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Closer Report: Rays

The Rays acquired Rafael Soriano from the Braves and will pay him $7.25MM in 2010.  He is unquestionably their closer.  If healthy, he'll put up strong numbers.  He provides good value at his current 14th round average draft position.

Soriano is in another contract year, so he might hold it together.  But he does have a notable injury history, including ulnar nerve surgery transposition in August of '08.  You'll want to be aware of his backups.

Basically, J.P. Howell is the one you want.  He saved 17 last year with a 10.7 K/9, though he walked 4.5 per nine.  Technically, he blew 8 saves in 25 tries, but the majority of those were not typical save situations.

After Howell it's Grant Balfour or Dan Wheeler.  Balfour is more in the classic closer mold, and I'd take him assuming he's going well.




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