There are a number of tenuous bullpen situations this spring, but entering the last two weeks of camp none is more unsettled than the closer order in Texas. For the record, I have CJ Wilson projected for 7 saves, Eddie Guardado with 14, Joaquin Benoit with 10 and Kazuo Fukumori with 3. This is major ass covering that probably makes things seem more clear cut than they are. Let’s see how the other see it.
Yahoo.com says Wilson, Benoit, Guardado, Fukumori.
MLB.com has Guardado and Wilson as co-closers, backed up by Benoit. Fukumori ranks down their list.
Rototimes.com has Guardado and Wilson as co-closers, with Benoit and Frank Francisco as setup guys. Fukumori isn’t listed.
Rotoworld.com has them listed Wilson, Fukumori, Benoit, Guardado.
SandlotShrink.com has Wilson listed as the closer, and Guardado, Benoit and Fukumori as the setup guys.
BaseballHQ.com gives Wilson 70 percent of the saves, Guardado and Benoit 10 percent each and Fukumori five percent. The remaining five percent is out there, waiting.
Rotowire.com reports that CJ Wilson, who has been hurting this spring, is healthy, while Eddie Guardado’s bum knee didn’t help him make his case to be closer when Wilson was down. Still, they’re listed as co-closers. Benoit is the setup guy, though he’s been hurt this spring, too, with Fukumori behind him.
Sportsline.com has them listed as Wilson, Benoit, Guardado, and Fukumori.
All of which tells us that Wilson is probably the closer if his arm is okay (he was hurting with biceps tendinitis), and it’s anyone’s guess who will take his place if he can’t go (or if he fails, which I think his walk rate last year suggests could happen).
Guardado’s numbers last year don’t look so hot, but most of the damage came around his DL time. He finished strong and while that earn him a ringing endorsement because of his age and the wear and tear he’s endured, he’s got more potential than you might think. I like Benoit but he’s not going to move ahead of the other two unless they go down. And Fukumori is the wild card. A successful closer in Japan, he’s got the head for the job.
The mistake here wouldn’t be taking any few of these guys, but paying more for them combined than you would for the Texas closer. If it looks like Wilson’s the one he’s likely to go for closer money. Backing him up with the other guys, who will all have value in 4×4 leagues, will probably each cost you a little premium because of the chance that they’ll end up in the closer’s seat. And you’ll end up paying too much for the Texas closer and some setup guys.
But for cheap? Get on ’em all. You just might win the lottery.