Friday, March 26, 2010

Closers -- Battles and value

If your draft is done, or if you are looking to pick up some later round closers, there are definitely still plenty of saves out there. The nice thing about getting Saves is that you don’t always have to have the big names on the top teams. You can get almost as good of numbers if you wait patiently and get some lesser known closers:

Minnesota: With Joe Nathan out for the year, the closers job is up for grabs. Don’t count the Twins out from making a deal for a closer (Heath Bell’s name has been thrown out there), but right now, it’s between John Rauch, who has some experience closing, and Matt Guerrier, Nathan’s set up man. Though they might both see some save opportunities, it’s likely Rauch will be the guy.

Toronto: This one is totally up in the air. Toronto brought in Kevin Gregg in the offseason, but his 5.40 spring ERA is not helping. Scott Downs just gave up his first runs of spring the other night, but the fact that he’s one of the few lefty’s in the pen means he might be used more as situational relief. That leaves Jason Frasor who started off horrendous, but has shown improvement, and looks to be the favorite right now. I’d wait-and-see on this one… no matter who they name the closer, it’s probably going to be up for grabs well into April.

Houston: Brandon Lyon was slated to be the closer in the offseason, but since he is just returning from a shoulder injury now, it looks like Matt Lindstrom will get the nod to start the season. Lindstrom struggled some last year, so this could be a battle all year long to see who gets the ball in the 9th inning.

Cleveland: Kerry Wood will start the season on the DL (Shocker!) so Chris Perez will start the season as the closer. Perez throws hard but might not be ready to close games just yet. Last season he had 5 save chances and blew 3 of them and finished the season with a 4.32 era. He does have strikeout stuff, but we’ll see if he’s got the closer mentality.

Here’s a quick list of other closers you can get late that have little-to-no competition for the closer duties: Octavio Dotel (Pittsburg), Matt Capps (Washington), Mike Gonzalez (Baltimore), Leo Nunez (Florida).

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