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The Closer Depth Chart is Up to Date

Uncertainty surrounds the bullpen pictures for several teams, but the good news is that our Closer Depth Chart (see the top right-hand corner of the page) is back up-to-date. Check it out before bidding on a closer or setup man, and keep checking it for updates throughout the season.

For many teams, the pecking order is easy to establish in our one, two, three format, but there are a few that need a little more explanation. Briefly, here is an overview of some bullpen flash points around baseball.

Detroit Tigers

Anyone could emerge on top of this wide-open pen. Even someone not yet on the team. Really, anybody but Jose Valverde could close for Detroit. The leading candidates are:

Joaquin Benoit
Bruce Rondon
Al Alburquerque
Phil Coke

This team has the best chance in the Majors of opening with that fantasy-death scenario of a committee.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Ernesto Frieri closed very well last year, but they signed Ryan Madson to take over the job, but now Madson is hurt....

This one is murky, but possession is nine tenths of the law, right? I'd go with Frieri for now--who knows what will happen with Madson, and Frieri will give you strikeouts along the way. 

New York Mets

Incumbent Frank Francisco was supposed to be fighting for his job this spring, but instead he's been hanging out in the trainer's room. Bobby Parnell has been pitching well in the meantime, and it looks like he'll be opening the season as closer. I rather think that Parnell would have to be pretty bad to lose the job to Francisco during the season.

Chicago Cubs

For now, the much-maligned Carlos Marmol is supposed to be the closer, but it's no secret that the Cubbies intend to ship him out of town. Some rumors even say they want him gone before Opening Day, which would probably kill all his fantasy value (unless he goes to Detroit). Whenever Marmol departs, Kyuji Fujikawa will be installed as the stopper.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Last season, Kenley Jansen started the year setting up for an inferior pitcher--Javy Guerra. Now, history is repeating itself, with Brandon League playing Guerra's part. Things are a little murkier this time around, though, because Jansen lost the job due to his heart condition and League is getting paid lots of money. Will health or cash keep Jansen out of the closer's role? They could. Or maybe they won't. The nice thing is that Jansen--like Frieri--gets so many strikeouts that he's valuable on a roster even if he isn't saving games. 

For updates on these situations and all the others that are sure to crop up throughout the year, follow @CloserNews on Twitter.


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