Apologies for interrupting your Ryan Braun coverage but here is tonight’s Bullpen Report.
• In the midst of one of the worst outings of the season, Jason Grilli had to exit tonight’s game with his pitching arm in pain. Grilli certainly looked uncomfortable and left the game without even throwing a warm up/test pitch. We don’t know of any specifics as to the severity of the injury at the moment, but for the sake of all Pirates fans and Grilli owners, let’s hope it’s nothing major. Fellow all-star Mark Melancon should fill in if Grilli were to miss time. With a 0.97/1.75/2.20 ERA/FIP/xFIP line, Melancon should make for a solid option and should be picked up immediately in most, if not all, leagues.
• I keep waiting for Brad Ziegler to either be replaced at closer by someone on his team or for the Diamondbacks to bring in a reliever from outside the organization. Neither has happened of course and as Colin mentioned last night, Ziegler remains the closer in Arizona, at least until further notice. J.J. Putz, Heath Bell and David Hernandez all come with a better pedigree but all have been nothing more than replacement level all year, which has allowed Ziegler to be owner of the ninth inning of late. I agree with Colin that David Hernandez could be in line for a sneaky second half bounce back, but the more Ziegler closes the more his grip tightens. With that said, the D-Backs are still threats to be looking for relief help and any rumors will be mentioned in these pages, but until then, it’s Ziegler.
• Kevin Gregg‘s smoke and mirrors approach was quite effective earlier this year but in his last 11 innings pitched Gregg has allowed nine earned runs and a 10:7 K:BB ratio. As far as closer’s go, Gregg ranks towards the bottom and is also on the trading block to boot. Gregg’s trade value has surely gone down with his performance the last few weeks, and while a team may look his way for some bullpen depth, the chances of Gregg seeing important innings outside of Chicago seem pretty slim at the moment. If/when Gregg is moved, Pedro Strop could find himself in the closer’s seat. Dale Sveum had previously hinted that Blake Parker would be a replacement, but he’s now leaning towards Strop. In addition to talking about his pitches, Sveum said “he has a good time on the mound. He’s not scared of anything. Those are the kind of guys you want out there.” The Cubs’ second half closer, especially one with control issues like
Marmol Strop, isn’t the most exciting saves option but if you need saves and find Pedro Strop on the wire, he’s worth a speculative add.
• Bobby Parnell blew his fourth save of the year tonight against the Braves. Parnell hasn’t received quite as many save opportunities as some other closers but he’s a successful 18/22 with a 2.40 ERA and solid peripherals to back it up. If the Mets put Parnell on the block, he would be one of the top closer/reliever options available to other teams at the deadline, but the Mets have insisted that they want to hold onto Parnell. We can argue the merits of a team holding onto a reliever in the Mets situation but I’d expect him to remain in Queens all year and a solid option for fantasy owners.
• Quick hits: Joe Nathan notched his 31st save this season and the 329th of his career. Jason Heyward helped Craig Kimbrel get his 29th of the year with a diving catch in the ninth. Huston Street converted his 17th save, likely increasing his stock price on the trade market.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]