This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
At this stage of the season, the saves category is often a primary target for adding points and moving up in the standings. Last week we checked in on the unsettled bullpens in the National League; now it's the American League's turn. Having passed the non-waiver trade deadline, some closers have moved on to contending teams – often having been relegated to a set-up role – while their former teams scramble to find the guy who can adequately protect a lead in the ninth inning. Some role changes could be fairly obvious, but more often, there are several arms with some chance of claiming the job.
Bullpen inconsistency is becoming the norm.
Perhaps the most alarming part of this series is that I had no trouble selecting 10 teams to highlight – five in the NL and now five in the AL – and I could have included more teams with at least some doubts remaining. That's one-third of the major league teams, maybe more, where a new source of saves could surface any given day. Now, let's take a look at some closer assignments in the AL and see where they may be headed:
Here are some AL closer scenarios to monitor closely:
- Chicago White Sox – Will the last man in the bullpen please finish the game? That would again seem to be the scenario on the South Side of Chicago. Until a month ago, Joakim Soria was doing an adequate job, but he was traded to Milwaukee