There have been a few updates since our last Bullpen Report so as a wise man once said, “Aw, here it goes!”
• Neil Ramirez had been terrific as a setup option for the Cubs (0.96 ERA, 33 Ks in 28 IP) but he was sent down to AAA Iowa over the weekend. The move was clearly not performance related, and it’s unlikely that Ramirez is being stretched into a starter in the minors. Ramirez hasn’t shown any obvious signs of injury (although his velos have been up and down) and the Cubs would like to keep it that way, with Ramirez simply getting some rest. With Ramirez out of the fold temporarily, expect Pedro Strop to be the primary setup man behind Hector Rondon which played out tonight with Strop getting the last two outs of the eighth and Rondon finishing the game for his 13th save of the year.
• Koji Uehara‘s name was initially thrown in some trade rumors along with some of the other pieces the Red Sox could unload as he will be a free agent next year. However, the ace reliever “will be staying put” in Boston. Although he’s not under contract next year, it’s clear the Red Sox will give him the qualifying offer and if he were to accept, the Red Sox would have one of the league’s best relievers for another year at $15 million. That’s no chump change but the Red Sox will look to reload next year and that price for one year of Uehara is totally fine by them.
• The Rockies are unlikely to trade Troy Tulowitzki but are open to trading their bullpen, according to Jayson Stark’s latest rumblings. This news comes as no surprise except for the part about LaTroy Hawkins – “the Rockies are only really listening on their bullpen arms […] and possibly LaTroy Hawkins, but only if they’re overwhelmed.” I’m not entirely sure why a rebuilding team would have to be “overwhelmed” to trade their 41 year old closer, but it’s likely that kind of uneven thinking as to why the Rockies are in their current situation. If Hawkins is moved, he likely wouldn’t replace the incumbent closer on a contender, so his value would certainly evaporate, but luckily for Hawkins owners it might not be a likely outcome.
• Although he was the hard-luck loser, one has to tip their cap to Jason Lane‘s performance today after throwing six innings of one-run ball. Lane is unlikely to be fantasy relevant but it’s a story that’s impossible not to root for. However, the Padres already traded ?Huston Street and with Joaquin Benoit and others in trade rumors as well, who knows, maybe Lane could even sniff a save before the year is over.
• Quick Hits: Craig Kimbrel pulled a Kimbrel, striking out the side for his 32nd save of the year. Joe Maddon might let some other guys handle the ninth inning occasionally but at this point it’s (mostly) in Jake McGee‘s hands, and he continued his dominance tonight, striking out two in a perfect inning for his 12th save of the season. Rafael Soriano blew his fourth save of the year and is now 25/29 on save opportunities this year. His ERA (1.74) and experience have him entrenched in the job, even if he’s only the third or fourth best reliever on the squad.
[Green light, yellow light, red light: the colors represent the volatility of the bullpen order.]
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