I had a big weekend, y'all. My favorite band, Nickel Creek, is back together now, and I sojourned down to Nashville for the concert. We had an Easter thing at the house Sunday. And I vacuumed my bedroom. No, really, I vacuumed.
Okay, basically, I took a trip to Nashville this weekend and then some other stuff. It means I got a late start on this closer-rankings column. The rankings are fine; the write-up might be sad.
Starting with an excuse! Good times.
The big closer kerfuffle from last week's piece - and my follow-up player piece Wednesday - was the situation in Oakland. Jim Johnson had lost his closer job. Luke Gregerson and Sean Doolittle (and Ryan Cook, and Danny Otero, and probably Rollie Fingers) were in the mix to replace him. I thought Gregerson was the best bet, and ranked him accordingly - though I didn't go crazy with it, having him at 22nd for the week and 30th for the rest of the season.
Over the course of the week, Gregerson got three save opportunities, blowing one. Doolittle got one chance and blew it. The A's went to extra innings approximately a billionty-six times. Johnson, relegated to middle relief, pitched really well, actually. Basically, it seemed (and seems) that the team decided to use Gregerson as the primary closer, while Doolittle became the team's leverage-against-lefties guy-if the crucial lefty opponent was hitting in the ninth, Doolittle might get the save op, but he might be used exactly the same in the seventh, tenth, or second (probably not the second).
Last week, we wondered whether Oakland - owing Johnson $10 million for the season - would really shy away from him for the long term. I argued that if Gregerson (or Doolittle or Cook or whoever) got the job in the short term came out and was lights-out for the first week, the team won't be in any big rush to change. Obviously, that didn't happen. For now, the job still isn't Johnson's. It's Gregoolitterook's. But with Johnson looking better, no one seizing the role, and the A's still winning, the jury's still out in the long-term.
Anyway, that right there was more than I expected to write. I'm tired, y'all. But what a concert. Seriously so great.
Here are the week's rankings. As a reminder, there are two sets: Rankings for the week to come, and rest-of-season ranks. We start with the group for now:
|1||Kenley Jansen||LAD||2||His BABIP is out of control; that'll settle and he'll be fine.|
|2||Craig Kimbrel||ATL||1||Long-range, I'm not scared, but the team might be gentle with him|
|3||Greg Holland||KCR||3||He's been strong, and the team has started winning.|
|4||Koji Uehara||BOS||NR||Showed basically no ill effects from his short-term injury.|
|5||Glen Perkins||MIN||4||Upcoming series against Tampa Bay, Detroit, and the Dodgers. Save opportunities might be slim.|
|6||Sergio Romo||SFG||6||Really glad I didn't buy into the spring worries.|
|7||Trevor Rosenthal||SLC||5||He's been middlingly good, but I still believe in him.|
|8||Steve Cishek||MIA||9||Seriously, don't care, he's right on the edge of upper echelon.|
|9||Rafael Soriano||WAS||8||Only allowed one hit in five innings since April 9.|
|10||Grant Balfour||TBR||11||Five strikeouts, five walks. Not a great ratio to see.|
|11||Huston Street||SDP||7||Gave up his first run of the season Friday.|
|12||Francisco Rodriguez||MIL||19||Um ... who saw this coming? Ten innings, 15 strikeouts, six baserunners. Crazy.|
|13||Joe Nathan||TEX||15||He's bounced back from his early struggles, but "dead arm" is still scary.|
|14||Jason Grilli||PIT||13||I remain unconvinced Mark Melancon doesn't take over someday.|
|15||Joakim Soria||TEX||20||It's becoming progressively clear Soria is the only closer-y closer in Texas.|
|16||Jonathan Papelbon||PHI||24||Maybe that first week was a blip; he's been good since.|
|17||Addison Reed||ARI||12||His defense hasn't been helpful; three unearned runs allowed already.|
|18||Josh Fields||HOU||18||Fields has been good, even if the team hasn't totally committed to him.|
|19||Jonathan Broxton||CIN||28||I don't mind rolling with him until Chapman comes back, though that's on its way.|
|20||Tommy Hunter||BAL||26||Been better than I expected, but it's still way too small a sample to trust him against lefties.|
|21||Matt Lindstrom||CWS||25||Another guy who has been better than I thought, but the White Sox are due to slide.|
|22||John Axford||CLE||27||Been living right on the edge the last week, but at least he got the job done.|
|23||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||29||Success so far, but two strikeouts in seven games, 6.2 innings? That's not reassuring.|
|24||Fernando Rodney||SEA||16||Rodney started Rodneying.last week; who knows how far off Danny Farquhar is?|
|25||Ernesto Frieri||LAA||23||Eleven baserunners in 7.1 innings, three homers already.|
|26||Kyle Farnsworth||NYM||NR||We all knew Jose Valverde stinks, yeah? We don't know Farnsworth does.|
|27||David Robertson||NYY||NR||Due back from the DL Tuesday, but who knows if the Yankees go right back to that well.|
|28||Shawn Kelley||NYY||17||Robertson is due back from the DL Tuesday, but who knows if the Yankees go right back to that well. (Deja vu.)|
|29||Sergio Santos||TOR||10||Man, even with the Casey Janssen worries, another outing like that disaster last week and he might be out of the job.|
|30||Pedro Strop||CHC||21||I guess Strop is the top Cubs option. Jose Veras has been indescribable. Hector Rondon and James Russell are worth watching, too.|
|7||Aroldis Chapman||CIN||9||He's coming, he's coming, he's coming ...|
|17||David Robertson||NYY||10||Will probably be higher, but part of me wonders if the team tries to keep Shawn Kelley closing.|
|19||Jason Grilli||PIT||16||Of this middle tier, he is the one with the best fill-in option if there are struggles.|
|25||LaTroy Hawkins||COL||26||Rex Brothers hasn't really been lighting it up so far.|
|29||Jim Johnson||OAK||NR||I guess he's the best long-term option on a good ballclub.|