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Closer Rankings: Who for now? Who for later?

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Jim McIsaac

So I had a thought while working up this week's rankings. I had lots of thoughts, in fact. People on The Amazing Race can be alarmingly dumb. I need new pants. What should I give my dad for his birthday?

But I had one germane thought while working up this week's rankings: What are they for? If my rankings are for the rest of the season, including guys like Jonathan Broxton and Shawn Kelley - whose jobs have expiration dates - is silly. Are they for right now? Then why include injured guys like David Robertson or Aroldis Chapman? For the last couple weeks, I've tried to sort of meld the two, resulting in rankings like Chapman 10th, Broxton 30th.

Despite the fact that there are 30 teams and 30 spots in the rankings, Jose Valverde went unranked last week. I mean, I make no apologies for that, as Valverde is terrible and bad and not good and all that, but still, it seemed weird.

Anyway, this week I endeavor to solve these issues - with two rankings. First will be the right-now rankings, which gives the Kelleys and Broxtons their moment at glory. Guys on the first list might not keep their jobs all season, or they might be banged up for now, so the list will look nothing like it might come, say, July. On the flip side, the second list keeps in mind that Robertson will be back soon, that Koji Uehara looks like he might not hit the DL, etc.

Right-Now Rankings

Rank Player Team Thoughts
1 Craig Kimbrel ATL Twelve strikeouts in 5.2 innings, 5 saves in 5 chances. He's not bad at all.
2 Kenley Jansen LAD Has already pitched nine times in 13 games; maybe keep that in check, Dodgers?
3 Greg Holland KCR The Royals have a favorable schedule coming up (@ HOU, vs. MIN this week).
4 Glen Perkins MIN Three straight scoreless outings after a rough first week.
5 Trevor Rosenthal SLC Another week of struggles and diminished velocity and I might start to worry.
6 Sergio Romo SFG He's looked crazy good so far.
7 Huston Street SDP No problems so far, but you'd like your closer to strike more guys out.
8 Rafael Soriano WAS No runs, eight strikeouts in four innings so far. Looks strong.
9 Steve Cishek MIA The only thing keeping him from the upper echelon is a middling team around him, but it's getting better.
10 Sergio Santos TBJ When Casey Janssen returns, he might lose time, but for now he's safe.
11 Grant Balfour TBR He's "granted" "balfour" too much so far, but otherwise has been strong.
12 Addison Reed ARI If the Diamondbacks continue to struggle like they have, I could see him changing teams again.
13 Jason Grilli PIT Already four walks in five innings, but otherwise looks good.
14 Edward Mujica BOS Uehara banged up; they aren't going to rush him.
15 Joe Nathan DET Yeah, "dead arm" isn't scary at allllll.
16 Fernando Rodney SEA I don't know, man; he's been crazy good so far, but isn't he terrifying?
17 Shawn Kelley NYY Excellent last name, short-term job.
18 Josh Fields HOU I'm not worried about his job -- yet -- despite a blowup Thursday.
19 Francisco Rodriguez MIL Somehow looking like the K-Rod of old. Didn't see that coming.
20 Joakim Soria TEX Hasn't inspired a lot of confidence so far.
21 Pedro Strop CHC As awful as Jose Veras has been, Strop hasn't exactly been lights-out.
22 Luke Gregerson OAK The team is by-committee right now. Gregerson, Jim Johnson, Sean Doolittle...
23 Ernesto Frieri LAA I thought Dane De La Rosa might challenge him, but dude looked bad in his return.
24 Jonathan Papelbon PHI Has looked way better outside of that one Rangers game.
25 Matt Lindstrom CWS Jonah Keri on Twitter yesterday: "When Matt Lindstrom is your closer...that means Matt Lindstrom is your closer." Ringing endorsement.
26 Tommy Hunter BAL Buck Showalter seems fully on board with Hunter in the role.
27 John Axford CLE Blew his first save Sunday; he should have a fair amount of rope.
28 Jonathan Broxton CIN He's only pitched once so far, so it's tough to really judge how he looks.
29 LaTroy Hawkins COL I have literally no opinion to offer about Mr. Hawkins.
30 Jose Valverde NYM Yeah, he's not so good, but the team doesn't really have anyone who is good.

Rest-Of-Season Rankings

(Since I talked about a lot of these guys already, what say I don't offer thoughts about every single one here?)

Rank Team Player Thoughts
1 Craig Kimbrel ATL
2 Kenley Jansen LAD
3 Greg Holland KCR
4 Glen Perkins MIN
5 Koji Uehara BOS I'm not worried about him long-term, but they'll take it easy on him for now.
6 Trevor Rosenthal SLC
7 Sergio Romo SFG
8 Huston Street SDP
9 Aroldis Chapman CIN Another week is another week closer to his return.
10 David Robertson NYY Could be back as soon as late this week.
11 Rafael Soriano WAS
12 Steve Cishek MIA
13 Grant Balfour TBR
14 Addison Reed ARI
15 Joe Nathan DET
16 Jason Grilli PIT I thought Mark Melancon might take his job eventually, but Grilli looks strong so far.
17 Josh Fields HOU
18 Joakim Soria TEX
19 Francisco Rodriguez MIL
20 Fernando Rodney SEA
21 John Axford CLE
22 Tommy Hunter BAL
23 Matt Lindstrom CWS
24 Jonathan Papelbon PHI
25 Sergio Santos TOR The threat of Janssen stealing his job makes Santos less secure.
26 LaTroy Hawkins COL
27 Ernesto Frieri LAA
28 Jonathan Broxton CIN
29 Pedro Strop CHC Strop and ...
30 Luke Gregerson OAK ... Gregerson seem the strongest candidates for not-holding-their-jobness.