Friday, February 11, 2011

Early Closer Report

Here is my take on the current state of closers. I will list Division-Team-Closer-competition, if any. This list will be dynamic throughout the season with updates when changes are necessary.
Yankees - Mariano Rivera  - No competition.
 Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon - No early competition.
 Rays – With the new contract signed by Kyle Farnsworth   that includes "finished games" incentives, I have to put him as the early front runner.
 Orioles - Koji Uehara & Kevin Gregg will battle for the closer spot. I’m now leaning towards Gregg.
 Blue Jays - Octavio Dotel with Jason Frasor and now Frank Francisco in the mix as the front runner. I see the Blue Jays GM Anthopoulos yielding a new strategy this year. He will give numerous RP closing chances to artificially inflate their number thus making them type A free agents come next year. Then when they are are no resigned and go elsewhere the Blue Jays get compensated with two draft picks. This is a bold and risky maneuver but could yield numerous draft picks for Toronto and lead the closer to position to get a makeover league wide. Lets see how it plays out.
 White Sox - Matt Thornton, but with Ozzie at the helm it could be anyone at anytime.
 Indians - Chris Perez - No competition.
 Royals - Joakim Soria  – No competition.
 Twins - Joe Nathan if “completely” healthy, Matt Capps if not. Nathan will likely begin the season in a set-up role to Matt Capps, but could take back the closer role later in the summer. This week Nathan made remarks about how good a closer Capps has been which leads me to believe Capps will start the season as the closer.
 Tigers - José Valverde – No competition.
 Angels - Fernando Rodney  with Scott Downs  lurking.
 A’s - Andrew Bailey – No competition.
 Mariners - David Aardsma is expected to return to the Seattle bullpen in the second week of April. You should hand-cuff him to Brandon League to start the season. New to the mix is former Orioles closer Chris Ray Rangers - Neftali Feliz - forget the rumors he moves to the starting rotation. Until I hear this coming the boss, Nolan Ryan, it means nothing. Remember they just sent Francisco to the great white North.
 Nationals - Drew Storen : it’s the 23 year olds job to lose. Next in order: Sean Burnett Tyler Clippard  and Todd Coffey.
 Phillies - Brad Lidge – No completion.
 Mets - Francisco Rodríguez – No completion.
 Marlins - Leo Nunez lost it to Clay Hensley late last year; both will compete for it this year.
 Braves – Open for any of these three to win. Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters , George Sherrill. New Braves Manager Gonzales likes the versatility of having both a righty and lefty closer. Look for this to be a two man platoon going forward.
Cubs - Carlos Marmol – No competition.
Reds - Francisco Cordero  - No competition. Caught some flack over not giving Chapman any chance to win the position. The reason being is…he has no chance.
Brewers - John Axford – No competition.
Astros - Brandon Lyon – No competition.
Pirates - Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek  coin flip thus far.
Cardinals - Ryan Franklin – No competition.
D’Backs - J.J. Putz – No competition.
Giants - Brian Wilson - No competition but back on Twitter, you need to look at this nuts tweets.
Padres - Heath Bell – No competition.
Rockies - Huston Street  - No competition.

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