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Our first look at closers for the 2010 fantasy baseball season, including some recent movees.  I already went over Billy Wagner to the Braves, Lindstrom to the Astros, Rafael Soriano to the Rays and Capps to the Nats.  Since then, Mike Gonzalez is a movee to Baltimore.  Bobby Cox was unable to get fully behind a lefty cl0ser, but that doesn’t mean Mike Gonzalez can’t find success with the Orioles.  The only major negative with Mike Gonzalez is I have to write out Mike Gonzalez’s entire name every time I mention Mike Gonzalez because it doesn’t sound right any other way.  It’s still real early in the preseason for closers.  Sometimes these battles aren’t decided until the last week of spring training (you still have time, Astros!).  So this is a like a Google Map of closers that might lead you down a road closed for construction.  Anyway, here’s all of the closers for your fantasy baseball team, as of right now:

$12 Salads

You know that restaurant your girlfriend/wife/what-have-you likes to go to that charges, like, $12 for a salad? Every time you go there, you have a thoroughly solid meal. No complaints, except you just paid $12 for a salad when you could’ve went to McDonald’s and stuffed you and your woman for ten schmools and had $2 in quarters left over to make the hotel bed vibrate. These closers are $12 salads.

1. Joe Nathan (Matt Guerrier, Jon Rauch)
2. Jonathan Papelbon (Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard)
3. Mariano Rivera (Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Joba Hughesberlain)
4. Jonathan Broxton (George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo)

Donkey-corns

Imagine you’re following a donkey, who’s wearing a wool cap, through a desert for 1700 miles. Why are you following a donkey? Because he promises you something wonderful and you just need to trust him. Does the donkey talk? Yes. Yes, he does talk. So when you and the donkey in the wool cap arrive at his destination, he removes his the wool cap to reveal a horn. The donkey is a unicorn and his gift to you for your trust is saves. These closers are Donkey-corns.

5. Joakim Soria (Kyle Farnsworth, Carlos Rosa)
6. Heath Bell (Luke Gregerson)
7. Carlos Marmol (Angel Guzman, John Grabow)
8. Francisco Rodriguez (Kelvim Escobar, Eddie Kunz)
9. Andrew Bailey (Michael Wuertz, Brad Ziegler)
10. David Aardsma (Mark Lowe, Chad Cordero)
11. Brian Wilson (Jeremy Affeldt)
12. Huston Street (Franklin Morales, Rafael Betancourt)
13. Francisco Cordero (Arthur Rhodes, Nick Masset, Jared Burton)
14. Ryan Franklin (Jason Motte, Kyle McClellan)
15. Rafael Soriano (J.P. Howell, Dan Wheeler)
16. Billy Wagner (Takashi Saito)
17. Brian Fuentes (Fernando Rodney, Kevin Jepsen)
18. Leo Nunez (Dan Meyer)
19. Mike Gonzalez (Jim Johnson)
20. Frank Francisco (C.J. Wilson, Chris Ray)
21. Joel Zumaya (Ryan Perry)
22. Trevor Hoffman (LaTroy Hawkins)

Brain Freeze

I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples, bananas and Kerry Wood– Wait, he just gave up 12 earned runs and hit Asdrubal in the head with a pickoff throw. Brain freeze! Make it stop! Use the following closers at your own risk.

23. Bobby Jenks (Matt Thornton, J.J. Putz)
24. Matt Capps (Brian Bruney, Drew Storen)
25. Chad Qualls (Juan Gutierrez, Bob Howry)
26. Brad Lidge (Ryan Madson, Danys Baez)
27. Kerry Wood (Chris Perez)
28. Jason Frasor (Scott Downs, Jeremy Accardo)
29. Brandon Lyon/Matt Lindstrom (Winner of Radio Phone-In Contest)
30. Joel Hanrahan (Runner-Up To Astros’ Phone-In Contest Winner)

  1. Nate Marcum says:
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    I am almost gonna recommend puting Carlos Marmol in the brain freeze category!

    With a whip of 7.9/9inn, I want to throw my “Vote for Andre Dawson” sign at the television. Who am I kidding, I am a Cardinals fan…..I love it……..but I digress.

    There are a few good reasons to like him…part of 2007 and 2008, but there are too many reasons not to trust him! His WHIP is horrible, HR/F might have went down, but a realistic return to the .7 level means that xERA of 4.4 is more likely to rear its ugly head.

    Honestly, there are only 2 reasons I like him…
    1. Angel Guzman
    2. John Grabow

  2. Van Hammersly says:
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    Haha, love the Brain Freeze Percival-to-Wood update!

  3. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Nate Marcum: His WHIP is bad, but for a closer with his stuff he should be able to get out of most jams. Guzman and Grabow are other great reasons to like him.

    @Van Hammersly: Thanks for noticing!

  4. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Recommendations for start of season bench picks? Thornton seems a likely one. Others?

  5. Nate Marcum says:
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    I don’t trust Franklin to hold down the job here all season. His #’s from last year should tell me otherwise, but something tells me it could be a roller coaster for him. Hopefully Jason Motte gets his secondary pitch and he could be a stud with those k’s.

  6. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: Holy taco, indeed.

    @Simply Fred: Rodney, Perry, Wilson, Perez…

    @Nate Marcum: You might be right, his September wasn’t great.

  7. Phil says:
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    What about Valverde?

  8. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Thanks. I see that Zumaya looks pretty vulnerable.

  9. Simply Fred

    Simply Fred says:
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    @Grey: Does that mean you think Jenks will be relatively solid and Thornton unlikely to move up?

  10. Corey says:
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    Am I just missing Jose Valverde? Where is he?

  11. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Phil: @Corey: Valverde turned down the Astros’ offer. He’s unsigned.

    @Simply Fred: Doesn’t mean that at all. You listed Thornton so I didn’t list him too.

  12. Charlie says:
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    Cust Kayin in Oakland for another year. What, if anything does this do to the Fox’s playing time/position?

  13. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Charlie: They’re double fisting on Cust, huh? Weird move for them. It sends Fox into the outfield until Beane sees him play, then he moves all around the infield. It’s not great, but he’ll still get 400+ ABs.

  14. royce! says:
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    It saddens me that I will have to pass on Broxton, as he was one of the few highlights of my 2009 team. Oh well, he was insane at home (.40 ERA) but did a pretty good Lidge impersonation on the road (ERA over 5). My weekly team probably won and lost based on the Dodgers schedule.

    I think Bell can easily take his place on my roster. He’s at least one of the few guys who could fit into his clothes. Wait, nevermind. Borxton’s got at least 40 lbs on Bell. Bell in Broxton’s clothes would look positively emo. But I digress…

  15. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @royce!: Nice digression.

  16. Jo says:
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    @Phil @Cory: According to rotoworld Valverde currently has 4 offers on the table… he’s bound to take 1 and be a pretty good late pick closer next season.

  17. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Jo: Probably won’t be that late of a pick once he signs, assuming it’s before spring training, which it should be.

  18. sean says:
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    @Grey: I’m a little concerned about the value being placed on closers with such a short track record, especially those toward the top of the donkey-corns (Bell, Bailey, Aardsma, Franklin, etc.). I guess your position is more like don’t overpay for saves than it is don’t pay for saves, but I’m still on the fence as to whether I could trust my team to a threesome or foursome like the one listed above…

  19. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: Who do you see above them? Hoffman, Wagner and Fuentes?

  20. Doc says:
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    I think this is the first time I actually read and registered what the hell a Donkey-Corn is. I want one!

  21. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: There were no donkeycorns over at Football.Razzball?

  22. Doc says:
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    @Grey: Yes, but they were disguised as fat coaches, Mangini-corns.

  23. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: That’s probably very funny, but I don’t get it.

  24. Eddy says:
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    In your Zumaya post you said he’d be overdrafted, but believe it or not he has not been drafted ONCE in ANY of my mock drafts. I guess he’d been out so long people flat out forgot about him. Looks like I found my 20+ round closer!

  25. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Eddy: I think that’s just because people have no idea that he’s set to be the closer as of right now. Once the spring starts and people get hip to him, he’ll be drafted. Valverde’s in talks to go to Detroit too so that would kill Zumaya.

  26. Doc says:
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    @Grey: It’s avant-garde

  27. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: Like Miranda July?

  28. Doc says:
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    @Grey: ))((

  29. quimmy says:
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    I have a decision to make in my keeper league that I am sure most would be envious of. If you could lock up one player for a 5yr contract and the other for a 3yr who would get the 5yr between JUP or Kemp?

  30. Mark says:
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    Joel Zumaya will be hurt and Leo Nunez won’t be good. Put them in the next tier over Grey!

  31. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @Doc: That’s dirty.

    @quimmy: Kemp 5 year, Upton 3.

    @Mark: They might end up there by February.

  32. sean says:
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    @Grey: I just feel much better about forgetting about guys like Bell, who will be drafted early based on one good season, and focusing building my relief staff on guys like CoCo or Wilson who seem to do it every year. Is that just being a label whore in a SAGNOF world?

  33. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @sean: Nah, SAGNOF makes it saves are saves are saves. Names don’t really mean anything. If Coco’s undervalued then he’s fine. Or anyone getting saves.

  34. DrEasy says:
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    In your closer rankings you’ve always ranked Hoffman pretty low. Is there something I’m missing? I was very happy with him last year.

    Jason Frasor has become a much more effective pitcher since he’s added a new pitch to his arsenal (can’t remember if it was a slider or a change). He was a great waiver pick-up for me last year when Downs got hurt for a while. I guess there’s just some uncertainy as to who the closer is for Toronto. Plus, with their crappy team this year who knows how many save opportunities they’ll get anyway. He could also be trade bait if someone is desperate for a closer or reliever (and so would Downs, in fact).

    Wow, a Miranda July reference on a fantasy baseball blog?

  35. DrEasy says:
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    @DrEasy: In fact there were some rumors of a Frasor trade to the Cubs (he’s from Chicago originally) a week or two ago.

  36. big o says:
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    soria doesn’t get enough saves to warrant being ranked 5th .

  37. Grey

    Grey says:
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    @DrEasy: Hoffman was great last year, but I have a hard time believing in a 42 year old closer who can’t throw over 85. Change or no change.

    Frasor added a split-finger fastball.

  38. Pat says:
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    Grey,
    I don’t get how Andrew Bailey is so high on the list. Specifically, I think Brian Wilson deserves to be rated above the ROY. Wilson isn’t perfect, but he’s got a great k-rate, a fo-hawk, and some how parties with celebrities in Beverly Hills!

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