Maybe it is just because I am actually writing about it on a weekly basis, but it seems like there's been a lot more movement in the closer ranks already this season. The numbers in parenthesis are the games scheduled this week.
You Can Count Your Saves Now. They're Going to Be There.
Yankees - Mariano Rivera (5)
Royals - Joakim Soria (7) - Soria has been struggling a bit of late, and Jeremy Jeffress recorded a save during the week as well. Soria's got the job unless he ends up hurt, but Jeffress appears to be the player you want to back him up.
Rangers - Neftali Feliz (6)
Giants - Brian Wilson (6) - Wilson led the league this week with 4 saves. He's looking fine, and should be considered a lock again.
Padres - Heath Bell (7) - Bell hasn't been getting a ton of opportunities yet, but his other numbers are still excellent. I wouldn't worry about it yet.
Indians - Chris Perez (7)
These Guys Are Practically Money, but Something's Not Quite Right
Cubs - Carlos Marmol (6)
Rockies - Huston Street (6) - Street allowed 2 earned runs in his 4 appearances last week, but still struck out 4 batters and recorded 3 saves and a hold. If he can stay healthy, he could end up with 40+ saves this year.
Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon (7) - Papelbon had a good week (3 IP, 3 K, 1 SV), and could be moved up to the next group with another good week.
Dodgers - Jonathan Broxton (7) - Broxton still appears to have the job, especially with Hong-Chih Kuo going on the disabled list this week with a "lower-back strain". Since they haven't won since Monday (as of Sunday afternoon anyway), we'll have to watch him for the next chance.
Tigers - Jose Valverde (6)
Brewers - John Axford (6)
Diamondbacks - J.J. Putz (6)
There's A Lot to Like Here, but You're Playing with Fire
Mets - Francisco Rodriguez (6)
Reds - Francisco Cordero (7)
Phillies - Jose Contreras (7) - Contreras has pitched well of late, and has a pretty good lock on the job at this point.
They Don't Have a Vice Grip on the Job, but There's a Lot of Upside Here
Blue Jays - Jon Rauch (6) - At some point, Frank Francisco is going to be coming back from the disabled list. But Rauch pitched well last week (1 save, 2.1 IP, 2 K, 1 BB), and may not automatically lose the job when Francisco comes back.
Pirates - Joel Hanrahan (7)
Saves are Coming, but Just Don't Expect Anything Else of Value
Cardinals - Ryan Franklin (6) - No close games this week one way or the other, so it's hard to judge if Franklin is still the choice. Miguel Batista is among the people in the bullpen who could see save chances, but it could just as easily be somebody else.
Astros - Brandon Lyon (6)
He's Going to Get Saves This Week, But He May Not Next Week
Athletics - Brian Fuentes (6) - Fuentes blew another save on Friday night, but Andrew Bailey currently has no timetable to return. You knew there were going to be some ugly outings with Fuentes, but he has had 3 saves in the past week
White Sox - Matt Thornton / Chris Sale / Sergio Santos / Anybody? (7) - Someone is going to get a save opportunity when the White Sox have one next. But since the only one of this group who has been pitching well has been Santos, he could be given a shot next time out.
Mariners - Brandon League (7) - David Aardsma is going to throw on Tuesday as a part of a rehab assignment. As a result, League has a very good chance to be taken out of the closers' role when Aardsma is back. If you have to have the roster spot when that happens, you could drop League. But it seems likely that he could be right back in the role if the Mariners can successfully trade Aardsma once he's shown he is healthy.
Angels - Jordan Walden (7)
Nationals - Sean Burnett (6)
Rays - Kyle Farnsworth (7) - Farnsworth got 2 saves this week, and looks like the main choice for Joe Maddon.
Orioles - Kevin Gregg / Koji Uehara (7) - When your team doesn't win a single game all week, it's hard to get a save opportunity. Hopefully you're not relying on Gregg as one of your top 2 closers.