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Bullpen Report: July 7,2015

• No save situation for the Cubs this afternoon, but they had to bring in their closer Jason Motte to get the last two outs of the game. Every day that goes by seems to cement Motte’s role in the ninth. The Cubs bullpen use could be Maddon-ing to Hector Rondon owners, but moving forward expecting Motte to receive the lion’s share of saves.

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Bullpen Report: July 6, 2015

A slow news day for the bullpens which is probably similar to everyone’s production at work after a holiday weekend…

Rafael Soriano was moved to Double-A today and he was impressive in his first outing, striking out three batters on 16 pitches for the Smokies. With a few more appearances in the minors, Soriano could be in Chicago after the All-Star break.  However, rather than firm up any of the bullpen roles, Soriano’s addition is only adding to the confusion. He will help the bullpen’s depth and Maddon has seen Soriano close out games first hand on the Rays, but for now Jason Motte is getting the saves. The Motte bar isn’t a tough bar to clear necessarily but he also has Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and possibly even more outside help. The latest Cubs rumors involve starting pitching and an OF bat so I think whoever will get saves moving forward is currently on the roster.

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Bullpen Report: June 30, 2015

A few bullpen notes as we leave the month of June and officially enter the trade deadline season…

• The Cubs are making me bite my tongue a bit as Jason Motte was called on for the save again, converting his third of the season. Hector Rondon entered the game in the seventh, throwing a perfect inning himself with Pedro Strop also perfect in the eighth. Stubbornly, I’ll still call Rondon the best reliever in their pen but since it’s been almost two weeks since he’s received a save opportunity, it looks like Motte leapfrogged him in the pecking order. To make matters even more confusing, the Cubs could still look outside the organization for more relief options, not to mention Rafael Soriano working his way into form in the minors. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Rondon back in the chair but I’d go Motte then Rondon for now.

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Bullpen Report: June 29, 2015

Koji Uehara entered ninth in a 3-1 game tonight, and closed the door against the Blue Jays for his 17th save. Uehara has had a few hiccups this season but he’s still putting in a fine year with a 3.00/2.50/3.45 ERA/FIP/xFIP line in 27 innings pitched. In spite of his advanced age and a 86.9 mph fastball, Uehara still gets well tons of swinging strikes (18.7%) to get over a strikeout per inning (10.00 K/9). He’s not quite the top tier of closer any more but expect him to continue to put up good numbers and saves for the Red Sox. It’s expected that the Sox could be sellers at the deadline, but there are no imminent deals lined up and trading the contracts of Pablo Sandoval and/or Hanley Ramirez could prove problematic. Uehara would be a nice addition to any bullpen and it wouldn’t shock me to see him moved even though he’s still owed $9 million next season. This trade might not be as likely as Jonathan Papelbon (who also has an expensive contract in 2016) changing teams but keep an eye on the rumors.

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Bullpen Report: Tuesday, June 23, 2015

• There is no word on who the next closer in Toronto will be as a save situation did not present itself tonight but we do know that Brett Cecil is officially outSteve Delabar entered the game in the ninth inning down by a run. He proceeded to allow a homer to Asdrubal Cabrera and a walk to Brandon Guyer but then retired the next three batters. Tonight’s outing likely won’t play a role in Delabar’s role in the pen and although there might be a current committee in Toronto without a closer announced, I’m still buying more stock in Roberto Osuna.

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Bullpen Report: Monday, June 22, 2015

• After losing the closing gig earlier this year, we figured that Addison Reed could have regained his role with improved performance in lower leverage innings. However, since then he’s only struggled and has now been demoted to AAA. It stands that Reed could theoretically still regain his familiar role in the ninth, but he’s far off the radar as of now. With Reed’s demotion comes Enrique Burgos‘ return from the 15-day DL. Burgos has nasty stuff, generating tons of strikeouts and is in someways the antithesis of current closer Brad Ziegler who has a paltry 4.50 K/9. Ziegler is converting the opportunities he’s given though, and his grasp on the job is fairly secure. Once Burgos gets a few innings under his belt, he could leapfrog Dan Hudson in the pecking order.

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Bullpen Report: June 16, 2015

• A quick recap from last night: Greg Holland entered a non-save situation up six runs but ended up handing Wade Davis a save opp after allowing five baserunners and three earned without recording an out. Jeurys Familia has been quite good this year but he blew his second of the year. Similarly, Brett Cecil couldn’t hold onto the lead in the same game, blowing his second save chance as well. Cecil, unlike Familia, has not been particularly great this year and also hasn’t been handed many save opportunities, even with Toronto’s recent winning ways. A.J. Ramos (9), Jason Grilli (17), Shawn Tolleson (9) and Luke Gregerson (16) all recorded saves. Kevin Siegrist received and nailed down his second save of the year as Trevor Rosnethal was unavailable due to “tightness”.

• For the second game in a row Kevin Siegrist received a save opportunity and for the second game in a row he recorded a save. The tightness in Rosenthal was “a little sore after Saturday” but a DL trip is not likely at the moment for Rosenthal. We will take Matheny’s word and Rosenthal is said to be progressing but any injury to a pitcher is worthy of concern and I would pick up Siegrist in even shallow leagues. At worst you waste a roster spot vulturing for a save, but if Rosenthal’s arm doesn’t improve you could be picking up a high quality closer.

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Bullpen Report: June 9, 2015

Sorry for the delay on this folks, but here’s a recap from last night…

• In case you felt that the Cubs bullpen situation wasn’t confusing enough, the Cubs decided to bring Rafael Soriano into the mix. We are less interested in the contract particulars here at the Bullpen Report and instead are curious how he will play out in Chicago’s pen. Soriano has yet to pitch this season so he will start off in the minors but speculation is he could be in Chicago around July 1st.  Rafael Soriano wasn’t particularly thrilling last year for Nationals, which helps explain why he wasn’t picked up this offseason but a 3.19/3.08/3.92 ERA/FIP/xFIP pitching line last year is useful. It’s also similar to what Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop have done this year. When Soriano is ready the Cubs are looking at three similarly talented right-handed relievers with Jason Motte lingering as well. However, it should be noted that Soriano seemed to break down towards the end of last year. Whether that’s a sign of what to expect from Soriano moving forward or whether the time off should help him, we will have to wait and see to find out.

I’m inclined to think that while Soriano is toiling in the minors, one of Rondon, Strop or Motte will grab a hold on the ninth inning but maybe this is setting up to be a real committee.

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Bullpen Report: June 8, 2015

Before we talk tonight’s news and notes, please check our updated consensus rankings for Relief Pitchers.

• I’m upgrading the Cubs situation to Def Con 3, also known as red, as Joe Maddon says he is not locked on one closer for the ninth. We might be entering semi-official committee status in Chicago. Hector Rondon will still be a major fixture in the back of the bullpen, he did pitch the eighth inning last night, but it doesn’t look as though he will consistently see the ninth as he had previously. Pedro Strop will also see save situations, and should be picked up in all leagues. Jason Motte is also an intriguing option for those in need of saves but I would expect Strop or Rondon to be called on next. Strop and Rondon have been similarly effective out of the bullpen this year, with Strop exhibiting more swing and miss stuff (17.4% SwStr%!) than Rondon, even though it’s Rondon who actually throws harder. Consider this situation fluid, but whoever can record a few clean innings in the upcoming games could end up providing save totals for your fantasy team.

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Bullpen Report: June 2, 2015

• Steve Cishek has been demoted to the minors to work on his mechanics. Specifically, he’ll be moving to Double-A Jacksonville where the Marlins are “hoping pitching coordinator Charlie Corbell (Cishek’s minor-league pitching coach) can help him find his groove.” The Marlins are trying to get Cishek back on track but considering the way A.J. Ramos is pitching, I wouldn’t bet on Cishek returning to the ninth inning quite yet. Ramos allowed three base runners in today’s outing but struck out two en route to a scoreless inning for his fifth save of the year.
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