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.
- Arizona Diamondbacks – J.J. Putz (Juan Gutierrez)
- Atlanta Braves – Craig Kimbrel (Jonny Venters)
- Baltimore Orioles – Koji Uehara (Mike Gonzalez/Alfredo Simon)
- Boston Red Sox – Jonathan Papelbon (Daniel Bard)
- Chicago Cubs – Carlos Marmol (Sean Marshall)
- Chicago White Sox – Matt Thornton (Jesse Crain/Chris Sale)
- Cincinnati Reds – Francisco Cordero (Aroldis Chapman)
- Cleveland Indians – Chris Perez (Rafael Perez/Jensen Lewis)
- Colorado Rockies – Huston Street (Matt Lindstrom)
- Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (Joaquin Benoit/Ryan Perry)
- Florida Marlins – Leo Nunez (Clay Hensley)
- Houston Astros – Brandon Lyon (Wilton Lopez)
- Kansas City Royals – Joakim Soria (Robinson Tejada)
- Los Angeles Angels – Fernando Rodney (Scott Downs)
- Los Angeles Dodgers – Jonathan Broxton (Hong-Chih Kuo)
- Milwaukee Brewers – John Axford (Takashi Saito)
- Minnesota Twins – Joe Nathan (Matt Capps)
- New York Mets – Francisco Rodriguez (Bobby Parnell)
- New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera (Joba Chamberlain)
- Oakland Athletics – Andrew Bailey (Brad Ziegler)
- Philadelphia Phillies – Brad Lidge (Ryan Madson)
- Pittsburgh Pirates – Joel Hanrahan (Evan Meek)
- San Diego Padres – Heath Bell (Luke Gregerson)
- San Francisco Giants – Brian Wilson (Jeremy Affeldt)
- Seattle Mariners – David Aardsma (Brandon League)
- St. Louis Cardinals – Ryan Franklin (Jason Motte)
- Tampa Bay Rays - Joel Peralta/Wade Davis/Jake McGee
- Texas Rangers – Neftali Feliz (Frank Francisco)
- Toronto Blue Jays – Octavio Dotel (Jason Frasor)
- Washington Nationals – Drew Storen (Tyler Clippard)
Be sure to check back for more updates as the season approaches!
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