Bullpen Report: July 25, 2018

After more than a year of trade rumors, the Orioles have finally dealt Zach Britton.

On Tuesday, the Yankees acquired Baltimore’s long-time closer in exchange for three minor league pitchers: former first-round pick Dillon Tate, lefty Josh Rogers and right-handed reliever Cody Carroll. We can presume that Aroldis Chapman will continue to close games for the Yankees, though Britton adds yet another layer of insurance in the event that Chapman needs time off due to his knee tendinitis.

Given the depth that Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Jonathan Holder and Chad Green provide, we can’t presume that Britton is next in line for saves, should Chapman need a replacement at some point. Though Britton allowed runs in only two of his 16 appearances with the Orioles this season, he threw just 37.5 percent of his pitches in the strike zone and issued 10 walks in 15.2 innings.

In Baltimore, we may have gotten a sense of the what the bullpen pecking order may look like without Britton. Brad Brach got his 11th save of season, and he was preceded by Mychal Givens and Paul Fry in the Orioles’ 7-6 win over the Red Sox. All three relievers gave up a run, though Brach’s was unearned. Both Brach and Givens have been subjects of trade rumors themselves, so a higher-leverage role could be in Fry’s future.

Keone Kela and Jake Diekman have also been mentioned in reports of potential trades. Most recently, the Pirates have developed “legitimate interest” in Kela, but neither he nor his primary setup man did much for their trade value on Tuesday night. Diekman was handed a 10-5 lead in the eighth inning against the Athletics, but a leadoff groundout by Stephen Piscotty would be the only out he would get. He walked three straight batters, and after an Elvis Andrus bobble and a plunking of Nick Martini brought in two runs, Diekman was lifted for Kela.

The Rangers’ closer got out of the inning, but not before allowing a two-run single to Jed Lowrie. Kela came back out for the ninth inning, and in allowing a Piscotty solo homer, he was charged with his first blown save of the season. Now there is only one reliever with more than five saves who has yet to blow a save this season. (Answer will be provided further below.)

Jose Leclerc is still looking like a good speculation target for saves, though if Diekman does not get traded, it is highly conceivable he would get the first crack at replacing Kela, should the need arise.

Wade Davis‘ outing against the Astros started off innocuously enough with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. The game was still knotted at 2-2 when Davis came out for the 10th inning, but it didn’t stay that way for long. He retired only one of the six batters he faced, and he was yanked after allowing a two-run homer to George Springer. All in all, Davis was credited with five runs and his third loss.

We may be able to attribute Davis’ meltdown to this being his first multi-inning appearance of the year, but there were some warning signs even before this outing. Davis had allowed only one run over his previous 11 innings, but despite improved control, he was inducing swinging strikes at a pedestrian 8.9 percent rate. An 11.5 percent soft contact rate in combination with more frequent contact was not an optimal combination. It’s too early to assume that Tuesday’s performance is a harbinger of things to come, but Davis’ fantasy owners should start working on a Plan B for his roster spot.

Quick hits: Edwin Diaz snapped a streak of 10 consecutive appearances without giving up a run, as he allowed the Giants to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning. However, Steven Duggar scored when Dee Gordon threw the ball away trying to get Pablo Sandoval at first base, so the run was unearned. Will Smith entered in the bottom of the inning and set the Mariners down in order for his fourth save…After having pitched on consecutive days, Seranthony Dominguez did not appear in the Phillies’ 16-inning win over the Dodgers. Victor Arano handled the tops of the eighth and ninth innings with the teams tied, 4-4…One night after having absorbed a blown save and a loss to the Reds, Bud Norris pitched a scoreless inning for his 19th save…Brad Ziegler did not get a hold for his perfect seventh inning against the Braves on Tuesday, but it added to his string of masterful performances. Since June 5, Ziegler has allowed two runs over 26.1 innings with 20 strikeouts. By inducing three groundouts in his most recent inning of work, he raised his ground ball rate over this stretch to 82.8 percent..After allowing four runs in 0.2 innings against the Phillies on Friday, Robert Stock was nearly untouchable for the Padres on Wednesday. The 28-year-old rookie struck out five Mets over three scoreless innings, getting eight swinging strikes out of 37 total pitches. Zack Wheeler was the only Met to reach base against him, as he lashed a line-drive double in the sixth inning.

Trivia question: Who is the last reliever with more than five saves to not be charged with a blown save this season? Ken Giles (currently at Triple-A Fresno), of course.

Not Very Stable
Hot Seat
Bullpen Report — 7/25/2018
Team Closer First Up Second Up Minors/DL
ARI Brad Boxberger Archie Bradley Yoshihisa Hirano
ATL A.J. Minter Dan Winkler Jesse Biddle Arodys Vizcaino
BAL Brad Brach Mychal Givens Paul Fry Darren O’Day
BOS Craig Kimbrel Matt Barnes Heath Hembree
CHC Pedro Strop Carl Edwards Jr. Steve Cishek Brandon Morrow
CWS Joakim Soria Jeanmar Gomez Juan Minaya Nate Jones
CIN Raisel Iglesias Jared Hughes Amir Garrett
CLE Cody Allen Brad Hand Adam Cimber Andrew Miller
COL Wade Davis Adam Ottavino Scott Oberg
DET Shane Greene Joe Jimenez Alex Wilson
HOU Hector Rondon Chris Devenski Collin McHugh
KC Wily Peralta Kevin McCarthy Brandon Maurer
LAA Blake Parker Justin Anderson Hansel Robles Keynan Middleton
LAD Kenley Jansen Dylan Floro Scott Alexander Josh Fields
MIA Kyle Barraclough Drew Steckenrider Brad Ziegler Tayron Guerrero
MIL Corey Knebel Josh Hader Jeremy Jeffress
MIN Fernando Rodney Trevor Hildenberger Zach Duke Addison Reed
NYM Robert Gsellman Anthony Swarzak Seth Lugo
NYY Aroldis Chapman Dellin Betances Zach Britton
OAK Blake Treinen Jeurys Familia Lou Trivino
PHI Seranthony Dominguez Victor Arano Pat Neshek Edubray Ramos
PIT Felipe Vazquez Kyle Crick Edgar Santana
STL Bud Norris Jordan Hicks Greg Holland
SD Kirby Yates Craig Stammen Phil Maton
SF Will Smith Tony Watson Mark Melancon Hunter Strickland
SEA Edwin Diaz Alex Colome James Pazos
TB Sergio Romo Jose Alvarado Diego Castillo Chaz Roe
TEX Keone Kela Jake Diekman Jose LeClerc Chris Martin
TOR Ryan Tepera Tyler Clippard Seung Hwan Oh Roberto Osuna
WSH Kelvin Herrera Ryan Madson Brandon Kintzler Sean Doolittle

Al Melchior has been writing about Fantasy baseball and sim games since 2000, and his work has appeared at CBSSports.com, BaseballHQ, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster and FanRagSports. He has also participated in Tout Wars' mixed auction league since 2013. You can follow Al on Twitter @almelchiorbb and find more of his work at almelchior.com.

newest oldest most voted

Why are they throwing Wade Davis out there in the middle of a playoff chase? It makes zero sense.


Maybe I’m not understanding your question but why WOULDN’T they throw Wade Davis out there in a playoff chase? He’s one of their best relievers.

If you mean why throw him in a tie game – it was in Coors. Once they got to the 9th tied, there is no possibility of a save opportunity so you just used your pitchers as you see fit.

If you mean why throw him more than 1 IP, I suppose that could be a fair question. The Rockies had only gone through 1 other reliever (Ottavino) at that point. However, he’s gone more than 3 outs in several games last year and at some point you need to suck it up and get an extra couple outs. He just couldn’t get it done.

Davis’ peripherals have been slipping for a couple years now and signing in Colorado wasn’t going to make that any better. Games like this are just something that comes with rostering Rockies pitchers. It happens.


Because Ottavino is waaaay better. I get that they have to throw someone, but Davis shouldn’t be that someone.


Ottavino is better this year but was much, much worse than Davis last year even after adjusting for home park. They were about the same in 2016. (Just for fun – they’re both 32 yo, 6’5″, 220 lb RH relievers that throw a shade under 94 but used to throw 95.7 just a few years ago 🙂 )

I think you’re overreacting here. Ottavino can’t pitch every relief inning and they did actually use him last night. Davis gave them a clean inning in the 9th so Ottavino wasn’t going to give them more than that. Using your closer in a tie game is the kind of forward thinking everyone has been asking for for years. Davis just got Coors’d in the 10th – it happens at Coors.


Ottavino has made noticeable changes though. Davis has as well, but for the worse. Relying on past data makes very little sense in this scenario imo. I do agree someone has to throw those innings, which I guess is sort of the issue.


Hindsight bias, ftw!