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Well then. Thanks to concerns over tenderness near his throwing elbow, Chris Sale will move to the bullpen and assume the Chicago White Sox's closer role. Hector Santiago gets the boot, and Matt Thornton and Addison Reed need to take a step back in the closure line.
Sale is widely owned, but he warrants an immediate pickup if he's somehow still available. Still, you have to wonder how bringing him back to a high-effort role, even with its lower in-game workload, will affect him.
The White Sox could change this arrangement later in the year, but they might wait until the late stages to do so in order to preserve his arm. Since Sale did the gig for a bit last season, he'll probably stave off Thornton, Reed and Santiago for as long as Chicago wants to keep him in the role.
Maybe one of the also-rans will get a save opp over the weekend, but this is still a crippling move for their values. If a future change is made and Sale moves back to starting, Chicago probably wouldn't go back to Santiago. He's essentially at the back of the line, which makes him a safe drop in mixed formats, unless you want to wait out the weekend in the event he gets a shot. Thanks to their excellent peripherals, Thornton and Reed are still worth clinging to if deep leaguers are desperate.
Meanwhile, Dylan Axelrod, who'll take Sale's place in the rotation, is an AL-only grab that will have fleeting deep mixed utility, most likely based on matchups.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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