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Fantasy Baseball: Early NL Closer Watch

To follow up on Ian's nice writeup on the AL closer picture, I will do the same for the NL. I have always been one to not spend too much on closers in auction leagues, or to draft them early in straight drafts. The closer job is highly volatile and continues to be this offseason.

Here is a rundown of the current closers in the National League compared to who the closer was on opening day 2009:

Team Apr. 2009 Dec. 2009
New York Rodriguez Rodriguez
Philadelphia Lidge Lidge
Florida Lidstrom Nunez
Atlanta Gonzalez Wagner
Washington Hanrahan Capps
Chicago Gregg Marmol
Milwaukee Hoffman Hoffman
Houston Valverde Lyon/Lidstrom
St. Louis Motte Franklin
Pittsburgh Capps Dotel??
Cincinnatti Cordero Cordero
Arizona Qualls Qualls
Los Angeles Broxton Broxton
Colorado Corpas Street
San Diego Bell Bell
San Francisco Wilson Wilson

I have italicized a few of the closers since we do not know who the closer will be or, in the case of Octavio Dotel and Matt Capps, they have been rumored to be signing with the Pirates and Nationals respectively. Of the list above, there are only a few guys I would want to spend money on: Brian Wilson, Jonathon Broxton, Heath Bell and Billy Wagner. Most of the other closers have either lost the closers job elsewhere, in the case of Huston Street, Carlos Marmol, Brandon Lyon, and Brad Lidge, or are coming off an injury (Qualls).

I also am not confident in drafting or spending money on the Mets Francisco Rodriguez. He may have had his worst year as a closer in 2009. K-Rod is fast losing the reason for his nickname....strikeouts. He had his worst strikeout total-73, K/9 -9.66, BB/9-5.03 and HR/9-0.93 since 2003. His K/9 and K/BB have been steadily dropping since 2004. He blew 7 save opportunities in 2009 to go with his 35 saves. I would not be at all shocked that he is injured, or gets injured in 2010.