Bullpen Report: May 12, 2015

Steve Cishek’s blow up last night was the last straw as Mike Redmond has removed him from the closer’s role.  Cishek’s seasonal struggles have been well noted in the Bullpen Reports this year. His velocity has been up and down this season and he’s just been too hittable all season long. Roller coasters are fun at an amusement park but when it involves your closer, a change needs to be made. There has been no news on who specifically will replace Cishek and the Marlins figure to mix and match/use a committee for now, until someone takes the job fully. In the mix should be Bryan Morris, Mike Dunn (L),  A.J. Ramos and potentially Rafael Soriano as he and the Marlins are “very much engaged” in talks. As Darren speculated in last night’s BR, based on their seasons thus far you would expect A.J. Ramos to receive the first chance but until we see what he does we won’t really know. It’s possible that Redmond might leave Ramos in the familiar eighth inning and play the matchups with Morris and Dunn. Still, the safe speculation is Ramos, Dunn and Morris, and in that order.

Rafael Soriano wasn’t necessarily bad last year as he had a 3.19/3.08/3.92 ERA/FIP/xFIP line but he also wasn’t impressive enough to find a contract this season, yet. He did save 32 games though, and if the Marlins sign him they could prefer Soriano’s closing experience while keeping the rest of the bullpen in their familiar roles. By the time this is published, the Marlins won’t have a save opportunity to speak about but we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on their bullpen situation along with any additional Soriano rumors. I recognize Cishek isn’t injured or in the minors, but for now I’m placing him in the last column on the closer grid.

Jason Grilli was cleared to pitch last night after dealing with some back spasms over the past few days but the Braves elected to give him an extra day of rest, turning to Jim Johnson for the save. With an assumed clean bill of health Jason Grilli entered in the 9th inning tonight in a tie game, but gave up the game winning run on a Devin Mesoraco double for his second loss of the season. If Grilli is to miss anymore time or have a break from the ninth inning, expect Jim Johnson to receive any and all save opportunities for the Braves. Grilli averaged 93.8 mph and hit 94.7 mph in his outing tonight which is in line with his seasonal average of 94.2 mph so if the back spasm’s are at play here still, it’s not affecting his velocity. I don’t think a change is imminent and I expect Grilli to get back on track but I would exercise some caution here and am putting the Braves situation to Yellow. Although I think it’s likely Grilli returns to the success he had earlier this season, I would still be sure to add Johnson as a handcuff or a speculative add for a team in need of saves or just a clever owner looking to extract some value on the wire.

• A minor change to the Tigers pecking order below as I’m moving Joba up a slot and putting Angel Nesbitt in over Al Alburquerque. Some brilliant readers made sure to put Nesbitt on the radar in the comments and a change to the grid now seems fitting. In tonight’s game, Joba got the last out of the eighth inning handing the ball to Soria for the ninth in a tie game. Nesbitt entered in the 10th and after throwing a scoreless inning, received the vulture relief win. Al Al has more walks than strikeouts and a 8.63 FIP, that’s enough of a struggle to be removed from seeing any particularly meaningful innings at the moment. Meanwhile, Nesbitt has a 2.40 FIP and a 11/2 K/BB in 13.1 innings this year.  Soria’s grasp on the ninth is firm, but look for Joba and Nesbitt to see the higher leverage setup innings and holds moving forward.

• Quick Hits: Aroldis Chapman, pitching in his third consecutive game, received the win after Grilli gave up the game winner in the ninth. Expect Chapman to be unavailable tomorrow. Brad Boxberger recorded his ninth save against the Yankees. Jake McGee is still working his way back but it’s no guarantee he takes back his familiar seat in the closer’s chair with Boxberger’s success this year. David Robertson picked up his sixth save, striking out two batters in the process.

Closer Grid:

Closer First Second DL/Minors
Arizona Addison Reed Brad Ziegler Evan Marshall
Atlanta Jason Grilli Jim Johnson Cody Martin
Baltimore Zach Britton Darren O’Day Tommy Hunter
Boston Koji Uehara Alexi Ogando Junichi Tazawa
CHI (NL) Hector Rondon Pedro Strop Jason Motte
CHI (AL) David Robertson Jacob Petricka Zach Duke
Cincy Aroldis Chapman Jumbo Diaz Tony Cingrani Sean Marshall
Cleveland Cody Allen Bryan Shaw Scott Atchison
Colorado John Axford Rafael Betancourt Boone Logan Adam Ottavino
Detroit Joakim Soria Joba Chamberlain Angel Nesbitt Joe Nathan
Houston Luke Gregerson Chad Qualls Pat Neshek
KC Greg Holland Wade Davis Kelvin Herrera
LAA Huston Street Joe Smith Vinnie Pestano
LAD Yimi Garcia Chris Hatcher Pedro Baez Kenley Jansen
Miami A.J. Ramos Mike Dunn Bryan Morris Steve Cishek
Milwaukee Francisco Rodriguez Jonathan Broxton Will Smith
Minnesota Glen Perkins Brian Duensing Blaine Boyer Casey Fien
NY (NL) Jeurys Familia Carlos Torres Buddy Carlyle Jenrry Mejia
NY (AL) Andrew Miller Dellin Betances Esmil Rogers Chris Martin
Oakland Tyler Clippard Evan Scribner Dan Otero Sean Doolittle
Philly Jonathan Papelbon Ken Giles Luis Garcia
Pittsburgh Mark Melancon Tony Watson Arquimedes Caminero
St. Louis Trevor Rosenthal Seth Maness Matt Belisle Jordan Walden
SD Craig Kimbrel Joaquin Benoit Dale Thayer
SF Santiago Casilla Sergio Romo Jeremy Affeldt
Seattle Fernando Rodney Danny Farquhar Carson Smith
TB Brad Boxberger Kevin Jepsen Ernesto Frieri Jake McGee
Texas Neftali Feliz Keone Kela Shawn Tolleson Tanner Scheppers
Toronto Brett Cecil Roberto Osuna Steve Delabar Miguel Castro
Wash. Drew Storen Aaron Barrett Blake Treinen Casey Janssen

[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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Justin Otherguy
Justin Otherguy

Evan Marshall is in AAA