1. J.J. Putz
6-1/82/1.38/0.70, 40 saves
The six wins really puts Putz (stutter much?) in first. Don’t get caught up in the rankings for the closers, because really any of the closers in the top ten would have done you just fine. Hate to shortchange Putz, but it’s something to chew on, perhaps. You’re really going after saves here, and 40 from Putz was good. Frankly, I would’ve taken a Tagamet and Todd Jones’s 38 saves.
2. Takashi Saito
2-1/78/1.40/0.72, 39 saves
Looks like Broxton didn’t take over this year as every expert predicted. There’s something to not being able to read what the media is writing. Other than the four less wins, Saito was just as good as Putz.
3. Joe Nathan
4-2/77/1.88/1.02, 37 saves
He might have the absolutely lamest name. His stuff is nasty, yet his name is Joe Nathan? From now on, Joe Nathan will be known as Taipei Slinklo. It is significant only in its randomness. But for someone who is as vanilla as Joe Nathan, he needs some random ethnicity. “Hey, Taipei Slinklo, you gonna save this game?” “Pho sho!” What, Taipei is a ridiculous name? And Boof isn’t?
4. Jonathan Papelbon
1-3/84/1.85/0.77, 37 saves
The Pinero experiment lasted until about third inning of the first intrasquad game. Timlin was the closer for about as long as it takes a Yankee fan to get beat up in the Cask. The Sox didn’t even know what they had in Okajima, so they reluctantly handed the ball back to Papelbon. Um, it worked out okay. I would love for nothing else but to see Papelbon fail just so he stops dancing. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. Then again, with closers, you never know. *Fingers crossed*
5. Francisco Rodriguez
5-2/90/2.81/1.25, 40 saves
Any day now Scot Shields is going to take over, right? No, maybe not. K-Rod’s mechanics make scouts squirm, yet he’s still right here, year after year. As Rex Hudler says, “K-Rod’s born for the job!” Okay, maybe Hud didn’t say exactly that, but something equally inane was said. Smoke another doobie, Hud!
6. Jose Valverde
1-4/78/2.66/1.12, 47 saves
Frankly, he’s number one in my mind. I <3 Valverde. You draft closers for saves and no one gave you more than Valverde. Were they all pretty? Yup, they actually were. The blown saves weren’t. He gave up seven of his season’s 19 earned runs in two appearances. Seeing one of these games and knowing how he was prone to breakdown in previous seasons, I traded him on June 1st for a seemingly powerless, suddenly-over-the-hill Abreu. I assumed Valverde would breakdown and Abreu would return to past glory. The trade almost didn’t go through because everyone (except Abreu’s owner) felt the same way as me. Abreu ended up giving me 89/14/78/16/.303 in 104 games. Meanwhile, Valverde pitched great in the 2nd half notching 28 saves. Because the way saves bunched up in this league, I would’ve wrapped up the league with two weeks to play if I had kept Valverde over Abreu. In the end, I still won the league on the last day of the season, but I had to scramble for saves for three months straight (even signing Valverde’s backup, Tony Pena, at one point). As William Goldman says, “No one knows anything.”
7. Bobby Jenks
3-5/56/2.77/0.89, 40 saves
Two body types for pitchers, tall and slender and tall and fat. The tall and fat ones are on everyone’s list to get injured, while the tall and slender ones are the ones that do get injured. The tall and fat ones end up pitching until they are forty-five. Just sayin’. Probably took some Jenks-sized balls to draft him, but if you did, good for you. Why don’t you shine your balls and put them on your mantle? Now go get your shinebox!
8. Francisco Cordero
0-4/86/2.98/1.11, 44 saves
Cordero lost his job in Texas in ’06. Makes me think of Dr. Dre’s The Watcher, “You’d probably move to a new house on a new hill…” Weird how saves bounce around, isn’t it? Another reason why you don’t draft closers too high. Cordero is actually artificially low in these rankings because he went 0-4. You drafted him for saves, not wins. Stop bitchin’, you made out a’ight. Sorry, feeling gangsta.
9. Trevor Hoffman
4-5/44/2.98/1.12, 42 saves
Still collecting saves, still entering the game to an old-ass song. Old is as old does. As long as he can still throw a changeup that is somehow slower than his fastball, he’ll be all right. His numbers would look even better if it weren’t for the three runs he gave up in a third of an inning in the final game of the season.
10. Billy Wagner
2-2/80/2.63/1.13, 34 saves
By September, he looked gray and lifeless like a dirty water hot dog. Being the proud of Wagner on two different teams, I wanted Heilman to take over. Not because I had Heilman, but simply so Wagner would stop giving up runs. He was making Alfredo Amezaga look like an Alfredo Griffin circa 1979 when he co-won the AL ROY with John Castino. Since this will be the third ever mention of John Castino on the internet, maybe he can write in when he Google stalks himself. Hope your back’s feeling better!