Today let’s take a look at the possible closers in the American League West. As of right now I do not see any sleepers or dark horse sleepers in these pens. This can change over the course of the season and it will most likely happen but for now it’s just a waiting game. Stay tuned throughout the season as these bullpens unravel and other possible pitchers make a name for themselves. It is very possible that some of these relievers give up a lot of high fly balls, na mean?
Closer City AL West: Yeoman's Work
On December 2nd the Athletics acquired Jim Johnson from the Orioles in exchange for Jemile Weeks. This is obviously a better trade for Oakland than Baltimore because they get an established closer for a backup infielder. Jim Johnson stays in the closers role but with a different team and I am sure that he has a very long leash. Oakland has a tremendous bullpen and plenty of viable candidates if Johnson flounders. These in-house options are Luke Gregerson, Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle or do just enough.
Taking a look at the depth charts, Neftali Feliz sits atop of the list as the closer. Ron Washington has not appointed a closer so the competition will most likely be between Feliz and Joakim Soria. Soria has more closing experience and was an elite closer before suffering his second career Tommy John injury. We all know that when pitchers are coming back and recovering from Tommy John surgery they usually have control issues. I would lean towards Feliz beginning the year and ending the season as the Rangers closer. If he were to get injured or pitch ineffectively than Joakim Soria and Tanner Scheppers would step in as his replacement.
Los Angeles Angels
I think that this bullpen is pretty simple to analyze. Ernesto Frieri is the closer and could be an elite closer if he can get his control issues fixed a bit. But until then he is just your average closer. He really does not have any competition but if for some reason he loses his job then Joe Smith and Dane De La Rosa could step in.
Here is yet another uninteresting pen. The Mariners may be looking into signing Fernando Rodney but I would prefer that they stick with Danny Farquhar. Rodney is at times erratic and walks to many batters. He really only has had one successful year so I highly doubt that he has changed as a pitcher from that one good season. If the Rodney signing does not transpire and Farquhar fails at closing then Tom Wilhelmsen or Yoervis Medina could pick up the pieces and man the 9th.
Another year of the Astros manning last place and yet another year of the Houston Astros Pig Pen. Do they even have a closer? I suppose Jesse Crain is the closer on this team, though honestly I really don’t know and this one will be hard to follow and speculate. Jesse Crain is listed as the closer but any of these other pitchers could garner saves: Chia-Jen Lo, Josh Fields, Joshua Zeid and maybe Chad Qualls. Your guess is as good as mine, luck to ya!