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It was another busy week around major league bullpens: we saw a closer change take place in Toronto; hopefully it did not take you by surprise, as we reported in last week’s Bullpen Briefs that there were storm clouds building north of the border. The situation there is far from settled, and if you have already secured one or more of the potential options to close games, the only thing to do is sit back and watch how things develop.

Speaking of unsettled situations, we’re still not sure what to make of the bullpen hierarchy on the north side of Chicago, as manager Joe Maddon seems to be marching to the beat of his own drummer – or perhaps his own percussion section. Three relievers are in the mix here; is there one who has the inside track to the ninth-inning job?

This week also saw a former closer sent to the minor leagues; will he be able to pitch his way back to The Show…and will there be a high-leverage waiting for him when and if he returns?

We’ve talked quite a bit about the Tampa Bay Rays’ bullpen situation over the past few weeks, but there’s one reliever down in St. Petersburg that you’ve probably never heard of – but he could be of value to your Fantasy cause.

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… which means pretty much daily.

Who’s Out?

We told you about Brett Cecil’s struggles last week, and when things didn’t improve for the southpaw, he was demoted from the closer’s gig on June 23. Cecil had allowed eight earned runs, six hits and three walks in his last three appearances as Toronto’s closer, and the team has announced that a committee will be in place for the time being. Stash Cecil on your bench if you’re in a monoleague or deep mixed format, but he can probably be dropped in standard-sized mixed leagues.

Former Arizona Diamondbacks’ closer Addison Reed’s fall from prominence continues, as he was sent down to Triple-A Reno this week. Reed never really seemed to get untracked this season, and he owned a rather dismal 5.92 ERA and 1.73 WHIP at the time of his demotion. If Reed can iron out his mechanics while down on the farm, he may very well be back in the ninth-inning mix later this season; for now, though, he can probably be dropped in most Fantasy leagues.

Who’s In?

Roberto Osuna and Steve Delabar figure to receive most of the Toronto save opportunities in the near future, with Osuna probably the better Fantasy option of the two. The 20-year-old owns a stellar 2.10 ERA and 0.90 WHIP in his first major-league season, and opposing hitters are batting just .174 against him. Osuna has fanned 40 batters in 34.1 innings of work, and he has allowed just one home run this season. Delabar, meanwhile, has fashioned a tidy 1.42 ERA and 0.79 WHIP through 19 appearances, while fanning 21 batters in 19 innings and holding opponents to a .129 batting average. If Osuna is not available, Delabar makes a decent roster stash if you’re chasing saves; it would also not be a surprise to see the Blue Jays pursue a closer before the trade deadline.

The Arizona Diamondbacks’ Enrique Burgos was activated from the disabled list June 22 after missing close to a month with shoulder tendinitis. Burgos has fanned 25 batters in 14.1 innings this season, but he has also issued nine walks. He was once a key part of the D-backs’ bullpen-by-committee, and if Burgos can throw strikes he may once again find himself in the mix for ninth-inning duty.

Relievers on the Rocks

David Robertson’s job is not in jeopardy, but the White Sox’s closer has hit a rough patch of road over the past month, which has seen his ERA rise from 0.98 at the start of play on May 26 to 2.84 at the close of play on June 25. Robertson had allowed earned runs in four of his last 12 appearances, and he had surrendered a total of eight earned runs in 13.1 innings during that time. Chicago doesn’t really have a good backup option for Robertson, so the team should allow him to work through this tough stretch.

Relievers on the Rise

Francisco Rodriguez is 15-for-15 in save opportunities thus far in 2015, and he has allowed only one earned run in his last 22 appearances. K-Rod has been the subject of quite a few trade rumors, and his Fantasy value would receive a nice boost if he were closing for a team other than the woeful Brewers.

Tampa Bay reliever Steve Geltz has been a veritable Swiss Army knife for his team this season, racking up two saves, 10 holds and even starting two games when the Rays were in need. Through his first 34 appearances, Geltz had forged a 2.31 ERA and 0.86 WHIP, while holding opposing batters to a .153 BAA. He had fanned 39 batters in 35 innings, and had allowed only two earned runs and six hits in 14.1 innings in June. Geltz is not in the Rays’ regular rotation for saves, but his versatility and effectiveness in his unique role has made him a viable Fantasy asset.

Keep an eye on…

Despite Carson Smith reeling off five consecutive converted save opportunities, apparently the closer situation in Seattle is still technically a committee. Manager Lloyd McClendon reminded us of this when he used Smith in the eighth inning and handed the ball to former ninth-inning man Fernando Rodney for the final frame of the M’s 3-1 win on June 26. McClendon’s dedication to the wildly erratic Rodney is well documented, so do not be surprised if the Archer of CrookedHat finds himself back in the ninth inning sooner rather than later.

Fireballer Bruce Rondon was recalled from Triple-A June 24, where he had been pitching since being activated from the disabled list June 15. Rondon had been dealing with biceps tendinitis this season, and he underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2014, but his 100-mph fastball absolutely warrants attention from Fantasy owners. He’s not a threat to close games, but Rondon could pitch his way into a high-leverage role at some point. He notched his first win of the season – and first since August 7, 2013 – on June 26 by pitching a scoreless inning against the Chicago White Sox.

The Cubs’ bullpen looks to be morphing into a full-blown committee affair, with Hector Rondon and Jason Motte each earning a save over the past week, and each pitching in a setup role at some point. Just to make things more confusing, Pedro Strop pitched the top of the ninth inning of a scoreless game back on June 23 – after Rondon had finished the eighth with a single pitch. This situation is tough to decipher at this point, but since Strop’s last save came back on June 6, he would appear to be the third option. Hang on to Rondon and look to add Motte if he’s available, but situations like this are the kinds of things that drive Fantasy owners looney.

Former Mets’ closer Jenrry Mejia is due back from his suspension on July 7, but he doesn’t figure to pose a threat to current ninth-inning man Jeurys Familia, who has been outstanding in the role.

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… which means pretty much daily.

Crop by: UCinternational
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