With the season growing eerily closer, I sit back today and examine the closer situations for some teams that aren’t as cut and dry as others. Some of these teams have a great situation if one guy can take the reigns and run with, the others, well, as the Fresh Prince said, “that’s not that simple.” So have a gander, minus the goose, at the closer situations that you will want to monitor for your upcoming drafts and who to be proactively drafting just in case.
Dodgers – Brandon League allegedly has the job out the gate, but the Tin-Man, Kenley Jansen, has the potential to be a fantasy asset as long as his health stands pat. League is going to be drafted mid table amongst the closers, which to me is way too high. He pitched fantastic down the stretch and the thrill of pitching for a better team may have done the trick. He still is flawed, as he still walks a good deal of guys. As for Jansen, he is a K/9 machine, and should be rostered in all leagues. So it’s going to be League to start the season but with a limited leash, so be that guy who steals the handcuff in Jansen really late.
Tigers – The chain- smoker no longer has “Papa Grande” to go to in the ninth. He instead turns his attention possibly to Bruce Rondon, a hard-throwing youngster that lit up the minors last year with his 100 MPH fastball. That is where the only problem lies, Rondon has only one pitch, making him a one trick pony. I have a gut feeling that Leyland is going to get to Spring Training and want a veteran with some experience in the spot. This could be an in-house option Phil Coke, post season ball kisser Al “New Mexico” or a FA off the street like a K-Rod. In drafts Rondon will be had later in drafts, for deeper leagues I have seen Coke being taken as the handcuff.
Cubs – While it’s not really a situation yet, it is going to be. Carlos Marmol on paper looks great, he looks like a caricature you pay for while waiting in line at the Louvre. He is a bad start away from being ditched as the closer and stepping in would be Kyuji Fujikawa. I am naming him “Super Fudge”, because every reliever deserves a great Judy Blume reference. Fudge compiled over 200 saves in the last 6 years in Japan, so the skill set is there, just the transition is in his way.
Astros – It’s going to be feast or famine in Houston. I foresee a lot of skinny people taking the Dick Gregory approach to save situations in Houston. The team has an over/under win total for the year according to Vinnie at my local grocer of 52 wins. Yikes indeed. I’d rather invest in arugula at his store than bank on saves for the Lastro’s. Like any janitorial job, veteran preference is going to be what happens. Jose Veras is the shiniest star in an otherwise blacked out situation. Best advice I can give you as a friend, and yes I consider strangers friends, Avoid Avoid Avoid.
Mets – Frank to the second is the incumbent, but while he tends to his bone spur, Parnell will hold down the closer job. I just don’t see Francisco being there the whole season when he gets healthy or on a regular basis for the New York Madoffs. They have shored up their bullpen with quality pen guys, all of which have previous closing experience. I like Lyon to also slip in there and steal people’s babies, I mean saves. Sorry was watching Out of Africa.