One of the most common names popping up in the MLB trade deadline rumor mill is that of Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias. As the closer for a poor team, he is not getting too many save opportunities (19 through July 4; has converted 16).
But he is pitching well when he gets the chance. In 35 appearances (37 2/3 innings), he has accumulated an ERA of 2.63, struck out 42, and has a WHIP of 1.04.
That is the kind of pitching many teams would like to get from their closer— unless they have someone better. Of the three teams (Washington, Houston, and Boston) tied to him most often in the rumor mill, two of them (Washington and Boston) definitely have someone as good or better.
While Ken Giles isn’t having a great season this year, a case could be made that the Astros don’t necessarily need him. But all three teams are said to have interest in him, so who needs him more?
Boston has one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel (2.02 ERA, 26 saves in 28 opportunities, .90 WHIP). Their bullpen has the fifth-lowest ERA in baseball (3.15) through 88 games and is holding opposing hitters to a .222 batting average.
Sean Doolittle has done an incredible job for the Nationals this season. He has 21 saves in 22 opportunities, an ERA of 1.53, .51 WHIP, and an excellent K/9 rate (11.72). The bullpen has an ERA of 3.77 through 85 games and is holding opposing batters to a .228 batting average.
Ken Giles is not having a great season for the Astros, but he isn’t having a bad season either. He hasn’t blown a save in 12 opportunities, but his ERA is a little on the high side (3.94).
However, Houston’s bullpen has the lowest ERA in baseball (2.54; 88 games played). They are one of three pens not to give up 100 runs yet (69). Opposing batters are only hitting .213 against them (second in the league).
Of the three, Boston has the fewest blown saves (7) followed by Washington (8) and then Houston (10). But it is worth noting that Houston ranks 20th in the league in blown saves. Of course, they’d like the number to be lower- but it isn’t bad.
Who needs Rasiel Iglesias more? Boston and Washington could use him in a setup role, but as a closer, the answer must be Houston. But Houston has said that they do not intend to trade for anyone unless it’s a clear upgrade.
With how each team’s bullpen is playing, none of them really ‘need’ to trade for him. Could they use him? Sure. But do they need him? Not at all.