Cleat Geeks

SABERmetrics Sunay: Closers on the Trade Market

The trade deadline approaches soon and the rumors are flying and the stove is heating up. This year seems to be the year of the pitcher when it comes to big trade rumors, considering the free agent class of pitchers this coming off-season is not very good and you can never have enough arms for a postseason run. One thing that comes to mind are closers, which ones are available for a trade and who needs them.

In terms of which contending teams need a closer, the team that sticks out is the Washington Nationals whose 4.89 FIP is the second worse bullpen FIP in baseball. They look like they will win the division but they need pen help to go deep in October. Other teams in play for a closer would likely be the Diamonbacks seeing as Fernando Rodney is struggling, the Yankees with Chapman struggles/injury and Tyler Clippard’s struggles, the Cardinals seeing as their pen has been very inconsistent, and the Royals who are hovering around .500 and may be looking for more depth in the back of the pen.

The thing is that most top closers are with contending teams and will not be sold…but not all of them are. There are a few notable closer names that will be or possibly be on the market. Which ones are those? Here they are (STATS as of 7/15 from Fangraphs):

David Roberston (White Sox)

Image result for david robertson mlb

The White Sox are in full rebuild mode. In the past year their farm went from awful to number one as they sold assets like Chris Sale, Adam Eaton and most recently Jose Quintana. Robertson is one of the last assets that will seemingly get a decent return. While some inconsistency has shown over the past few years, he has overall been efficient. Robertson was on the market since day one of the season knowing this was a rebuild year. His flyball percentage is a bit up from normal years thus the higher home run per nine innings but overall still some efficient numbers.

3.02 FIP / 83.9% LOB (left on base) / 36.5% K / 8.7% BB / 1.02 WHIP / 1.15 HR-9 / 45.5% fly ball / 13 saves / 0.8 WAR in 31.1 IP 

Zach Britton (Orioles)

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The best closer in baseball last year has battled some injures which has resulted in little playing time, yet he is healthy now and still looks good in a small sample size. In 2016 Britton had a ridiculous 1.94 FIP and 0.84 WHIP and was 47/47 in saves last year and has a 2.43 FIP since 2014. If he is healthy he is probably the best closer on the market as the Orioles chances are slipping in a tough division.

2.92 FIP / 86.4% LOB / 16.1%K / 8.9 BB / 1.69 WHIP / 0.00 HR-9 / 9.8% fly ball / 63.4% ground ball / 5 saves / 0.3 WAR in 13.0 IP

Roberto Osuna (Blue Jays)

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The Jays are under-performing and their postseason chances do not look great. From the talks so far it seems like the Jays do not want to be sellers, but things could change. Take this entry with a grain of salt being available, but he had to make the list because he has been absolute lights out and the Jays are in last. Being only 22 he may be their guy for the future, but again things change and maybe a nice package can be offered, but who knows. This guy has superb command and misses a ton of bats.

1.46 FIP / 76.6% LOB / 36.4%K / 2.3% BB / 0.71 WHIP / 0.51 HR-9 / 41% fly ball / 41% ground ball / 22 saves / 1.7 WAR in 35.0 IP 

AJ Ramos (Marlins)

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Ramos is not having his best year, especially considering he had a 2.90 FIP and 1.31 WHIP last year and did not have a FIP higher than 3.25 since his rookie year in 2012, however his career numbers show he can still be valuable. Will he get a nice return like a Britton? No but the Marlins do not have a great postseason chance this year despite having a nice offensive core, maybe they can flip Ramos for something okay if they want but that is something that remains to be seen. Seems like he has drawn some interest.

3.99 FIP / 72.5 LOB / 29.1%K / 12.8% BB / 1.31 WHIP / 1.05 HR-9 / 45.1% fly ball / 17 saves / 0.2 WAR in 34.1 IP 

Brad Hand (Padres) 

Image result for brad hand padres

An underrated pen arm, the rebuilding Padres could be looking to shop him for some solid future assets. While starting his career on a “meh” note with the Marlins he has come around the last two years in San Diego. He may not be the official closer but he might be able to go somewhere and play that role as he has been a great set-up guy this year who made his first all star appearance. Even if not a closer if traded he could be a good set up man for a contender which is why he is on this list either way.

2.79 FIP / 83.7 LOB / 32.1%K / 7.0 BB / 1.00 WHIP / 0.77 HR-9 / 47.7% ground ball / 2 saves / 1.1 WAR in 47.0 IP 


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