|Chris Perez||Jonathan Broxton||Matt Capps||Frank Francisco
|Jim Johnson||Javy Guerra||Joel Hanrahan||Huston Street||Brian Wilson
|Sergio Santos||J.J. Putz
||Craig Kimbrel||Jose Valverde||Heath Bell||Grant Balfour
|Brandon League||John Axford||Mariano Rivera||Jonathan Papelbon||Jordan Walden
|Alfredo Aceves||Carlos Marmol||Sean Marshall
||Brett Myers||Joel Peralta
Notes: The closer carousel begins. Hopefully you bought into the closers who are in blue or green in your draft. The outside looking in isn’t where you want to hang out. But let’s take a look at each color.
Trusted: Last year at this time, I only classified four closers as being “trusted”. But because of injuries and movement, this year, when I looked at my rankings and the developments, more closers seemed to have a stronghold on their gigs. Craig Kimbrel is the overwhelming favorite closer going into this year (he’s distanced himself from Johnny Venters, at least for the closer role)…Mariano Rivera has talked about retiring after this year, it would be really hard for Girardi to pull him from his role…J.J. Putz proved last year that you can be a dominant closer, then a really bad closer, and then a dominant closer once again…Jose Valverde didn’t blow a save last year, and in his first appearance this year, he blew a save, yet his manager has his back…Heath Bell got a boat load of money to come to Miami, and that guy who used to be called Leo Nunez is nowhere to be found…John Axford might be the most likely to lose his job of this group, as he’s the only guy with a former closer behind him…Jonathan Papelbon switched leagues and will likely have the most save opportunities of all closers this year…
Solid: Javy Guerra was thought to be in the setup role, even after recording 21 saves for the Dodgers last year, but he’s clearly a step ahead of Kenley Jansen…Joel Hanrahan finally figured something out…If Huston Street is healthy and still on the Padres, he will be their closer, but how many save opportunities will he get?…Brian Wilson had a pretty bad year by his standards in 2011, and injury is now a risk…Sergio Santos switched teams, but the only threat behind him is Francisco Cordero…Brandon League is the safest bet of the “solid” closers…I don’t trust Carlos Marmol because he walks a lot of people and because there is new management in Chicago; look for him to be traded…Sean Marshall won the lottery…Rafael Betancourt is 400 years old, but if he gets off to a fast start, he could find himself in the blue…Nobody behind Brett Myers…
Danger: Chris Perez already has a blown save and he looks like a dirty transient…Does anyone actually think big fat Jonathan Broxton will hold the gig all year? No. It’s going to be Aaron Crow…Matt Capps can’t strike anyone out…What did Frank Francisco do in Toronto last year? Oh yeah…Matt Thorton couldn’t get the job done last year, why will 2012 be any different?…Grant Balfour could leap into the green with a few more saves…Jason Motte gave us a useful postseason, but his regular season was dreadful…Joel Peralta is just keeping the seat warm for Kyle Farnsworth…Brad Lidge is doing the same for Drew Storen…Don’t be surprised if Joe Nathan gets hurt again this year and Mike Adams jumps into the closer role.