Here are some very preliminary 2014 reliever rankings for your perusal. Try not to take the lists all too seriously; I haven't actually done projections for any of these players and many, many changes will be in store for the first official rankings in January.
These aren't true keeper rankings, since only the 2014 season is being taken into consideration here. But if you're looking to make trades in keeper leagues in the coming weeks, I hope this piece will help you along.
2014 Relief pitcher Rankings
- This rates as the toughest list of the bunch right now. There are a whole bunch of 2014 closing situations up in the air right now.
Let's just run down the whole list:
Blue Jays: Janssen's $4 million option should be exercised, but Santos and Delabar could push him anyway, perhaps turning him into trade bait.
Orioles: Johnson probably keeps his job.
Rays: Rodney is a FA, and Rays probably won't re-sign him. McGee has closer stuff and could inherit the job.
Red Sox: Uehara and Hanrahan are FAs. Bailey figures to be non-tendered because of his shoulder. That leaves Tazawa as the top in-house option. Most likely, they'll go the free agent or trade route. Even if Uehara is re-signed, it'd probably be as a setup man.
Yankees: The day they've dreaded has finally come. I think they'll keep Robertson in the 8th inning and go get someone to pitch the ninth. Nathan might be ideal.
Indians: Good chance Perez gets traded this winter, leaving Allen, Pestano and a cheap free agent to potentially battle it out. I like Allen.
Royals: Holland's job going forward. The Royals could trade Crow, Herrera or Hochevar to a team looking for help.
Tigers: Benoit is a FA. If Rondon steps up in the second half, he could be handed job this winter. Otherwise, they'll go get someone.
Twins: It'll be Perkins, unless he's traded. If that happens, I expect it will be a mess. Burton would be short-term favorite for saves, but he's not throwing as well as he did last year.
White Sox: Reed
Angels: Frieri is starting to look like a good 2014 bet if he doesn't fall off. Madson shouldn't be back.
Athletics: Balfour shaping up as one of the top FA closers available, which could mean he's a goner. Cook would be the favorite for saves over Doolittle if no replacement is brought in.
Astros: If they don't trade him first, the Astros can bring back Veras for $3.25 million next year. I don't think Cisnero would be a very good choice as a replacement. Ideally, they'll acquire a couple of relievers with upside this winter.
Mariners: Wilhelmsen is under control for four more years, but he might not be Seattle's most reliable reliever any longer. Pryor, Carter Capps and Medina could emerge as candidates to take over.
Rangers: They'll want to bring Nathan back by exercising his $9 million option, but Nathan can void it and become a free agent. They'd still have Soria, Scheppers, Felix and Alexi Ogando as possible closing options, depending on how they want to handle it.
Marlins: They keep sending signals that they want to keep Cishek, but the right offer would change their minds. Ramos is the biggest threat to overtake Cishek.
Mets: Parnell has solidified his status with 18 saves in 21 attempts this year. The Mets will be on the lookout for setup guys.
Nationals: Soriano. The Nationals might make Storen trade bait, but his stock has taken a big hit.
Phillies: For better or worse, they'll probably hold on to Papelbon.
Brewers: K-Rod is a FA, and Axford is likely to be non-tendered. The Brewers will keep Henderson, but he's more likely to find himself back in a setup role.
Cardinals: Mujica is a FA, Motte should be on the way back from Tommy John and Rosenthal is one of baseball's most promising relievers going forward. And I haven't even mentioned Siegrist and Carlos Martinez yet.
Cubs: Gregg is a FA. He might be traded anyway. I like Strop as a replacement, but he's far from a sure thing. The Cubs could get Kyuji Fujikawa back from Tommy John in May or June.
Pirates: Grilli will be back, with Melancon likely continuing to set him up.
Reds: If Chapman was going to be moved to the rotation, it would have happened this year.
Diamondbacks: The Diamondbacks will be spending about $20 million on Putz, Bell, Ziegler and Hernandez next year, making an upgrade unlikely. It'll probably be Putz's job, if he's healthy.
Dodgers: Jansen is the man, unless the Dodgers have so much money burning a hole in their pocket that they can't resist the temptation to sign another closer.
Giants: Romo shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Padres: The Padres might try to dump Street's contract, which will pay him $7 million next year. They'd still have Gregerson, Dale Thayer and Boxberger in reserve. Burch Smith might also be intriguing, though he's still an SP at the moment.
Rockies: There's a mutual $4.25 million option on Betancourt's contract. The Rockies might go to Brothers even if they do bring Betancourt back.
- Besides all of the FAs already mentioned, there's Wilson and Juan Carlos Oviedo (the former Leo Nunez) on the way back from Tommy John. Carlos Marmol, David Aardsma and Joba Chamberlain will be out there. League and Jonathan Broxton should come very cheap in trade if any teams want to take the chance. Brett Myers could go back to pitching out of the pen. Some team could trade for Wade Davis and turn him back into a reliever.
|4||Addison Reed||White Sox||10||11|
|38||Steve Delabar||Blue Jays||96||NR|
|55||Drew Smyly||Tigers||151 SP||45|
|56||Junichi Tazawa||Red Sox||54||54|
|58||Sergio Santos||Blue Jays||38||NR|
|62||Andrew Bailey||Red Sox||63||26|