The Island Of Misfit Closers

December 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Posted in 2014 | Leave a comment
Just. You. Wait. (via)

Just. You. Wait. (via)

We all know the Dodgers need another reliever and possibly two or three. Maybe that’s Jamey Wright. At least one of those figures to be a lefty, and it seems likely that J.P. Howell is holding things up there, because he’d be a nice fit. (Why have we heard nothing about Oliver Perez? He’d be fun.)

There’s so many free agent relievers out there that it’s somewhat difficult to profile them all, but maybe we can narrow things down a little further based on this quote from Mark Saxon today:

The other figures to be a higher-profile move as the Dodgers have their sights set on landing another pitcher with closing experience.

With the usual caveat of “just because they want someone doesn’t mean they’ll get him,” who fits that description? Using the FanGraphs free agent leaderboards, we can see who is out there that has “closing experience”. It’s almost certainly going to be a righty, because over the last three years, only Scott Downs has even 10 saves total among lefties, and he’s hardly “high profile” these days.

Among righties, there’s 19 different guys with at least 10 saves over the last three years… sort of. Joe Nathan, LaTroy Hawkins, and Edward Mujica have already signed, and Mariano Rivera clearly isn’t an option. Ryan Madson, Rafael Betancourt, Andrew Bailey (not included) and Joel Hanrahan aren’t healthy. Jose Valverde‘s career is probably over. We’ve been down the Carlos Marmol path already. Casey Janssen seems to be mistakenly included on that list, probably because his option hadn’t been technically picked up when it was generated, but we can replace him with Chris Perez, who was released afterwards (John Axford, too). Jon Rauch, Brett Myers, Frank Francisco, and Kyle Farnsworth don’t seem to fit the criteria.

That’s 13 guys gone, so we’re left with 7, with the obvious point being that list may not be 100% complete:

John Axford
Fernando Rodney
Grant Balfour
Chris Perez
Kevin Gregg
Joaquin Benoit
Jose Veras

Balfour, Benoit, and Rodney have been the hottest names today. Three teams reportedly have offers out to Balfour, with only Baltimore known, and while there’s been no link between him and the Dodgers, maybe it’s not the worst idea in the world to replace Peter Moylan with another Australian for the trip down under. Benoit sounds like he’s headed to Cleveland or San Diego; Rodney is reportedly holding out for $10m annually. I wonder if Gregg left camp last year with a bad taste in his mouth, so who knows about that. The declining Perez terrifies me in every way, while Axford is much more appealing.

There’s also the possibility that the target is a trade acquisition who we’re not thinking about, like a Steve Cishek or Glen Perkins, though that seems less likely. But from what we know today, it certainly seems like one of these guys is going to be a Dodger next year. Unsurprisingly, that’s more scary than exciting. Saves!

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