Closer Report: Volatility continues in 2013

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The volatility in the closer roles continues in 2013. Here is a look at the turnover that has occurred this season, and I wonder if it is really worth paying for closers heading into 2014.

The Closer Report has been on vacation longer than I was, and now it is time to bring it back. We are four months into the season, and like many other seasons, there has been a lot of volatility in the closer jobs across major league baseball. Here is a quick look at the list of every closer used by all 30 major league teams this season. I did not include guys that have received spot saves, but only guys that were handed the closer job, however brief that was.

Let me know if I missed any one.

National League

Atlanta

Kimbrel

Washington

Soriano

Philadelphia

Papelbon

New York

Parnell

Miami

Cishek

Pittsburgh

Grilli

Melancon

St. Louis

Motte

Boggs

Rosenthal

Mujica

Cincinnati

Chapman

Milwaukee

Axford

Henderson

Rodriguez

Henderson

Chicago

Marmol

Fujikawa

Gregg

Los Angeles

League

Jansen

Arizona

Putz

Hernandez

Bell

Putz

Zeigler

Colorado

Betancourt

Brothers

San Francisco

Romo

San Diego

Street

Gregerson

Thayer

Street

American League

Boston

Hanrahan

Bailey

Tazawa

Bailey

Uehara

Tampa Bay

Rodney

Peralta

Rodney

New York

Rivera

Baltimore

Johnson

Toronto

Janssen

Detroit

Albuquerque

Coke

Valverde

Benoit

Cleveland

Perez

Pestano

Smith

Perez

Kansas City

Holland

Herrera

Holland

Minnesota

Perkins

Chicago

Reed

Oakland

Balfour

Texas

Nathan

Los Angeles

Frieri

Seattle

Wilhelmsen

Medina

Wilhelmsen

Farquhar

Houston

Veras

Cisnero

Fields

So, exactly half, or 15 of 30 teams have seen turnover in their closer jobs this season, with the Red Sox, Brewers, Cardinals, Mariners, Cubs and Diamondbacks responsible for the majority of the turnover thus far. All told, teams have handed the closer job to 60 different relievers this season.

Thinking ahead to draft day 2014, it might pay to use one of two strategies. Pay up for the closers that have been consistent year in and year out, guys like Craig Kimbrel, Joe Nathan, Aroldis Chapman, Rafael Soriano, and others. Or, don't draft a closer and work the waiver wire from Opening Day. I may actually try the second strategy next season. I have used it before and won a league. Actually, a third strategy is punting saves. Yeah, not many owners like to punt a category, but if you were to punt one category, saves is the one category to punt.

To invest $15-20, or higher, on a closer in an auction league, or an 8th-10th round pick in a redraft league, only to see him lose his job in the first month of the season is a tough pill to swallow. About a month ago, ESPN's Buster Olney posed this question to his readers when opining that the Twins and Mets should trade Glen Perkins and Bobby Parnell before the trade deadline:

Do you know how many teams have the same closer in 2013 that they did two years ago, in 2011? Try three: Mariano Rivera of the Yankees, Chris Perez of the Indians and Craig Kimbrel of the Braves.

Closers are like kickers in the NFL. Yes, there is the occasional Morten Andersen, the guy who is really good for a long time. Rivera is that guy.

Three teams have the same closer as TWO years ago. That's volatility. That doesn't mean closers don't get traded or sign with other teams, because they do, but investing in closers is, and always will be, a risky decision. Fantasy owners who grabbed Edward Mujica off the waiver wire this season are reaping the benefits thus far, but not every reliever grabbed off the waiver wire perform like Mujica has.

How many of you have had success punting saves. Let us know in the comments section.

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