Predicting the Upcoming Bullpen Bonanza

Written by: Adam Ehrenreich (@mel_reich)

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Each season, the trade deadline is when the most movement happens in big league bullpens. Every year, teams seek relief help to shorten games in a pennant race. Below is simply my opinion of what may transpire in the coming weeks. Take this information as you will. Last season, I told you to stash Kirby Yates and Jordan Hicks. At the very least, monitor the names below and be ready to either pounce or move on, depending on what shakes out.

Gaining Value:

Reyes Moronta (Giants): Despite the recent streak, the Giants are likely going to sell (and they’d be smart to do so). From the bullpen, I think they end up trading Will Smith and Sam Dyson. Tony Watson has been passed over for this role before and I can see the same happening here. Moronta has 60 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched to date along with a 2.64 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. He is closer material and I can see him taking this role into 2020 like Felipe Vazquez did a few seasons ago for the Pirates.

Honorable Mention: If Moronta is not the guy, Mark Melancon and his large contract could be given another chance to revitalize his career.

Joe Jimenez (Tigers): Last season, I foresaw Jimenez losing value because I thought Shane Greene would stay put in Detroit. Now, I think the Tigers capitalize on Greene’s All-Star season and move him for future assets. This puts Jimenez firmly in the driver’s seat for added value and save opportunities down the home stretch.

Ken Giles (Blue Jays): If traded to a contender like the Twins or Cardinals, Giles could be in line for more save opportunities, which could deem him elite. Being that he is under team control through next season makes the hypothetical return all the more appetizing. The right-hander has historically been good for a blow-up or two from time to time, but he’s been spectacular this season. If he is traded, my prediction is he ends up with the Twins.

Daniel Hudson/Joe Biagini (Blue Jays): With the Giles blurb in mind, Hudson or Biagini would likely take over the role in Toronto. Not to say they would be strong fantasy assets, but saves are saves, especially when your league doesn’t penalize you for blown saves. Hudson has been getting late inning looks while Giles seemingly sits with deals in the works. This is one to monitor.

Aaron Bummer (White Sox): Alex Colome is an expected trade target by contenders looking for relief help. While one may think Kelvin Herrera is the obvious choice for future save opportunities, his 7.36 ERA and 1.82 WHIP could take him out of the running. Enter Bummer. While he does not possess the strikeout prowess expected of a closer, he has been fantastic on the mound in high leverage to the tune of a 1.80 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Along with Colome, contending teams have also reportedly shown interest in the left-hander, and projecting southpaws to become closers post-deadline is always a tricky business. However, if Bummer stays put and Rick Renteria simply opts with his best relief pitcher to overtake the closer’s job post-deadline, it’ll be the 25-year-old’s position to lose. Might as well see if the closer of the future is in-house.

Scott Oberg (Rockies): This has more to do with Wade Davis’ inefficiency than a trade. Oberg has been among the top relievers in the game and succeeded in his short stint in the closer role when Davis was out. Oberg could be a top-15 closer the rest of the way if given the chance.

Craig Stammen (Padres): This is a major shot in the dark, because the rumors state the Padres have an extremely-high asking price for Kirby Yates. But if San Diego can find the haul they want for Yates’ service, Stammen is likely to step into a prominent role and excel. Either way, if you need ratio relief, look in his direction. I believe Yates will stay put, and I’m reluctant to say rookie Andres Muñoz will be the closer down the stretch if a trade were to happen.

In Between:

Will Smith (Giants): Smith could end up pitching the 9th inning for the Cardinals, the 7th inning for the Dodgers or anywhere in between, and for that reason I can’t call him a buy or sell. To speak the obvious, if he ends up in St. Louis, he’s a clear cut buy. If he ends up in a set-up role, he’s a likely sell. Stay tuned. My guess is the Dodgers make the move and acquire Smith, which would limit his save value as the regular season dwindles.

Losing Value:

Shane Greene (Tigers): As mentioned earlier, I believe Greene is destined for a set-up role at his new home, which immediately taints his fantasy value.

Fernando Rodney (Nationals): It’s looking like the Nationals will stay put or even look to add pieces. But if something goes awry and they opt to sell, Rodney may end up closing games in D.C. post-Doolittle trade. However, WHOM HERE has never rostered Fernando Rodney during a meltdown of epic proportions? The right-hander often shows flashes of excellence, but the results are often regretful. Don’t get cute; stay clear of this situation.

Sergio Romo (Marlins): Romo is the Marlin most likely to be traded, and while his backup may not warrant a fantasy buy, Romo is in line to be a fantasy sell. He is likely to lose any relevant value, which was primarily tied to saves alone.

Alex Colome (White Sox): As mentioned above, Colome will be spending his days as a late-inning reliever in his new gig but won’t be getting anything more than the occasional save. The time to sell is now.

Follow staff writer Adam Ehrenreich on Twitter! @mel_reich

Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of photographer Thearon W. Henderson and Getty Images

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