A few bullpen notes as you enjoy whatever it is you choose to do this July 4th…
• Welp, after I mentioned last week that Greg Holland’s job seemed safe he decided to implode, blowing another save last night and now he might be in danger of losing his job. Al did a great job going through the possible options last night so there’s no reason to relitigate the back of the Diamondbacks pen. Bat Flip Crazy also had a Tweet worth mentioning here showcasing Holland’s struggles and decline this month. A replacement for Holland hasn’t been mentioned yet so he will stay on the grid below but it’s unlikely that he continues to see save opportunities with Andrew Chafin, Yoan Lopez, and Yoshihisa Hirano all possible alternatives. Whoever Torey Lovullo chooses is worth an add but this is a situation that could use some time to sort itself out.
• Blake Treinen returned from the IL last night and promptly received the loss, allowing an earned run and three base runners to the Twins, while only recording one out. The A’s end goal is for Treinen to return to closing but until he shows signs of improvement his seat is going to be hot and shared with Liam Hendriks who has been consistently better than him all season. I’m giving Oakland the committee designation for now. If Treinen doesn’t start stringing together some scoreless appearances then he might return to the IL but would definitely lose his grasp on saves. If Treinen shows improvement then I would expect him to receive the majority of saves here on out. This is a tenuous situation and both players are worth owning for any teams in need of saves. My hot take would be that Treinen has looked off all year and his minimum IL stint hasn’t done anything to convince me otherwise and I would look to buy low-ish on Hendriks with an owner afraid that it’s Treinen’s job again.
• Jose Alvarado had a night to forget allowing six runs while getting two outs against the Orioles. Alvarado was away from the Rays for a while with a personal matter so it’s possible he is still finding his way but he’s also been mostly bad since the start of the season. It seems like only last week that Alvarado and Diego Castillo were spitting fire with Emilio Pagan joining the club as an added luxury. However, Castillo has struggled and hit the IL and Alvarado’s ERA has ballooned to 4.85 with less than stellar peripheral stats. Meanwhile, Pagan has avoided any cold streaks and should benefit from added save opportunities. Expecting the Rays to resort to traditional usage of a closer would be a fool’s errand but Pagan is currently the best man standing at the moment.
• Alex Colome got his 19th save last night. Colome has a pedestrian strikeout rate (21.3% K%) but an above average swinging strike percentage (12.8% SwStr%), and he has a decent history of missing more bats a few years ago. If a new team can change his sequencing or pitch mix they might unlock a higher strikeout rate which should help his value but if he’s moved he would likely not see any saves, only making him particularly useful in holds leagues.
• Craig Kimbrel blew his first save for the Cubs last night, receiving the loss at the hands of the Pirates. Early rust is to be expected out of Kimbrel and he will be given multiple chances to fight through it but these games do matter for the Cubs and if he still needs additional work before seeing the 9th, the Cubs have other options in the interim. I’m not sounding any alarm and would bet on his rest of season save total over anyone else on the Cubs but it’s worth noting his early struggles so far.
• Quick Hits: Sean Doolittle allowed a few hits and a run but held on for his 19th save. The Nationals are likely going to sell peripheral pieces and Doolittle should fetch a decent return if he was put on the market. Ken Giles is a great closer on a bad team which means he’s a trade candidate but he shut the door on the Sox for his 13th save and is running a 1.92 SIERA, 37.6% K-BB%, and 20.7% SwStr%. Not many pitchers have been better than Giles this year, and while he could lose his closing role if he’s traded, it’s also possible he would be the best reliever on his new team. Raisel Iglesias pitched a scoreless 9th for his 15th save. The Reds will likely frustrate player’s with Iglesias shares by throwing Michael Lorenzen and company out for a save or two but Iglesias should receive majority of saves moving forward. If/when the Twins upgrade their pen, Taylor Rogers could lose his job but until then his job is safe as he closed his 11th door last night. Roberto Osuna (19) and Will Smith (22) each recorded saves as well with one likely to continue getting saves and the other likely on the move, at some point.
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