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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.

Chris Perez – It really seems like Perez slept with LaRussa’s daughter or something.  In fairness, Perez is not exactly winning the hearts and minds of the Cards coaches.

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.

55 Responses

  1. Steve says:
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    Ah – so many relievers, so little room.
    If Perez doesn’t get the job, does he set up or head for the minors?

  2. Tony says:
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    I just dropped RASMUS this morning for LEO NUNEZ. Sore rotator cups don’t just go away in 7 days or do they?

    I hated dropping a guy named after my favorite cheese, but i have Kemp, holliday, markakis, n. cruz, choo, bruce, and so on and with 3 OF spots and 3 utl spots i think i have enough OF’ers already? I am starting to think I shoulda dropped Spillboroughs instead, the SB’s are something i need so i held on to him…. Rasmus will be on watch i guess, hell who knows if he even locks down a job and he’s got hammy issues right now…..

  3. Vince says:
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    I’ve just picked up Nunez from FA. Would you rather have him or Franklin?

  4. Tony says:
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    If Lindstrom is hurt hurt and isn’t good to go def’ly nunez, franklin is a coin flip with 3 other RP’s in st. louis… I hate closing by committee.

  5. Tony says:
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    Thoughts on Francouer and Jurjjens this year? Both seem to be doing well in spring.

  6. Pops says:
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    Ditto on Steve’s question. Perez is the first guy I pink slip if he’s demoted to Louisville, or wherever.

  7. Tom says:
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    If Wood gets injured or dead or something super-sad again this year, who will close in Cleveland? Does Reyes have any shot or is he staying in the rotation?

  8. Adam says:
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    Would you prefer Franklin to Pena, Wheeler, or Sherrill?

  9. Tony says:
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    @Tom: Cleveland will go with Jensen lewis, Masayashikubanashi, and maybe even Mujica? I doubt reyes gets a shot, he’ll probably be middle relief. As a tribe fan I’m just praying the investment in WOOD is solid and he stays healthy. Its all about health with wood.

    Anything is better than Joe Blows Borowski!!!

  10. cockyphoenix says:
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    Hmm… Ziegler or Gonzales… Any insight on the Atlanta situation?

    Speaking of insight into Atlanta: with Vázquez quite possibly being my ace on that one team if CHONE isn’t on powerful hallucinogens, I tried to figure out why he was so highly touted. Behold my postulations: In Defense of Javier.

    Javier Vázquez has had a steady FIP of around 3.9 for the past 4 years. He strikes out tons of batters and his control is above average. His FIP actually *fell* in 2008 to 3.81. Vázquez is a fastball/strikeout pitcher, and pitching in U.S. Cellular Field, where a 3-year average analysis showed home runs to be 30% more likely than average and runs in general to be 6% more plentiful, is like asking Achilles to pick up fired arrows in an archery range during business hours. See 2008 BABIP of .320.

    Now in Turner Field, where home runs are 7% less plentiful than average (29% less than at U.S. Cellular), and having joined the NL from the other side, he’s going to have to pick up a bat. That seems to be the only drawback so far. However, given his steady control and solid numbers, putting him in such an environment as Turner with acres of grass behind him may be just what el doctor pidió.

    I don’t expect Vázquez to dramatically change his pitching style, but the league switch coupled with the polarity shift in his home park should at least make him a monster at home. Another 1.14 WHIP is not out of the question (which he pulled of calling U.S. Cellular home in 2007), and with K’s like he offers and the Braves’ serviceable offense behind him, he might just be as big a sleeper as Cthulhu

  11. Anthony G says:
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    Appreciate the post Grey. I literally lost sleep over trevor hoffman’s replacement last night. What about Seth Mcclung?

  12. bpasinko says:
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    Have the Brewers had a different closer each of the last 10 years? It’s not exact but it more or less is:

    1999 Bob Wickman 37 saves
    2000 Wickman 16, Leskanic 12
    2001 Leskanic 17
    2002 Dejean 27
    2003 Kolb 21 Dejean 18
    2004 Kolb 39
    2005 Turnbow 39
    2006 Turnbow 24 (6.87 ERA)
    2007 Cordero 44
    2008 Torres 28, Gagne 10
    2009 Hoffman ?

    Brewers closers have one good year and then suck, or lose the job entirely. I think Hoffman breaks this trend. Except it’s not that he’s good 2 years in a row, it’s that hes not even good this year.

    Hoffman had a 3.99 FIP last year in Petco, and he only threw 45 innings. I think Hoffman does what Torres did last year, just without the lucky ~ 3.5ERA. I’d say 4.5 era 20-25 saves and a DL trip.

    Saves are saves and at the right price/round Id probably take Hoffman, but I really don’t like him this year. I’d rather wait and take Lindstrom or Corpas, they’ll end up with the same amount of saves, even if villanueva is actually the backup

  13. Christopher says:
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    @Tony: tony, left a post in another thread: I’m a Tribe fan, too; grew up in Canton. I love the Jake (won’t say the “P” word)!!
    I read yesterday where Kobyashi is struggling and Wedge has put him on notice; I agree that anyone, including Slider, was a better choice than Borowski!

  14. Christopher says:
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    Well, there goes my entire draft strategy with this headline:
    Astros Boone to have heart valve replaced.

    Grey, does open heart surgery knock Boone down a few places in your ranking??????

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Steve: Potentially the minors.

    @Tony: Makes sense.

    @Vince: Nunez, barely.

    @Tony: Check the:

    (http://razzball.com/2009-fantasy-baseball-rankings/) Jurrjens and Frenchy are in the top 60 starters and top 60 OFs respectively.

    @Tom: Reyes is in the rotation. It’ll be Betancourt or Perez or Jensen Lewis. Probably Lewis.

    @Adam: Sherrill, Franklin, Wheeler, Pena, in that order.

    @cockyphoenix: Gonzalez is the closer, unless he gets injured or becomes ineffective, but that’s true of everyone.

    Great comment on Javier Vazquez. This worried me on Vazquez:

    (http://razzball.com/20-risky-pitchers-for-2009/)

    But other than that, I do like him. But I find it kinda funny that he’s being predicted for the best stats of his career at 33. I think we have a pretty good handle on Vazquez at this point. 180-200 Ks and an ERA that isn’t completely in line with his other stats, say 3.85 to 4.10.

    @Anthony G: I’d put Riske and Julio above McClung. Probably will be Coffey though if there’s any problem going into the season, which there’s not supposed to be.

    @bpasinko: Interesting breakdown. I’m not sure I agree with waiting to take Lindstrom and Corpas instead, Hoffman will probably get 25 saves and be on the DL at some point.

    @Christopher: I hope his doctor isn’t a Red Sox fan.

  16. Just Another Steve says:
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    So we’re now considering Frank Frank of the Rangers to be on terra firma? Me likey!

  17. Tony says:
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    @Grey: what do you think about the rasmus drop for NUNEZ? too soon? Is rasmus even gonna be up outta spring ball?

  18. Tony says:
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    KSLG 1380 AM in St. Louis reports that with three weeks to go in spring training, Jason Motte, not Chris Perez, is the current leader in the race to close for the Cardinals. In the event Motte retains that status, Perez most likely will be sent to Triple-A Memphis, partly because the more experienced Josh Kinney would be kept around as a set-up man. At this point, treating Perez like the clear top guy in your closer ranks seems foolish, though all three relievers do warrant consideration as NL-only late rounders. Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals have multiple pitchers manning that role the entire year.

    straight from ESPN

  19. cubbies299 says:
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    Haha, the mariners moose. Classic. You’re so money and you don’t even know it, Grey. Thank god Franklin was already picked up and I don’t have to have another cocktease potential closer on my roster

  20. Juice says:
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    @Grey: Franklin, eh? 75%? As in 75% chance I use a waiver claim on him? Also Brian Giles and Cody Ross are on my waiver wire, do I want then in a H2H points league?

    Seacrest Out

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @cubbies299: Hehe, thanks.

    @Juice: Juice, these are tough decisions. Yeah, I guess as in that. Giles and Ross? Bleh. What, no Iwamura?

  22. Baron Von Vulturewins

    Baron Von Vulturewins says:
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    @cockyphoenix: I agree with you and Grey both. Your numbers are compelling, but 33 year old sleepers are rare birds. (Shut up, Cliff Lee!)

    Also: Peripheral-wielding experts have been touting breakout years for Javier since he was pitching for the now defunct (and defunky!) Expos. Yet, as Grey sagely notes, said breakout never quite materializes. I owned Javier for one season (’05) and he was damn frustrating: Pitcher of the Month-quality one month, consistently ass-smacked and hopeless the next.

    That dreadful experience, coupled with the Risky Pitchers Report, has dropped him off my target sheet for ’09. That said, I’ll be rooting for him, if only for your sake, cockyphoenix.*

    *Unless he’s on a near-rival’s team in my league, in which case I’ll Gillooly the bastard outside Turner Field with a retractable baton.

    @bpasinko: Nice analysis. I owned Dan “The Human Torch” in ’05 as well. That was a bad year all around.

    I think Hoffman gets a football field’s worth of rope, though, before they yank him from the role. I mean, he’s a former All-Star they signed for one year specifically as their closer! (Shut up, Eric Gagne!)

  23. Juice says:
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    @Grey: I’m going to hold on to Iwamura all season just so I can ask you after every post if “said player” should be dropped for Iwamura. Where an when did LaRussa endorse Franklin cousin?

  24. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Juice: LaRussa endorses experience every year, whether it makes sense or not, cuz.

  25. Tony says:
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    seems like alot of managers do that, in fantasy we’re all for the youth, in real life they’re all about the experience…

  26. Christopher says:
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    Looks like we’ll be forced to find a different source of walks and a horrendous ERA:

    Gorzelanny optioned to minors

    Once again, back to the draft drawing board…first Boone, now Gorzy…next thing you know, A-rod will be admitting PED use and having himself photographed kissing himself in a mirror…

  27. Tony says:
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    @Christopher: How can the pirates send Gorzo down? Is snell still up? I’d be embarrassed to get sent down on that team!

  28. Anthony G says:
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    I just traded Todd Helton for brad Ziegler. Not sure that Joey Devine is a lock for the job.

  29. Tony says:
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    @Anthony G: Helton imo is dispensable, worth the chance….

  30. Lone Star says:
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    “I think an oblique is the thing the monkeys are worshipping in 2001: A Space Odyssey.”

    Crap, I about spit Coke on my monitor.

  31. @Christopher: Man, I had Gorzo targeted for both my Fantasy Razzball team and as a flier in my NL-only….On the latter, the positive is that whomever is replacing him is likely Razztastic too….

  32. Adam says:
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    What, if anything, do you make of this?

    “The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that a National League scout thinks Red Sox closer Jonanthan Papelbon could be battling a shoulder problem. Papelbon only hit 91 mph in his outing Tuesday and gave up a homer to light-hitting OF Denard Span.”

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Adam: 1) I wouldn’t own Papelbon anyway. 2) I think it’s just him getting up to speed during spring training. 3) See 1. 4) Any closer could go down tomorrow that’s why I don’t own top ones. It’s a risky position. This is kinda tied into number one too.

  34. Tony says:
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    @Grey: Its crazy these guys get hurt with the small workload they have!

  35. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Tony: Yeah, but it’s taxing to pitch three days in a row then every third day. There’s no rhythm.

  36. JG says:
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    Any idea on Francisco’s Cordero’s job security & injury status?

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JG: It’s his job to lose and he’ll have a very long leash. I think he’s just having a tough spring.

  38. Joe S. says:
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    Grey I discovered the site after reading the Matthew Berry interview. I still dont value his opinion but now i do your’s and the rest of the commenters. I am in a CBS 10 team H2H points league that keeps 15 players per year it’s kinda a goofy league but they play for money and most of the GMs are football fans. My team pre ’09 draft is listed which 15 should I start my team with? I am trying to trade an OF for a SP
    Teixeira, Mark
    Cano, Robinson
    Jones, Chipper
    Jeter, Derek
    Braun, Ryan
    Granderson, Curtis
    Quentin, Carlos
    Upton, B.J.
    Abreu, Bobby
    Davis, Chris
    Hamels, Cole
    Jimenez, Ubaldo
    Lilly, Ted
    Perez, Oliver
    Sabathia, CC
    Santana, Ervin
    Doumit, Ryan
    Martinez, Victor
    Stewart, Ian
    Choo, Shin-Soo
    Snider, Travis
    Sanchez, Anibal
    Sheets, Ben
    Papelbon, Jonathan
    Ryan, B.J.
    Miller, Andrew

  39. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Joe S.: Cool, good to have you aboard.

    I’d keep:

    Tex, Braun, BJ Upton, Quentin, C. Jones, Davis, Hamels, Sabathia, Granderson, Ervin, Cano, Jeter, Papelbon, Abreu, V-Mart.

    Also, I don’t think you need to trade for a starter.

    For future reference, questions like this are best served in the Forums. But either way, hope that helps.

  40. Anthony G says:
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    If Papelbon is out, who is the guys in Boston? Del Carmen? Saito? Okajima?

  41. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Anthony G: Saito or Okajima, in that order probably, but Papelbon isn’t out. — At least last I heard.

  42. Joe S. says:
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    @ Grey Thanks still finding my way around the site

  43. JG says:
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    You’ve talked fairly highly in comments about Franklin & Nunez… If I were going to drop Chris Perez, seeing as his chance at closing initially is looking slim, which potential closer would you recommend taking a flier on?

  44. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JG: I’d grab Nunez — Franklin and Motte (and even Perez) are still battling.

  45. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Joe S.: No worries, also I changed your commenting name. Feel free to change it to something else, but Joe is taken.

  46. Joe S. says:
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    @ Grey Joe S. has a nice ring to it other acceptable names are Max Power, Peter Lemonjello or Kenny Powers

  47. JG says:
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    @Grey, I promise this will be my last question on this thread. Now, if Lindstrom’s injury appears to be lingering at the start of the season but they keep claiming it’s nothing too serious (but obviously nobody really knows), and Franklin is initially awarded the closer slot, do you take your chance with Franklin who could be a full-time closer until he loses the job, or still go with Nunez who might only hold onto the job until Lindstrom’s healthy? (for an unknown period of time–maybe a few days, maybe a few months)

  48. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @JG: Nunez

  49. Junker23 says:
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    K, I’m officially scared of owning Marmol now. Acquired him via trade, but now I’m thinking about shopping in for a utility guy. Would Votto be a decent target?

  50. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Junker23: Votto would be a great target, if you can get him.

  51. Tony says:
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    @Junker23: yeah if you get votto for marmol the guy you dealt him to is a donkey….

  52. Josh says:
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    Coco Cordero got rocked again. is it possible the off-season foot surgery messed with his mechanics? I think it’s time to start seriously considering picking up his backup, esp in a league I where have him. I just don’t know who it is. Weathers? gross…

  53. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Josh: Weathers would be the backup, but unless Cordero’s hiding an injury he’s still the closer. Bill Bray has the best stuff, but he was injured himself so if you want to back him up, Weathers looks like the “best” choice.

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