Now, we're getting somewhere.
The two managers most committed to the closer committee, Gabe Kapler of the Giants and Kevin Cash of the Rays, have yet to stray from Jake McGee and Diego Castillo, respectively, making them unexpectedly two of the most stable closer scenarios. Likewise, things appear pretty stable for the Cardinals, Rangers and Orioles, where Alex Reyes, Ian Kennedy and Cesar Valdez have stepped into the lead role.
But there are still 10 closer scenarios that have made for some consternation lately. Granted, even most of them have a clear enough front-runner, but they're worth breaking down just so you're aware of where things stand.
Note: "Pecking order" refers to rosterability in Fantasy and not necessarily who's first in line for saves (though it's usually one and the same).
So it looks like Emmanuel Clase is the guy. He recorded two saves over the weekend, and for the second of those opportunities, James Karinchak and Nick Wittgren set up for him. He's not the bat-misser Karinchak is (because who is?), but he throws 100 mph with movement and should be well-suited for the role. Then again, he entered a tie game Monday and promptly took the loss, so we'll find out next time just how committed manager Terry Francona is to him.
Left-hander Jake Diekman was presumed to be the closer before the Athletics signed Trevor Rosenthal, which made him the likely choice to claim the role when Rosenthal was lost to thoracic outlet syndrome. But manager Bob Melvin had this to say about right-hander Lou Trivino: "If we can move it forward with Lou, maybe he gives us an option to close as well and/or pitch the eighth inning depending on matchups." Sounds like he'll switch off between the two, right? Maybe, but Diekman worked the eighth inning with a four-run lead Monday and Trivino the ninth. They should be rostered about equally.
Left-hander Amir Garrett converted his last save chance Friday and was well rested when the next one came up Monday, but in came Lucas Sims instead. It was an unusual situation, though. Long man Tejay Antone ran into trouble trying to finish off a four-inning save, and Sims happened to be the one to come in for the final out. Still, Garrett has struggled through three appearances, allowing five runs and walking four, while Sims has thrived. Whenever a manager sees someone get the job done, it opens his mind to new possibilities.
Corey Knebel surprised the Fantasy Baseball world by becoming the first Dodgers reliever to two saves Friday, striking out the side to preserve a one-run lead. Manager Dave Roberts said it was because he didn't want to bring in Kenley Jansen for the third time in four days. Jansen has been vulnerable the past few years, though, particularly in the playoffs, and Knebel was a lights-out closer prior to Tommy John surgery in 2019. Jansen came back for a save Sunday, with Knebel working the seventh, so all appears stable for now. But it could change quickly.
Anthony Bass crumbled in his first two appearances as Marlins closer, which necessitated the move to Yimi Garcia (who has been the superior pitcher anyway). The former Dodgers setup man recorded his first save with ease Saturday and then picked up a win with a scoreless inning and a third in a tie game Monday. The Marlins aren't exactly flush with alternatives -- Dylan Floro, another former Dodger, would perhaps get the next shot -- but Garcia should have this.
The Twins have consistently used Alex Colome like they would a closer, subverting expectations of a timeshare with Taylor Rogers, but Colome had a bad blown save Sunday (his second in four chances), which might be giving them second thoughts. Though he's been a stable enough closer over the years, his pitch-to-contact approach makes him susceptible to meltdowns. Rogers would presumably be next in line, but if the Twins prefer to keep the left-hander flexible, they might instead try Hansel Robles, himself a former closer who's off to a great start.
With Joakim Soria sidelined by a strained calf and Chris Devenski on the restricted list for a personal matter, the Diamondbacks may have nowhere else to turn but Stefan Crichton, who handled the role well enough for them last September. He doesn't fit the closer profile, lacking elite velocity and swing-and-miss stuff, but again, they already saw him go 5-for-5 in the role after turning it over to him. The familiar choice would be the most logical one in this instance, and it's worth noting he did work the ninth inning of a tie game Friday, much like a closer would.
This one is in a holding pattern given that the Blue Jays haven't had a save chance since April 4, but so far, we have yet to see Jordan Romano take the mound in a save situation while Julian Merryweather has done so twice. In fact, in all three games the two have pitched, Merryweather has followed Romano. You could argue Romano was working the higher-leverage situation in each instance, and maybe manager Charlie Montoyo will flip them when the situation calls for it. But managers fall into routines, and Merryweather has made it look so easy so far.
I had a hunch recently that Jose Cisnero might get the next shot for the Tigers given that Gregory Soto and Bryan Garcia weren't being handled like closers, but Cisnero has looked shaky in back-to-back appearances since then. Soto, meanwhile, appears to have stabilized after nearly blowing a save on opening day, striking out seven while allowing two hits in 4 2/3 innings since then. Because he's a left-hander, manager A.J. Hinch may be reluctant to use Soto in the ninth inning exclusively, but he still looks like the best bet for saves on this team.
Honestly, who knows? Manager Mike Matheny has been all over the place with his bullpen so far, preventing any usage patterns from emerging. Because Greg Holland worked the ninth inning in a tie game Sunday, I'm inclined to say he's still the front-runner, but he also worked the eighth in that contest. The team's only saves so far have gone to Wade Davis, Jesse Hahn and Kyle Zimmer. Zimmer's came after the Royals took the lead in that extra-inning contest Sunday, and again, when a manager sees someone get the job done, it opens his mind to new possibilities. Still, I'm not counting on this situation stabilizing anytime soon.