A slow news day for the bullpens which is probably similar to everyone’s production at work after a holiday weekend…
• Rafael Soriano was moved to Double-A today and he was impressive in his first outing, striking out three batters on 16 pitches for the Smokies. With a few more appearances in the minors, Soriano could be in Chicago after the All-Star break. However, rather than firm up any of the bullpen roles, Soriano’s addition is only adding to the confusion. He will help the bullpen’s depth and Maddon has seen Soriano close out games first hand on the Rays, but for now Jason Motte is getting the saves. The Motte bar isn’t a tough bar to clear necessarily but he also has Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and possibly even more outside help. The latest Cubs rumors involve starting pitching and an OF bat so I think whoever will get saves moving forward is currently on the roster.
• Aroldis Chapman pitched around one walk to get his 17th save on the year. While Johnny Cueto’s name pops up in any trade rumor article, it’s remained fairly quiet on the Chapman front. Chapman will likely continue to throw 100+mph on his familiarly mediocre Reds team. He’s been slightly less dominant this year, which says more about what we expect than a poor performance as a 1.73 ERA and 60 strikeouts in only 36 innings pitched is still top tier material.
• No save in Pittsburgh but Jared Hughes picked up the win. Entering the game in a tied ninth, Hughes pitched around two hits and vultured the W after Pedro Alvarez knocked in the winning run off of Brandon Maurer. Tony Watson relieved A.J. Burnett to get the final out in the eighth, and I’d still have him as second in line in Pittsburgh. Arquimedes Caminero has the profile of a closer but Jared Hughes has been excellent of late, with 11 straight appearance without allowing a run while Caminero has struggled over the same timeframe. I would bet on Caminero’s career save total over Hughes, but I’m moving Hughes ahead of him on the pecking order.
[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