Preview, Predictions for All 2014 Spring Training Closer's Role Battles

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Preview, Predictions for All 2014 Spring Training Closer's Role Battles
Hunter Martin/Getty Images
Nate Jones is the front-runner to be the new closer for the White Sox in 2014.

The question of who will be entrusted to hold a lead in the ninth inning appears to be answered for all but four teams, barring an injury, as we head into spring training.

Several of the other 26 closers are new to their teams, such as John Axford (Indians), Grant Balfour (Rays), Jim Johnson (A's), Joe Nathan (Tigers), Addison Reed (Diamondbacks) and Fernando Rodney (Mariners). Trevor Rosenthal (Cardinals), who starred during the 2013 postseason, enters his first full season as a closer, and the Yankees' David Robertson will be replacing Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all-time. 

There are also a few pitchers who are capable of forcing their respective team to turn away from the supposed leading man if they are impressive enough in camp—Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Sergio Santos could push steady closer Casey Janssen, while lefty Rex Brothers is capable of taking the Colorado Rockies' closer's job away from veteran LaTroy Hawkins.

In all likelihood, though, the realistic closer battles will be limited to the following four teams. 

 

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