“Baby, it's cold outside!” “Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we’ve got no place to go, let it snow!” UGH, someone please shoot me, this weather sucks! This shout-out goes to everyone that lives in the better part of the world or country where it does not snow. I unfortunately live in a place where it does in fact snow, and apparently this is the worst winter we've seen in 20 years. That is fantastic, especially when I am the type of person who hates this weather. I think that Daniel Tosh states it best when he says, “Oh, I love seasons too much.”... “Yeah, I like seasons, too. That’s why I live in a place that skips the shitty ones.” I need to follow that one simple rule someday.
Anyways, let's get to discussing some closers in cities currently blanketed by snow.
National League East
Atlanta Braves: I think this bullpen pretty much speaks for itself. Craig Kimbrel is a top-five closer on any projected rankings that you look at. If something were to happen to Kimbrel, then his obvious replacement would be Jordan Walden, most likely because of his previous closing experience. My saves sleeper tag in this pen goes to David Carpenter, who pitched extremely well for the Braves last year. Carpenter struck out 74 batters in 65.7 innings, for a K/9 of 10.14, while holding a low ERA of 1.78 and a WHIP of .99.
Washington Nationals: As of right now, a declining Rafael Soriano sits atop the depth charts as the Nationals closer. And I think there is a snowball’s chance that Soriano finishes out the season as their closer. Soriano’s fastball velocity and K/9 of 6.88 have declined over the last few years, which are warning signs of an even further decline. On a positive note, Soriano still has pretty good control over his pitches, as he only walked 17 batters in 66.7 innings last year. According to most depth charts, Tyler Clippard looks to be next in line for saves if Soriano falters. My saves sleeper in this bullpen is still Drew Storen, unless of course he gets traded, and there have been some rumors circulating that he may indeed have a new employer at some point soon.
New York Mets: Assuming that Bobby Parnell is fully recovered from his neck surgery (herniated disc) and ready by Opening Day, then he will be the Mets closer. If Parnell is not ready to go, then any of the following could get some save opportunities: Kyle Farnsworth, German Gonzalez, Jeurys Familia and Vic Black. My dark horse sleeper for the Mets is Vic Black. Keep an eye on this situation throughout Spring Training, because neck surgery is not easy to come back from.
Philadelphia Phillies: Here is another bullpen that I’m not entirely thrilled about. Jonathan Papelbon is the Phillies closer, but with his declining velocity, I’m not exactly sure how much longer he will hold that title. As his lackluster performances accumulate like the snow in the Northeast, we could be watching his snowfall-- or downfall, if you’re not following. The other options to replace him are not really that exciting but could be worth mentioning. These wonderful flurries include: Antonio Bastardo, Brad Lincoln, Mike Adams (if healthy) and possibly the ever-so-talented Phillippe Aumont.
Miami Marlins: Steve Cishek will begin the 2014 season as the Marlins closer, but will he stay frozen into this job title the entire season? I think the safe bet is that he does not, because I would expect him to be traded before the July deadline. If he loses the job or gets shipped out of town, then one of these pitchers could garner save chances: Mike Dunn, A.J. Ramos and Carter Capps. Dunn is a lefty, so I think it would come down to Ramos or Capps. Carter Capps was once dubbed the “future closer” when he played with the Seattle Mariners, which qualifies him as my dark horse sleeper.