2011 MLB Closers: Papelbon, Cordero, Rivera, Soria & Wilson Are Only Reliables

Nick Kappel@@NickKappelAnalyst IIIJanuary 3, 2011

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Texas Rangers in Game Six of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers won 6-1.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Over the last three years, only five closers have recorded at least 30 saves each season (Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Cordero, Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria and Brian Wilson). This fact alone illustrates the high turnover rate at this unstable position.

With nearly half of baseball’s 30 teams likely to start 2011 with a new closer, it’s important for fantasy managers to brush up on the bullpens in transition.

Every week during the 2011 season, I’ll update the Closer’s Corner as ninth-inning roles change hands. In the meantime, I’ll post updates as free agents continue to sign and spring training battles become more clear.

Here’s how the closer situations look as of January 2. The first name listed is the favorite to close on Opening Day 2011, while the name in parenthesis is the player to own should injury or ineffectiveness occur.  

Be sure to check back for more updates as the season approaches!

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