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Closers Who Can Go

Update [2006-7-20 14:10:54 by Eric Hinz]: The Indians and Braves have purportedly made a deal for Bob Wickman. Poor Phil Stockman.

Or more aptly titles, "Closers I think Can Go".

Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Orioles, Tigers, White Sox, Twins, A's, Angels, Mariners, and Rangers are the AL teams that will not change closers due to trade deadline deals.

In the NL, the teams are Mets, Phillies, Nationals, Cardinals, Reds, Astros, Brewers, Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies.

There aren't many teams left, are there?

Here are the teams, the reason why their current closer may have a new uniform on August 1st, and who would replace him.

Tampa Bay:  The Devil Rays need pitchers and are definitely sellers.  A 66-win pace holds no illusions of grandeur.  The current closer is Brian Meadows, a career journeyman with non-descript stuff.  If the chance to get a quality arm in a deal is available, the Rays will do it.  My best guess at the next DRays closer is Seth McClung (20 Ks in 11.2 IP in AAA.)

Kansas City:  Mike MacDougal is back for yet another arm/shoulder injury.  The Royals will deal him into a seller's market for relievers for two reasons. 1.  Ambiorix Burgos is cheaper and just as effective for a horrible team and 2.  Cash in on MacDougal before he is hurt again.

Cleveland:   Bob Wickman is a free agent at year's end, and the Indians would be best served by seeing if they need to pursue, yet again, another high-priced free agent closer (Armando Benitez and Trevor Hoffman the past two off-seasons) or if Fausto Carmona can do it.  One little mentioned fact about Wickman is he has 10-5 rights so moving him won't be as simple as most make it appear.  Plus the Indians may feel better bringing him back next season with a hair trigger than tossing an inexperienced bullpen arm in the 9th.  After all, the inexperienced middle relief experiment this season has not been great.

Atlanta:  Ken Ray has done relatively well compared to Chris Reitsma and Jorge Sosa, but Schuerholz can likely bring in an equal arm via trade and install him in the 9th.  Regardless, a competing Braves club will bring in a reliever, and likely, one to close.  Until that happens, look for the Braves to stay with Ray until a new reliever is acquired.  (What about Phil Stockman?  51 Ks in 37 IP between AA & AAA before his recall, DL and Low A rehab.)

Florida:  Joe Borowski has been great this year.  Every penny invested in him by the Marlins will be repaid in spades.  The Marlins are rebuilding and should not let a 35-year-old's resurgence after years of elbow issues deter them from staying the course.  At this point, I'd say Logan Kensing is the next closer, but I would not be surprised to see Randy Messenger or Taylor Tankersly get it either.  The team is likely best off with an open competition between the three.

Chicago:  Ryan Dempster has been OK minus the horrendous spell that looks to have ended around our nation's birthday.  The Cubs are done for the year and should sell into this reliever market.  Bobby Howry is being paid well in middle relief.  Why not let him become a value-priced closer and add a couple of prospects/players for Dempster?

Pittsburgh:  I only list the Pirates because my brother relayed to me something he heard Steve Phillips says on ESPN.  He said whoever lands Mike Gonzalez between the Dodgers and Giants will win the division.  I hadn't heard that, but, as a practioneer of Mosaic Theory, I have to consider it.  I'd guess Matt Capps would close, but I wouldn't be surprised to see something come out of left field - like Oliver Perez!