As the Season draws closer, hell, it’s basically here tomorrow, the Closer Apocalypse of 2012 is starting to be as ritualistic as a Mayan prediction. So, for those not in the know, it’s basically going to happen again, and has already started. Injuries either that are lingering from last year or new ones that get covered with Snoopy boo-boo strips are popping up. It’s going to happen, but don’t fret. Smokey is here with a doomsday prepper’s guide to handling the relief situations that are always in flux. So grab your prepper’s bible and 12 lbs. of powdered eggs and let me settle you down some. Here are some guys that I am storing away for the inevitable next closer carousel situation, because staying ahead of the waiver wire is cool and gets you stickers.
St Louis – Jason Motte goes down and everyone rushes to the Boggs. They may find cranberries, they may find a relief situation that will not be short of viable options. I like, strike that, LOVE Mitchell Boggs. I had him as my top holds guy this year and he, if given the chance, will undoubtedly do a great job in the closer role should Motte be shelved for awhile. Unfortunately I think he is more valuable as a no mess, no fuss set-up guy rather than closer. Guys with more electric stuff exist in that bullpen. Trevor Rosenthal and Edward Mujica have more closer type stuff. You can even add in Fernando Salas if you wanted to. Rosenthal seems to be getting the secondary looks for deep hand-cuffing, but the guy to watch for that savvy veteran presence is Mujica. Rosenthal reminds me of the situation not to far back when Wainwright was used as a reliever, then sporadic closer, then became a mainstream SP.
Cleveland – Chris Perez is basically playing out his string in Cleveland. The tribe are getting lots of hype as potential contenders in the Central. There are 3 reasons why Perez doesn’t last the year with the Indians. First, he is a complete mental head case. The kind of girl you wanna take out because you know the sex will be phenomenal, but you have to change your number afterward type stuff. Second, he will be entering his final year of arbitration next year and as a super 2 closer he will be getting a raise to well over 10 mil; he currently makes 7.3. Lastly, I think the Indians are abundant with talent behind him. Yeah, I’m not going to talk about Vinnie Pestano. I am talking about Cody Allen and even further down the line Danny Salazar. So Vinnie should be rostered, but Allen should be stalked, legally of course.
Boston – Joe-L from the planet Krypton was brought in to be the cat’s knees the bee’s pajamas. Well, I am not one for paying attention to ST stats, but in this case I will. 9 ER runs in 6 innings pitched isn’t fantastic or fabuloso or some other household cleaning product for that matter. The Sawx aren’t shy about options. Andrew Bailey is chomping at the bit to get back in the closer circle. They also have little respected Koji Uehara who is forgotten about like pokemon cards. The guy I like for the long term spot in Boston is Allen Webster, came over in the trade with Dodgers and has pitched outstanding this spring.
Pirates – Jason Grilli last year had a dominant year. Can he translate that into a closing role, he of his 5 career saves. The K rate is to drool for, but the track record isn’t. He is already 36 years young and has a career relief ERA in the mid 4’s. The guy I want and as a favorite roster stash is Mark Melancon. The thing with Mark is he isn’t a big city guy at all, I know this because I have spoken with him several times when he was in the minors. Now I think Grilli gets a lotta leash in the closer seat, but I would feel more comfy knowing that he had the pedigree for years. For those digging further for dynasty gems check out Vic Black.