OK, so here we go…
The non-waiver trade deadline is just around the corner and we’ve now seen four bullpens upended with plenty more potentially on the way. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on and what could be happening over the next few days. Also, don’t forget that the waiver trade deadline tends to see a fair amount of movement, so don’t assume you’re safe if nothing bad happens to your closers by the end of Friday.
Tyler Clippard Heads to the Mets
We’re a couple of days past the actual trade, but there are still a lot of question marks as to how these bullpens end up.
Oakland A’s – With the departure of Clippard, manager Bob Melvin appears to be turning to the tandem of Edward Mujica and Eric O’Flaherty. Neither has been pitching well. Mujica coughed up two runs in his last appearance and has now allowed five runs in his last 7 1/3 innings (eight appearances). O’Flaherty has fared a little better lately, but is still sitting on a 5.57 ERA and 1.90 WHIP. While Melvin may start with these two tomato cans, he may end up turning to Fernando Rodriguez who has allowed two runs in his last 8 1/3 innings and is sitting on a 3.60 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 30 innings. The rumor mill also still has Billy Beane working the phones and word is that he’s shopping relievers.
New York Mets – While Clippard fared well as the A’s closer this season, the job is going to stay with Jeurys Familia. But don’t go dropping Clippard just yet as Familia has now blown his last two save opportunities and has now given up four earned runs in his last 7 1/3 innings. Should Familia continue to struggle, Clippard would likely be called on before they would turn ro Bobby Parnell. And where’s Jenrry Mejia in all of this? How about serving a 162-game suspension for a second violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy? What a moron.
Phillies Trade Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals
Washington Nationals – That ear-splitting “WTF?” you heard Tuesday was the collective heartbreak of Nationals fans and Drew Storen owners. The team declared that the move was done to fix a shaky set-up corps, but Storen is obviously upset with his removal. “All I’m going to say is obviously I’m aware of the move,” Storen said to the Washington Post. “Talked to Mike [Rizzo] about it, talked to my agent. We’ve had some ongoing discussions. Until those have progressed, I’m just going to leave it at that.” He seems to be alluding to a trade request, but the team isn’t going to suddenly deal Storen away, as that would simply counteract the Papelbon acquisition. The offseason might be a different story. For now though, his fantasy value takes a trip to Sh*tsville. Papelbon’s value doesn’t change.
Philadelphia Phillies – And here it is, folks…the reason you’ve been stashing Kenneth Giles has finally arrived. We all knew this day would come, so there shouldn’t be any question as to who owns the ninth inning for the Phillies. And if you did have a question, the fact that he earned his first save of the season on the day the team traded Papelbon should be your answer.
LaTroy Hawkins Dealt to Toronto
He was, more or less, a throw-in here, but the Blue Jays will add him to the set-up corps for now and he could be on the short list for saves should something happen to Roberto Osuna. As for the Rockies side, all it does is bump up the current set-up guys each a spot behind John Axford.
Braves Send Jim Johnson and Luis Avilan to the Dodgers
As part of the deal that sent Hector Oliveras to Atlanta, the Braves upoended their bullpen with the trade of both Johnson and Avilan. Neither of them will be anything more than in a set-up role in Los Angeles and it would take at least three seriosu injuries for one of them to even sniff a save opportunity. Meanwhile, back with the Braves, Arodys Vizcaino appears to be the front-runner for the closer's role right now. Veterans Jason Frasor and David Aardsma will become the primary set-up men moving forward.
Closers Potentially on the Move