It's that time of year again. With the All-Star Game right around the corner and the non-waiver trade deadline approaching fast, the closer carousel may being to pick up speed as August nears. Here is a look at some possible scenarios and their impact should a move be made.
In Pittsburgh, Octavio Dotel has nailed down 19 saves, but has done so with a 4.28 ERA. However, most of that damage was done in April. His 4.54 BB/9 is part of the problem and for that fact he will not be looked at as a one or two fantasy closer. Still, Major League teams seem to find value in the save category alone and Dotel is a veteran that some clubs may covet as a setup man.
Should the Pirates send Dotel packing for a prospect or two, the obvious choice to replace him would be All-Star Evan Meek, who has a 0.96 ERA and 3.82 K/BB rate.
Kerry Wood has had a so-so season since returning from the DL, but he has not allowed a run in his last four outings with seven strikeouts and only one walk over that period. The timing couldn't be better as the trade deadline approaches and rest assure that the Indians front office is looking to deal their closer for prospects.
Should Wood be dealt, Chris Perez, who started the season as the Inidans closer, would likely take over ninth inning duties. Perez has been a bit inconsistent at times with his K/BB numbers, but he has lowered his ERA each month of the season and would be a fine third closer on any fantasy team.
The Blue Jays wish that Kevin Gregg could put together a sustained hot streak as I'm sure the front office would love to flip him for prospects. Gregg had a great start to the season, but lost his command soon thereafter.
Jason Frasor and Scott Downs could split save chances should Gregg be dealt, though Downs has the better K/BB rate and ERA.
The Brewers are in an interesting situation. Still within the realm of contention, they are unlikely to trade away their current closer John Axford, but there is a scenario in which he loses his job.
Trevor Hoffman is only four saves away from 600 for his career and the countdown to 600 sign at Miller Park remains standing. If the Brewers fall out of contention in August or September, don't be surprised if Hoffman gets a chance to get those last four saves (and then some) for a late season boost in attendance.
Clearly, Matt Capps has outperformed expectations this season and his 22 saves might just look intriguing enough for other teams to want to add him a setup man for the stretch run. If that should happen, Tyler Clippard looks like the man that has earned the right to replace Capps in the ninth. However, if the Nats do indeed feel like Drew Storen is their closer of the future, they may opt to get him some experience and leave Clippard in the eighth inning role.
The White Sox are in an interesting situation as they are in contention and in the middle of trade rumors, but they also have some bullpen depth to play with. Bobby Jenks missed time recently to attend to family matters, while both Matt Thornton and J.J. Putz took turns closing out games.
Jenks has struggled with his control this season allowing 14 walks in 29.2 innings pitched. He also has an ERA over 4.00. This may not seem appealing to many teams, especially since the teams with the hot commodities often are looking to acquire cheap prospects. Still, there could be a minor move that sends Jenks packing.
Both Thornton and Putz would likely see opportunities to close out games should the White Sox move Jenks, but my money would be on Thornton to see the majority of those opportunities.