Brad Ziegler was brought into to try to get the save yesterday for the Athletics, but blew the save. I had mentioned Craig Breslow and Michael Wuertz yesterday as options for saves, but I had honestly forgotten Ziegler was on the roster. The story out of that game is more that Chris Sale was called upon to get the final out of the game for the White Sox. I think honestly that the White Sox may try to either trade or non-tender Bobby Jenks and give Sale the opportunity to win the job out of Spring Training next year.
The closers really are a bit of a mess when looking at next season. Joe Nathan may or may not be back to 100% during next season, Jonathan Broxton doesn't appear to have a particularly good chance to be closing games for the Dodgers right now. Billy Wagner is retiring at the end of this season, and it's unclear exactly who will be his replacement. Francisco Rodriguez is having legal issues which may not affect his job status, or they may.
1. Mariano Rivera - Steady as they come, and a practical guarantee for 30+ saves, an ERA under 2, and a WHIP under 1. Nobody is as solid as Rivera regardless of his age.
2. Heath Bell
3. Joakim Soria
4. Brian Wilson
5. Carlos Marmol - For me, the sheer amount of strikeouts are what move him higher than some of the other closers. He has struck out 128 batters in 72 2/3 innings. That's more strikeouts than some starters who give you 200 innings. The WHIP is the only concern for me.
6. Neftali Feliz - I think that it's in his best interest long term to leave him in the closer's role, and if there was a guarantee that they would he'd be at #5 instead.
7. Rafael Soriano - A free agent after the season, I have concerns about his injury past. But I can't imagine that he's not going to end up somewhere as the closer after the amazing season he's had this year.
8. Jonathan Papelbon - I think he's still going to be the closer in Boston next year at this point.
9. Jose Valverde
10. John Axford - He looks like he will be the favorite to hold onto the job, and honestly I don't feel particularly good about anyone else. Look at the names of some of the other potential closers for next year:
Huston Street, Bobby Jenks, Chris Sale, Francisco Cordero, Chris Perez, Andrew Bailey, Matt Capps, Jonathan Broxton, Francisco Rodriguez, Hong-Chih Kuo, Drew Storen, Brad Lidge, Craig Kimbrel, and the list can go on and on. None of these candidates seem like locks to either hold their job or perform particularly well or consistently should they hold the job. Next year remains very unclear, and definitely looks more than ever like a reason to not pay for saves.
Max Scherzer had another great start yesterday, and will definitely be in my top 30 starters for next year. He threw 7 2/3 shutout innings, and struck out 8 in that time. He only has 12 wins, but has lowered his season ERA to 3.40 and struck out 181 batters.