Travis D’Arnaud doesn’t have a game Friday. Sometimes the roto gods are laughing at us.
The trade deadline came and went, and it was a fun one. I didn’t see a ton of fantasy sea changes, but there were a few things to keep in mind. Here are some of the bullpen decisions I made this week.
Cut Luke Jackson
Jackson’s been a tricky closer for the Braves; he did convert 17 chances, and his strikeout rate (12.1/9) is delightful. But a 3.96 ERA and 1.42 WHIP are flying too close to the sun. Atlanta was expected to add relief reinforcements, and man, did they ever: Shane Greene, Mark Melancon, and Chris Martin were acquired this week.
Jackson’s days of closing are obviously over. And those ratios aren’t good enough to justify rostership in most leagues.
I probably should have been more proactive adding Joe Jimenez, the Detroit reliever who was tabbed the Greene replacement if/when Detroit made a trade. Jimenez’s seasonal stats aren’t great, but he’s pitched much better of late (over his last 16.2 innings, three walks and 22 strikeouts). Obviously it’s a season-to-taste move, as a mediocre closer on a bad team won’t have universal fantasy value. But in the deeper leagues, every validated closer generally needs to be rostered.
Added Anthony Bass
The Mariners were the opposite of the Braves; Seattle traded everything it could on its pitching staff. Later, Roenis Elias. Peace out, Mike Leake. Hunter Strickland went to Washington, soon to reacquaint with Bryce Harper.
So we’re left to speculate on the new Mariners closer. Bill Caudill isn’t walking through that door. I decided to place my chip on Anthony Bass.
Bass is a journeyman all the way, a 31-year-old who didn’t have a major league gig when the season started. The Reds didn’t have a major-league spot for Bass in mid-May, so he opted out and signed with the Mariners. Bass hasn’t been a wipeout reliever for the M’s, but a 3.49 ERA and 1.06 WHIP play in our formats. Mind you, FIP suggests his ERA should be a run higher.
I’d be interested in Austin Adams (ridiculous K/BB rate and WHIP) if he were healthy. Cory Gearrin walks too many guys. And again, if you decide you don’t want to dance in the ninth with Seattle, I get it. I have some leagues where I need to throw into double-coverage.
Bass, a Wayne State product, becomes the default add. He trades at nine percent in Yahoo, with all adds coming in the last day.
Held Nick Anderson
Anderson has been a catch-and-release player for me most of the year, someone I’ve owned for periods and dropped for other periods. His 3.92 ERA and 1.28 WHIP are borderline rosterable, but he’s struck out 69 men in 43.2 innings, and he looked like a possible step-in closer with Sergio Romo a seasonal trade candidate.
The Marlins did indeed trade Romo, well in advance of the deadline, but then Anderson was traded, too. Anderson is now in Tampa, where the Rays so often like to use “cast of thousands” as their ninth-inning plan.
Nonetheless, I’m going to see where this goes. Maybe Anderson, who already has a scoreless Rays inning on his resume, can prove his mettle in the ninth. Perhaps he’ll get a chance to close and be dominant in the role. And before we get too worried about his baseball-card stats, keep in mind he also has a 2.64 FIP — he’s been somewhat unlucky. And a K/BB rate of 4.44 will always draw attention.
Speed Round: Other items to consider
Wil Myers is out of roster purgatory after the Padres moved Franmil Reyes. Perhaps Myers’s theoretical category juice can make him useful in deeper formats . . . We had an earlier talk about Cavan Biggio, part of the legacy act in Toronto. Ignore his average for now, focus on the juicy OBP and legitimate power and speed. He batted second in Thursday’s beatdown of Baltimore . . . Sean Manaea is a tricky call with Oakland; he’s carrying a messy ERA (over 7) in his rehab assignment, but the K/BB rate is delicious. Given the size of Oakland’s park and the defense behind him, I’ll be open-minded when Manaea is promoted. Don’t overlook how useful Mike Fiers (despite the strikeout rate) and Chris Bassitt have been this year . . . Will the Rangers eventually give the ball back to Jose Leclerc? He’s paid like a closer, he’s pitched like an arsonist. But with Martin traded and Shawn Kelley hurt, maybe there are no alternatives. Jesse Chavez recorded a rogue save this week, but the Rangers often prefer him in a multi-inning role . . . If you have room for a non-closing reliever, let me introduce you to Giovanny Gallegos. His seasonal stats look too good to be true — 50.2 IP, 28 H, 12 R, 19 BB, 72 K. You worry some about the workload, but a 2.13 ERA, 0.75 WHP and that strikeout rate will work in many formats. He’s quietly worked his way up to 17-percent rostered in Yahoo. If Carlos Martinez hits any kind of a bump, perhaps Gallegos is the next closing option for the Cardinals.