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Get yourself enough rest over the All Star break? Refreshed and ready? Good. You’re going to need to be at your best right now as the second half of the season gets underway. Forget about which horses got you to where you are right now; it’s now about which horses are going to get you to the finish line. It’s about looking forward and figuring out what your team needs and seeing which guys you should hold over from the first half and which ones have run their course and are likely to be dead weight moving forward. If saves and ratio stabilization are your needs, it’s time to be sensible and make a move for some top closers.
There’s no need to perpetuate the debate over the value of closers. Those of you who failed to invest in high-end guys have been chasing saves all year long and even those of you who thought you were investing wisely in some of the middle-tiered guys have found yourselves in trouble. But the fact remains that only two of my personal top-10, Joe Nathan and Sergio Romo, have been relative busts. But Nathan never lost his job and while Romo did, it wasn’t until mid-to-late-June, so you were able to avoid blowing your FAAB budget on situations that were never looking good from the start.
But, honestly, we’re not here for “I told you so’s.” We’re here to talk about who you want for your second half run. So with that, I’ve created a set of rankings to use for the second half. I’ve broken the rankings up into four different tiers which should help when you’re dealing with trade negotiations over the next few weeks as tiers seem to make it a little easier with so many names being thrown about.
There are three main criteria I use when ranking – past performance, expected performance and job security. The first two are obvious; numbers are numbers. The third gets a little tricky as job security right now not only includes the level of trust their manager has in them, but also how their value will be affected should their team be involved in a trade for another reliever. For example, Tier 1 is the no-brainers. They will be closing the rest of the season and even if by some random chance their team is involved in a trade, they will still be the closer whether it’s for their old or potentially new team. That level of job security diminishes as you move down the rankings until finally, Tier 4 is filled with guys who are not closers but could be closing should they or their team be involved in a deal.
Clear as mud? Great. Let’s get to it. And if you’ve got some questions, thoughts or comments, let’s have at ‘em!