Jonny Venters on the DL with Elbow issues, they are in dire need of depth behind ace closer Craig Kimbrel. The only recognizable and reliable relief pitcher they have behind Kimbrel is the aging veteran Chad Durbin.
Right now the Braves are six out of their division and two games out of the wild card hunt. Getting a reliable setup man is top priority. With Venters hitting the DL with left elbow impingement,which is due to over use and repetitive forced extensions of the elbow. This injury could take 4-6 weeks to rehabilitate, but if it requires surgery (normally because of bone spurs), Venters is done for the season.
My advice to Jonathan Broxton owners is to trade him ASAP. While he could close for the NY Mets, that is your only hope at this point. I have no doubt in my mind that he will be traded by the Royals. Pick up Greg Holland and prepare for the storm. Bank on it.