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Closer Report: Orioles

Closers such as Ryan Franklin, David Aardsma, Fernando Rodney, and Andrew Bailey could've been had for nothing in 2009 fantasy drafts.  In hopes of finding similar gems, let's embark on a series looking at each team's closer situation.  We'll start with the Orioles.

Given that the O's committed two years and $12MM and gave up a draft pick for Mike Gonzalez, it's safe to assume he'll enter 2010 as their closer.  He's always been a huge strikeout, low-hit, shaky control guy, and that formula will probably work well enough.  Currently a 17th-round pick, he could be a better choice than earlier picks David Aardsma, Ryan Franklin, and Bobby Jenks.

Gonzalez logged a career-high 74.3 innings in '09 despite back stiffness and elbow tendinitis.  He had Tommy John surgery on that elbow in June of '07.  If he hits the DL, the Orioles could turn back to Jim Johnson (he of the 5.5 career K/9).  Koji Uehara, on the hook for $5MM, is another possibility.  He's got great command and his 6.5 K/9 would presumably play up with a return to the pen.  However, his season ended in June with an elbow strain.

Kam Mickolio, who averages about 95 on his fastball, could be the pen's sleeper.  He whiffed 66 in 57.3 innings between Triple A and the bigs last year.  He did deal with biceps inflammation, however.




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