Bullpen Report: July 26, 2016

Apologies on the delayed Bullpen Report as the current author recovers from ACL surgery. But like Mariano Rivera I’ll be back soon and certainly be more prompt with publishing. On to the bullpens…

• We previously spoke in these parts about Jonathan Papelbon not looking like his old self and of late it looks like the wheels are coming off. Papelbon blew his third save last night after allowing four straight baserunners without recording an out. And this is after allowing four runs in his previous outing. On the season his ERA/FIP/xFIP stands at a very pedestrian 4.18/3.20/4.51. His fastball velocity is a career low at 90.9 mph and although his K/9 is slightly above last year’s mark his swinging strike rate is down. Dusty Baker said that Papelbon is still the closer but considering the Nationals were in Aroldis Chapman rumors before his recent slide, I expect the Nationals to make an upgrade in the pen moving Papelbon from the role.

• Jon Axford got work in the bottom of the ninth last night but there is no change in Oakland as Ryan Madson is still the closer. In days when he’s not available, Melvin will turn to Axford though and I’ve put him second in line on the grid below.

• I think Andrew Miller is pretty good at this relieving thing whether it’s closing or not as he pitched around one hit for his ninth save of the year and his second since Aroldis Chapman was traded. The Yankees brass has still refused to go into “sell” mode so I think Miller’s job is still relatively safe. Also, although he would accept a setup role if traded, Miller would be the best reliever on any team he would be moved to which keeps his chances of getting saves pretty high. Dellin Betances remains the elite setup man in baseball and I would expect Chad Green or Adam Warren to possibly fill in Betances’ old spot. Both pitchers can be starters or long men but I put Green on the grid as he’s been light’s out in relief with a 2.08 FIP in that role. Warren struggled a bit this year for the Cubs so I would expect the Yankees to use him more for multiple innings where he succeeded last year for the Yanks.

• While everyone reloads their Twitter feed for sexy rumors regarding Andrew Miller or Wade Davis, the Blue Jays and Mariners made a small reliever swap with Joaquin Benoit heading to Toronto for Drew Storen. Edwin Diaz and his ridiculous 44.9% stirkeout rate moves behind Cishek with Tom Wilhelmsen stepping onto the grid. Meanwhile in Toronto, Benoit will set up Roberto Osuna along with Jason Grilli. The Mariners are hoping a “change of scenery” helps Storen and if it does, he could find his way back in the fold.

Jim Johnson isn’t any good but he’s still closing in Atlanta and recorded his third save last night. Chris Withrow actually threw in the eighth inning and has been pretty good of late so I added him to the grid. Johnson may not be long for the ninth for much longer but I sitll have Withrow behind Mauricio Cabrera and his heater.

Rumor Roundup: The Nationals missed on Aroldis but still need an upgrade with Andrew Miller, David Robertson and Wade Davis mentioned. Miller and Davis have reasonable contracts moving forward and should fetch a bigger haul than Aroldis which is probably keeping them from being moved at the moment. Robertson could be had but he’s struggled a bit this year with his worst peripherals of his career and an ERA over 4. The Brewers trifecta of relievers – Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress and Tyler Thornburg remain on the block as well. One has to also figure the Rays would release Alex Colome once they saw the price tag on Chapman. The Nationals figure to be the main team who could make a move quick but other than that there is no trade on the cusp of being completed.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Tyler Clippard Daniel Hudson Jake Barrett
Atlanta Jim Johnson Mauricio Cabrera Chris Withrow Arodys Vizcaino
Baltimore Zach Britton Brad Brach Mychal Givens Darren O’Day
Boston Brad Ziegler Matt Barnes Robbie Ross Jr. Craig Kimbrel
CHI (NL) Aroldis Chapman Hector Rondon Pedro Strop
CHI (AL) David Robertson Nate Jones Zach Duke
Cincy Tony Cingrani Ross Ohlendorf Raisel Iglesias
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Dan Otero
Colorado Carlos Estevez Jake McGee Adam Ottavino
Detroit Francisco Rodriguez Justin Wilson Shane Greene Bruce Rondon
Houston Will Harris Ken Giles Luke Gregerson
KC Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera Luke Hochevar
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Cam Bedrosian
LAD Kenley Jansen Joe Blanton Adam Libatore Yimi Garcia
Miami A.J. Ramos Fernando Rodney David Phelps
Milwaukee Jeremy Jeffress Tyler Thornburg Will Smith
Minnesota Brandon Kintzler Fernando Abad Ryan Pressly Glen Perkins
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Addison Reed Hansel Robles Jim Henderson
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Chad Green
Oakland Ryan Madson John Axford Ryan Dull Sean Doolittle
Philly Jeanmar Gomez Hector Neris David Hernandez
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Neftali Feliz Tony Watson
St. Louis Seung Hwan Oh Jonathan Broxton Kevin Siegrist
SD Brandon Maurer Ryan Buchter Kevin Quackenbush
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Hunter Strickland
Seattle Steve Cishek Edwin Diaz Tom Wilhelmsen Nick Vincent
TB Alex Colome Xavier Cedeno Erasmo Ramirez
Texas Sam Dyson Jake Diekman Keone Kela
Toronto Roberto Osuna Jason Grilli Joaquin Benoit
Wash. Jonathan Papelbon Shawn Kelley Blake Treinen

[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]

When he's not focusing on every team's bullpen situation, Ben can be found blogging at Ben's Baseball Bias and on Twitter @BensBias

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7 years ago

1. No traction/rumors on the Phillies moving Gomez?

2. Looks to me like Ottavino is next up in COL, Bedrosian next up in LAA

3. O’Day is back and pitched after Brach gave up an unearned run. You think he slides back into the setup role he had when he went on the DL or is the 8th inning still Brach in your mind?