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While there were no closer changes last week, we did see plenty of action and movement in the bullpen hierarchies of several teams, and more figures to be on the way as the trade deadline approaches. For every trade action, there’s a potential reaction that can reap significant rewards for the knowledgeable and astute Fantasy owner.

Speaking of trades, a former closer is wearing a new uniform these days; can he pitch his way into a high-leverage role in his new environs?

Another familiar – though significantly portlier – figure inked a minor league deal with a legitimate contender, and he could be in the late-innings mix in a hurry for one beleaguered bullpen north of the border.

Old faces in new places seemed to be the theme last week, as a veteran MLB closer found himself pitching for his fifth team in the past seven seasons. Can he make an impact in the Windy City?

Arizona has been a rather pleasant surprise this season, and perhaps no player has enjoyed a bigger breakout than the D-backs’ closer, who looks to have made the jump from Fantasy fill-in to Fantasy stud. Will he still be plying his trade in the desert after the deadline, though?

There could be trouble brewing up in the Rockies, as Colorado’s closer has hit a stretch of ineffectiveness that has left Rockies’ fans bluer than those mountains on the can label. Can he turn things around in time to keep his job?

Following bullpens around the league is truly a daily pursuit, so be sure to check out – and bookmark — our Bullpen Depth Charts, which are updated as news breaks … pretty much daily.

Bullpen Briefs

 

Who’s Out?

The Arizona Diamondbacks sent struggling set-up man Enrique Burgos to the minors on July 19. Burgos had pitched effectively early in the season, but his recent struggles had ballooned his ERA to 5.14 and his WHIP to 1.57. He’ll try to iron things out down on the farm, but Burgos can safely be dropped in most Fantasy leagues.

Who’s In?

Former Yankees and Tigers set-up man Joba Chamberlain inked a minor-league deal with Toronto on July 21, and he could be a part of the Blue Jays’ troubled major-league bullpen sooner rather than later. Chamberlain has struggled to a 4.09 ERA and 1.68 WHIP this season, but his ERA stood at 1.89 as recently as June 24. He probably won’t be in line for saves in the near future, but Chamberlain could pitch his way into a high-leverage role in  short order.

The Cubs recalled Rafael Soriano from the minors on July 19, and he figures to be a part of the late-inning mix almost immediately. Soriano posted seven scoreless innings in the minors, and he owns 207 career saves – including a career-high 45 for the Joe Maddon-led Tampa Bay Rays in 2010.

Reliever on the Rocks

John Axford had been one of 2015’s top bullpen bounce-back stories, but he has hit a rough patch on road over the past month or so. Axford has allowed earned runs in each of his last three appearances, and he has posted an ERA of 6.43 and WHIP of 2.14 in eight July appearances. Axford’s ERA has ballooned from 1.31 back on June 16 to 3.38 at the close of play on July 24; his job doesn’t appear to be in immediate jeopardy just yet, but it’s noteworthy that former closer LaTroy Hawkins has allowed only one earned run since June 15.

Reliever on the Rise

Arizona closer Brad Ziegler has been frequently mentioned in trade rumors, and for good reason: the veteran reliever has allowed only one earned run and just seven hits in 17.2 innings since June 2. Many thought that Ziegler would simply be a placeholder until the ‘Snakes found a “permanent” closer, but his fine 2015 performance has made him one of this season’s biggest Fantasy surprises.

 

Keep an eye on…

Former Marlins’ closer Steve Cishek was traded to St. Louis on July 24, and he’ll provide veteran depth in front of closer Trevor Rosenthal. Rosenthal has been a bit shaky lately, so Cishek could see an occasional save chance if Rosenthal and set-up man Kevin Siegrist need a breather. Cishek has allowed only one earned run in 12.2 innings since being recalled from the minors in mid-June.

The Braves signed veteran reliever Jason Frasor after he was released by Kansas City;  Frasor owns a 3.50 career ERA and 36 saves, and he could be a factor in the late innings if closer Jim Johnson is traded away.

Following bullpens around the league is truly a daily pursuit, so be sure to check out – and bookmark — our Bullpen Depth Charts, which are updated as news breaks … pretty much daily.

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