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This competition is quite different from the third base situation. A plethora of plus-arms include Matt Thornton, Chris Sale, Sergio Santos, Will Ohman and Jesse Crain.
All of the names above have the stuff to be a closer, and all of them have shaken the catcher's hand after recording the game's last out (Santos once, Crain and Ohman thrice if you're fact-checking). It's a fantastic problem for Ozzie to have.
Throughout the spring, Guillen has talked about closing each inning and using his best guy when he deems it necessary, regardless of what inning it is. He says that, but he knows that most of the guys in his bullpen want a defined role and want to know when they'll be pitching.
Closer-by-committee rumors can swirl all they want, but Guillen, pitching coach Don Cooper, general manager Kenny Williams and any of the relievers all know that bullpens work better with defined roles, so flush those rumors down the toilet.
None of the candidates have really stood out this spring, except maybe Santos, but he really isn't in the running for the closer job in just his second year in the bigs. He has control issues to work on and will probably be seen in the sixth and seventh innings a lot this season.
Sale, technically a rookie this year, is up there with Thornton as the favorite to win the role. Like Santos, the lack of experience will probably work against Sale, as will the fact that Cooper plans to transform him into a starter down the road. Putting that kind of pressure on him is unnecessary at this point.
Many think that Thornton's two-year, $12 million extension signed earlier this month was an unofficial crowning, but it wasn't. Guillen really intends on dragging this decision out, maybe even longer than the one at third base.
Still, expect Thornton to be the guy when it's all said and done. And if he falters, there will be plenty of backup to pick up the slack.