Always Be Closing: A Look to 2010
So, after the jump, we've done so. If there is someone (like the gentleman pictured here) who doesn't need an introduction due to already definitely being his team's 2010 closer, we'll simply list his name. If an explanation is needed, for teams with undecided roles, we'll give one.
A's - Looks like it's going to be Andrew Bailey with Joey Devine and Brad Ziegler setting up.
Angels - Brian Fuentes will have the first crack at the job, but Kevin Jepsen and possibly even Jose Arredondo would be next in line should Fuentes fail to regain the confidence of management.
Astros - Both Jose Valverde and LaTroy Hawkins are free agents. They could sign someone from outside the organization to close -- but he'd have to be a cheap signing like Chad Cordero, Jason Isringhausen or Joe Beimel -- or use someone from within like Wesley Wright or Felipe Paulino.
Blue Jays - It's a coin toss between Scott Downs and Jason Frasor, assuming they don't go outside the organization. We're betting Downs takes it.
Braves - Do they re-up with Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez? If not, they'll be looking for someone new. If they have to promote from within, what about Kris Medlen? He's worked in relief 22 times since the All-Star break, striking out 34 and walking just 9 with a 3.41 ERA. Will they shed enough payroll to make a run at J.J. Putz? This is a tough one to predict.
Brewers - Trevor Hoffman is a free agent, but we think he comes back for one more year.
Cardinals - Ryan Franklin
Cubs - Carlos Marmol
Diamondbacks - They'll likely try to trade Chad Qualls, who has just one year left on his contract. If they aren't successful in moving him, he'll enter the season with the job. During the season, it's still possible they move him before the trade deadline. Behind him, the options are most likely Juan Gutierrez and Clay Zavada.
Dodgers - Jonathan Broxton
Giants - Brian Wilson
Indians - Kerry Wood's going to enter the season as the closer, but he'll be in the last year of his contract and if he continues to struggle, they have the option of going to Chris Perez.
Mariners - David Aardsma should retain the job he's done well to keep.
Marlins - Leo Nunez has been decent-to-good as a closer, after taking over for Matt Lindstrom. They'll likely battle it out in Spring Training for the 2010 gig. Many like Lindstrom to win it back, but I'll put my money on Nunez.
Mets - Francisco Rodriguez
Nationals - Mike MacDougal will be the Opening Day closer, but keep an eye on youngster Drew Storen. Storen closed for Stanford before being selected 10th overall in the draft this past June. Afterward, in pro ball, Storen made three different stops -- finishing in Double A. He racked up a total ERA of 1.95 and a ridiculous 49:8 K:BB ratio in 37 innings -- which helped to make his 0.78 WHIP. He only allowed two home runs, too.
Orioles - Jim Johnson has done well in the job, so there's no reason to think he'd be removed -- even with the presence of Chris Ray.
Padres - Heath Bell
Phillies - He's been a disaster this year, but the guess is they go back to Brad Lidge.
Pirates - I think they'll stick with Matt Capps, but it's always possible they sign someone cheap or trade him.
Rangers - Frank Francisco
Rays - I'm a big fan of J.P. Howell's stuff, and I think the Rays finally give him the job.
Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon
Reds - Francisco Cordero
Rockies - Franklin Morales was brilliant in the absence of Huston Street. The job will remain Street's, however, unless the Rockies trade him. It's possible they do decide to move him, after having seen Morales' performance.
Royals - Joakim Soria
Tigers - Fernando Rodney is a free agent. If the Tigers don't take the route of signing someone from the outside, it's a good bet they promote Ryan Perry -- not Joel Zumaya -- to the closer job.
Twins - Joe Nathan
White Sox - Bobby Jenks
Yankees - Mariano Rivera
Free agents who could close: Putz, Valverde, Soriano, Gonzalez, Chad Cordero, Isringhausen, Beimel, Hawkins, Brandon Lyon, Guillermo Mota, Takashi Saito, David Weathers, Octavio Dotel, Bob Howry, Billy Wagner, Kevin Gregg
Possible trade candidates who could close: Street, Qualls, Ray, Lidge, Capps, Dan Wheeler