A few previously assumed closers appear to be losing grips on their jobs, opening the door for potential options on the waiver wire. Here are some of the relievers I would look to add and stream for the upcoming week, and potentially longer.
Cesar Valdez looks like he’s lost what was a strong grip on the Orioles’ closer job. Between his run of unsuccessful outings, being used in the seventh inning of a loss on Thursday and Brandon Hyde’s recent comments on the closing situation, the door is open for other options. Paul Fry is the top candidate to pick up saves in the short term. While Hunter Harvey was the assumed closer before his injury and Tanner Scott’s 100 MPH fastball looked like a potential closer himself, Paul Fry has emerged as the Orioles’ most reliable bullpen arm. Despite modest velocity from the left side, Fry has a 2.50 ERA and 2.25 xFIP to this point in the season. His 55.9% ground ball rate combined with his 36% strikeout rate is a formula for success, and Hyde’s comments show his confidence in Fry getting the job done. The Orioles aren’t going to be giving their relievers very many save opportunities, but if you’re in need of saves speculation from a pitcher with good skills, Fry should be a priority add.
The Reds’ closer situation became murky after Amir Garrett’s struggles seemingly eliminated him from the role. The Reds’ struggles as a team made finding out who David Bell planned on going to in save situations all the more difficult, but the answer may have been revealed this week. Sims picked up his second and third saves of the season on Tuesday and Thursday, the first time a Reds’ reliever picked up consecutive saves in the month of May. In the Tuesday save, Garrett started the inning but gave up another home run to a right-handed batter, necessitating Sims' appearance. Between Tejay Antone’s role as a multi-inning reliever and Garrett’s general lack of effectiveness, Sims has a path to being the Reds’ primary saves source.
Tepera won’t be in line for many saves while Craig Kimbrel is on the Cubs and effective, but his current performance makes him useful even without saves. He’s allowed one baserunner in his past eight appearances. Tepera also came in for a four-out save on Thursday with Craig Kimbrel unavailable. Given his role as Kimbrel’s backup and his own effectiveness, he should be added wherever holds are valued or if you need a ratio stabilizer.
Joakim Soria pitched the top of the ninth inning in a tie game for the Diamondbacks on Thursday, traditionally how a closer is used. Stefan Crichton was used in the 10th inning and would end up taking the loss. Soria could be creeping closer to claiming Arizona’s closer role after stringing together six consecutive scoreless appearances.
The Mariners have turned to Rafael Montero and Keynan Middleton for saves during Kendall Graveman’s absence. Either makes sense as a short-term saves option, although Graveman could return soon.
Chad Green converted the save on Thursday with Aroldis Chapman unavailable due to illness. There’s no indication this is a long-term absence.
Bryan Abreu converted the save on Wednesday while Ryan Pressly was unavailable with neck stiffness. Like Chapman, there’s no indication this a long-term problem.
Kyle Zimmer picked up a two-out save on Tuesday. Even with Staumont rested, Zimmer was Mike Matheny’s choice to finish off the game. This is likely Matheny preferring a specific matchup. Staumont should be the favorite for the Royals’ next save.
Jake McGee and Emmanuel Clase have each pitched in setup roles this past week behind Tyler Rogers and James Karinchak respectively. Both should be held for the time being.
Carlos Estevez converted a save on Monday and might be in line for future ninth-inning work.
New Rays reliever J.P. Feyereisen has worked two save opportunities since his arrival last weekend, converting the first and blowing the second. With Diego Castillo healthy, Feyereisen is more likely to be part of a committee role than claiming a role as the primary closer.