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Chad Orvella is ready to step up

Will Chad Orvella emerge as the closer in Tampa Bay? It would appear so, especially after the Rays traded away Danys Baez and Lance Carter this winter. But the team appears hesistant to simply hand the 24-year-old right-hander without making him earn it.

When asked about the vacant closer role, new manager Joe Maddon was non-committal. From the Tampa Tribune:

"I think its wide open," Maddon said Wednesday. "We have two options. We go with one guy or close by committee. I think it will play itself out. You'd much prefer to have one guy, but sometimes you're not built to have one closer.

"You look for consistency in throwing strikes. Those three outs are the toughest outs in baseball. You look for a guy who wants the ball in his hands late in the game when it's all on the line."

Considering the only other options are free agent acquisitions Dan Miceli, who hasn't tallied more than three saves in a season since he was a 24-year-old youngster in 1995, and import Shinji Mori, who was used mostly as a setup man during his career in Japan.

Orvella, on the other hand, has been groomed as a closer his entire career. Last year, he proved he could handle big league hitters, posting a 3.60 ERA on the year and a 2.35 ERA after the All-Star break. When you consider all of their options, Orvella really is the team's only choice, but the "uncertainty" about his role should help suppress his fantasy value just a little at the draft. Use that to your advantage.

Orvella Ready If Rays Are Willing [Tampa Tribune]