Major League Baseball’s trade deadline is a busy time for fantasy owners, especially those of you in AL- and NL-only leagues.
But for those of us in leagues that count holds, this was just as a busy deadline. Several moves made closers setup men and setup men closers leaving us with a lot to sort out.
Let’s discuss 11 ‘pens shook up by MLB’s 2010 Trade Deadline.
Capps out, committee in for Nationals
The departure of Matt Capps to the Twins left several NL-Only fantasy teams in the cold. Capps racked up a lot of saves this season, but now he’s throwing for Minnesota. Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen are now locked in a committee to handle closing duties. Storen is the closer of the future, but Clippard, 25, isn’t ancient and has knockout stuff. One will have the makeup to be closer, the other will be a standout setup man. In leagues that reward for holds, both are must-own pitchers.
Bullpen saves leader: Clippard, Miguel Batista, Sean Burnett, 1
Bullpen holds leader: Clippard, 18
Rauch demoted with Capps arrival
Capps’ arrival in the Twins bullpen pushes Jon Rauch into a setup role. It also pushes Matt Guerrier into a secondary setup role. In years past, the Twins were a goldmine for holds. Rauch and Guerrier could both provide some help in that category leading up to Capps’ work in the ninth.
Bullpen saves leader: Rauch, 21
Bullpen holds leader: Guerrier, 16
Perez-Perez now 1-2 punch in Cleveland for good
With Kerry Wood living up to his oft-injured reputation, Chris Perez had already seen a bit of work as a closer. The Indians’ closer-of-the-future did well and with Wood’s departure to New York he is the closer-of-now. Rafael Perez is the top setup man behind him and Tony Sipp is next in line, according to the depth charts at www.mlb.com. I like Chris Perez and Rafael is no threat to take his job.
Bullpen saves leader: Chris Perez, 13
Bullpen holds leader: Sipp, Joe Smith, 10
Wood to share Yankees setup duties with Chamberlain
As shaky as Joba Chamberlain has been this season (1-4, 5.48 ERA) he’s still listed as the top setup man in New York. Wood’s 6.23 ERA and 1.66 WHIP is just as scary, if not more so. Wood has been much more effective since May 19, when his ERA was 18.90. It’ll be interesting to see how this battle shapes up. Despite his warts, Joba has 20 holds this season and struck out five batters and didn’t allow a run in his last three outings.
Bullpen saves leader: Mariano Rivera, 22
Bullpen holds leader: Chamberlain, 20
Committee/competition in Pittsburgh with Dotel departure
Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are battling it out for the Pirates’ closer/setup man roles. They need to be a better team to provide top-level stats, but Hanrahan’s Ks and Meek’s decimals (ERA and WHIP) make them attractive RPs even when they’re providing marginal holds/saves. Meek, who can throw more pitches than the hard-throwing Hanrahan, is currently working in the setup role.
Bullpen saves leader: Meek, Hanrahan, 1
Bullpen holds leader: Hanrahan, 17
Dotel the Dodgers’ third wheel
Hong-Chih Kuo is still the top setup man behind closer John Broxton in LA. They’ve been playing .500 ball, so it’s not like the Dodgers are providing gobs and gobs of holds opportunities. It’ll be interesting to see if Octavio Dotel has much value in fantasy leagues as the season rolls on.
Bullpen saves leader: Broxton, 21
Bullpen holds leader: Kuo, 16
Qualls and his 8.01 ERA are top setup option in Tampa?
As bad as Chad Qualls was for the Diamondbacks this season, he’s setting up Rafael Soriano for the Rays, according to MLB.com. The move is as much in response to Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell both being on the 15-day DL as anything. However, in two appearances for the Rays so far, Qualls pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one while notching a pair of holds. He has holds in each of his last three appearances. Maybe all he needed was a change of scenery, but I’d much rather have Joaquin Benoit for holds in fantasy.
Bullpen saves leader: Soriano, 31
Bullpen holds leader: Benoit, 15
Gutierrez injury further weakens Diamondbacks bullpen
The Qualls trade didn’t cost Arizona a closer, but it did weaken the bullpen. On Tuesday, closer Juan Gutierrez landed on the 15-day DL. Aaron Heilman, who had been ranked as the top setup man, will get the majority of the save opportunities. Don’t look here for hold opportunities unless one of the current options steps up. As it is Heilman has seven this season, Gutierrez has eight. The candidates now (D.J. Carrasco, Esmerling Vazquez and Blaine Boyer) have a combined 11.
Bullpen saves leader: Heilman, 4
Bullpen holds leader: Gutierrez, 8
Firm of Wuertz & Breslow back on the case for closer in Oakland
With another injury sidelining Athletics closer Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz and Craig Breslow are back sharing the closer role. Bailey’s not on the DL and is playing catch today, so this may only be minor. Neither member of the Wuertz/Breslow tandem leads the Athletics in holds, that honor goes to Brad Zeigler.
Bullpen saves leader: Bailey, 20
Bullpen holds leader: Zeigler, 14