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The Closer Report » Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Depth Chart Updates, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers » Closers Wanted: MLB Teams On The Hunt

Closers Wanted: MLB Teams On The Hunt

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In July and even into August I expect to see several trades involving closers and setup men.   Teams are always in need of good relief pitching and start stacking their bullpens for a playoff run.  I will give you the list of teams that will be on the nut for back-end relievers who will either become closers or be acquired to set up their current closer.  This is critical to pay attention too if it impacts your fantasy baseball bullpen.  I will recommend over the coming weeks on who to trade and who to keep.  The last thing any fantasy manager wants to face is their prized closer being traded and becoming a setup man.

New York Yankees – The Yankees bullpen was the Achilles heal of the team to start the season.  They signed an aging Rafeal Soriano, who proved to be unsuccessful as a setup man and is now on the 60-day DL.  While they have the best closer in the history of baseball, even Rivera has been suspect at times and getting to him late in the game could get tough down the stretch.  Also remove Joba Chamberlain from the equation.  He is out for the season with Tommy John surgery.  David Robertson has pitched great, but by nature is not a setup man. The Yankees have added a slew of veterans like buddy Carlyle and Cory Wade and only have one left-handed pitcher in Boone Logan.
What They Need?
Expect the Yankees to trade for an established closer.  They will go after someone heavy who can command the strike zone and get strikeouts.  They will also look to get another lefty for late inning duties against lefty loaded teams like the Red Sox.

Boston Red Sox – The Red Sox have a solid 1-2 punch with Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon, so not much will be needed in that area.  Matt Albers has filled in nicely for Bobby Jenks in the 7th inning role, but the Red Sox may want to go deeper.  They also lack a lefty in the bullpen, only have rookie Tommy Hottovy with Franklin Morales on the DL. I can see the Red Sox looking for another lefty and in the past they have had interest in Brian Fuentes.   They may look to replace prospect SP Michael Bowden in the bullpen with a strong 7th inning pitcher.
What They Need?

At the very least the Red Sox need a good effective lefty in that bullpen.  They will also need another closer to back up Papelbon and Bard.  Papelbon has his inning limit of 70 as everyone knows.  We don’t know for sure when Jenks is coming back and even how effective he can be.

Colorado Rockies – The Rockies are only four games out and are expected to make a run in the second half of the season as they always do.  In order to do that they will have to shore up their bullpen and protect closer Huston Street from being over worked.  Matt Lindstrom and Matt Belisle have pitched well in the setup role, and Rafael Betancourt gives them veteran fire power in the late innings as well.  They currently roster two lefties, Matt Reynolds and Rex Brothers.  If the Rockies make a run, they need to protect their starters (who stink this year) with a bullpen that can go 3-4 innings almost every night.
What They Need?

A proven lefty.  After trading Morales, they have a big hole to fill.  Pitching in Colorado, they can use a closer that will become a setup man who doesn’t pitch to contact like Carlos Marmol.

St. Louis Cardinals – The Cardinals bullpen is a mess, but that was expected when your opening day closer is Ryan Franklin.  Franklin has almost become a memory in that bullpen and is all but been replaced by Fernando Salas.  While Salas has pitched well, he’s the ideal closer for Tony LaRussa.  He’s actually an ideal setup man with a rubber arm that can go two inning if needed.  LaRussa wants a veteran and as long as the Cardinals are positioned to make a run they will trade for one.  Eduardo Sanchez is on the DL, but will be invaluable to the bullpen along with Jason Motte. Mitchell Boggs is also an effective middle man, but lefties Trever Miller and Brian Tallet are leftovers from other teams and won’t do well down the stretch.  The Cardinals bullpen is ranked 24th in ERA at 4.30 and are a miserable 22/35 in saves.
What They Need?
Expect the Cardinals to sign a closer to closeout games.  LaRussa’s dream would be a Sanchez/Motte 7th inning, Fernando Salas 8th inning, and Heath Bell in the 9th.

Philadelphia Phillies – The Phillies don’t have the biggest needs and will not be desperate to add to their bullpen.  However, they have a team built to win and will fill any holes they feel that they have.  Right now their bullpen is stable with Madson, Bastardo, and the always ailing Jose Contreras.  They are backed up by aging Danys Baez, then Kyle Kendrick, Juan Perez, and David Herndon.  They are expecting Brad Lidge to return.  If he returns to form and is Castor Lidge and not Pollux Lidge (Gemini Twins), then he will fill the hole they need at back up closer/setup man.
What They Need?
Phillies need a proven veteran lefty.  If Lidge doesn’t work out and if Contreras is hurt as we expect, they will go after a second closer like Heath Bell

Texas Rangers – For a team in first place, the Rangers have one of the worse bullpens. Their bullpen is ranked 26th with a 4.38 ERA and is 19/31 in saves.  Closer Neftali Feliz has been erratic all season and has four blown saves already.  After Feliz they have two aging lefties in Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes.  Mark Lowe, who was once considered for closer, hasn’t had a good season and was demoted to AAA for a short amount of time.  If the Rangers want to find success in the playoffs or even make it, they will need to add one or even two more arms to their bullpen.
What They Need?
The Rangers need a top flight setup man and frankly a second closer.  Someone along the lines of Carlos Marmol, Joel Hanrahan, or Joakim Soria.  A Fernando Rodney for the 7th inning would help as well.

Cleveland Indians – The Indians have been a pleasant surprise in 2011, but they are fading.  If they can hold on, they will make a move to add depth to their bullpen, which ranks 4th overall with a 2.99 ERA. Chris Perez has done an outstanding job, but at 26 he only has 190 innings in his career and has never pitched more than 63.  IN fact, they only have one reliever (Chad Durbin) over the age of 28.
What They Need?
Another lefty to compliment Tony Sipp.  Possibly another closer to add depth for setting up Perez or resting him.

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Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Depth Chart Updates, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Philadelphia, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers

4 Responses to "Closers Wanted: MLB Teams On The Hunt"

  1. Purewater says:

    You keep implying the Pirates are going to trade Hanrahan. They are over .500 and near 1st place. Why would they trade the best closer in the game? It’s not going to happen.

  2. thetrueguru says:

    I do imply that the Pirates could trade Hanrahan. The Pirates are competing now, but very well could fade by July 31. I’m giving you the scenario if that happens. Also note that if the offer is good enough, the Pirates will move him. They also only signed him to a one year deal and they know that he will ask for big bucks next season.

    So, he will likely be traded.

  3. Purewater says:

    Lots of ifs in there. I think you’re underestimating the fact the city is starved for a winner and they’re tired of seeing their best players traded for peanuts. The front office knows this of course and it would take a huge offer to entice them, and that’s only presuming they’re totally out of the race in a month.

    There’s no way a team is going to give up a big-time, major league ready prospect for a 2-month set-up man. Possibly a desperate team would do that for a closer. Now, look at your list, there’s only two teams on there that have the possibility of putting in Hanrahan as their closer: STL and TEX. And that’s assuming their current closers continue to struggle. I highly doubt STL would deal a big-time prospect inside the division, although it’s possible. Most likely the only team that will trade a big-time prospect for Hannrahan would be Texas, assuming the Pirates don’t fall apart. I just don’t see how he’s likely to be traded under this scenario.

    1. The Show says:


      I am quite certain that the Cardinals will trade oxygen (lifetime prospect) for Hanrahan and the Pirates will accept it. Rumor has it Big Ben may need surgery on his foot and the city is grasping for oxygen due to the great Rapenator potentially missing the season.(baseball season is just something to do in Pittsburgh until the Fayette county fair starts-followed by Steeler preseason) The commish would have no problems with a move like this. Plus, it would be compensation for the Pirates owning the Cardinals in two of three games this year. It’s only fair. And speaking of fairs – the Fayette county fair starts on July 31…the day the STL Cardinals consumate the oxygen for Hanrahan deal with the Pirates.

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