Usually I wait until the 1st of every month to go over who’s closing where and who’s backing them up. You know, the Donkey-Corn/Brain Freeze/$12 Salad post. See, you are familiar with my work. Great, I love how you do whatever you do too. Being in the heart of fantasy baseball draft season, my diploma from The College of Fantasy Baseball at Charleston says I must do some early closer updates for 2009 fantasy baseball. I’m not going to mention guys who are completely safe as of right now. One generalization before I get to these closer schmohawks. You want anyone getting saves. Yes, you do. Trust me. You may think Lindstrom will return in 2 weeks and be fine getting 25 saves this year. You may be right. But if Leo Nunez starts the season as the closer, there’s just as good a chance that he keeps the job all year. Last year, you swore Chad Cordero would get the job back from Rauch and there was no reason to grab Big Jon. You swore Huston Street would take back the job from Ziegler. You also missed out on good closers. Anyway, here’s some closers to watch for 2009 fantasy baseball:
Matt Lindstrom – Strained rotator cuff. I would still put him on my bench because he could bounce right back. Or not…
Leo Nunez – Could easily end up with 35 saves or 5. There’s the fun!
Trevor Hoffman – The Hoff did a slo-mo jog to the trainer’s room where he was diagnosed with a strained right oblique. I think an oblique is the thing the monkeys are worshipping in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Not sure. Hoffman’s old and this could be a recurring issue. I think he’ll be fine for the season, but if you want to plan accordingly…
Carlos Villanueva – Could be the replacement, but he has no closer experience. He only has really-horrible-so-far-in-spring-training experience. He may have the job of mop-up man if he can’t get his spring training act together. Which leaves…
Todd Coffey – T.C. Odd Offey might be the guy right now for Holds and Vulture Saves.
Carlos Marmol – Since back in November I’ve been saying Piniella will go with the crappy, experienced closer over the lights out MR. I still think Marmol is draftable in every league. Like after 10PM at Casa de Grey, Marmol is lights out.
Kevin Gregg – Funny thing happened on the way to being a junky middle reliever, homeboy looks like he could be a junky closer. The catch, Gregg is only good if he’s getting saves. So who do you draft? Both, if they’re at the right spot. When Gregg has 15 saves in May and you trade him for Ryan Zimmerman, you’ll be happy you drafted him.
Huston Street – See Manny Corpas.
Manny Corpas – See Huston Street. Now you’re trapped in an infinity circle of Street and Corpas! At the end of the season, I think Corpas has more saves than Street, that doesn’t mean Corpas gets a single one in April.
Joey Devine – Came into this looooooong spring training with the job wrapped around his finger. Probably leaving spring training as the setup man. He’s better suited for the closer role and could slide into closing games by April 15th. He’s also injury-prone and might not grab the job from…
Brad Ziegler – Should start the season as the A’s closer and could keep the job all year. Stranger things have happened.
George Sherrill – He’s the closer until he’s not. Probably sometime in May he cedes to…
Chris Ray – Hey, everyone from the Sherrill ellipsis, good to see you!
Brandon Lyon – Has the job. No need to back him up. Yet.
Troy Percival – Same deal as Brandon Lyon. He’s listed here because that could change if a gust of wind catches his knee the wrong way.
Mark Lowe – The Mariners Moose – Chad Cordero – Miguel Batista – Tyler Walker – David Aardsma – The Mariners Moose moved up the depth chart for this closing job. Cordero will be closing by late-May and collect 20 saves; stash him on your bench. Grab Lowe for the ten saves he could provide.
Ryan Franklin – 75% chance he gets the job. Before you explode in the comments, I agree, Franklin’s not better than Perez or Motte. You tell that to LaRussa. Sometimes experience beats out skill set.
Jason Motte – Has an outside shot at the Cards job. Don’t sleep on Motte! Unless, of course, you’re drowsy and he gives you a knee to rest on.