"GAME OVER" GUYS
Baltimore – B.J. Ryan; Boston – Keith Foulke; Chicago – Dustin Hermanson; Detroit – Ugueth Urbina; Minnesota – Joe Nathan; New York – Mariano Rivera; Seattle – Eddie Guardado; Tampa Bay – Danys Baez; Texas – Francisco Cordero; Toronto – Miguel Batista.
Florida – Todd Jones; Houston – Brad Lidge; Los Angeles – Eric Gagne; Milwaukee – Derrick Turnbow; New York – Braden Looper; Philadelphia – Billy Wagner; Pittsburgh – Jose Mesa; St. Louis – Jason Isringhausen; San Diego – Trevor Hoffman; Washington – Chad Cordero.
THE SECOND TIER
Cleveland – Bob Wickman…Back spasms gave the Tribe's primary closer trouble over the weekend, forcing Bob Howry into late-inning duty Saturday night. Howry figures to step into the role, should the injury-prone Wickman be sidelined for an extended period of time.
Oakland – Huston Street…With Octavio Dotel (elbow) on the DL, the young Street has been thrust into the role. His numbers are nice, but the A's never win. Still, Street's a viable option if you're desperate for saves.
Chicago – Ryan Dempster…The shipping of LaTroy Hawkins to San Francisco all but put the stamp on Dempster remaining as the Cubbies' stopper. Joe Borowski has returned from the DL, and could be eased back into the role. But as long as Dempster keeps closing games, the job should remain his to lose.
Colorado – Brian Fuentes…Regular closer Chin-hui Tsao (shoulder) is out indefinitely. Fuentes has been decent; he just doesn't get the opportunities with the woeful Rockies.
Los Angeles – Scot Shields…He's been great since filling in for the injured Francisco Rodriguez. But be prepared for the ride to end this week, as K-Rod is expected to be activated from the DL on Wednesday.
Arizona – Brian Bruney…Although he's managed to record four saves in his last five appearances, Bruney has been shaky, forcing manager Bob Melvin to consider other options. Jose Valverde has previous late-inning experience, but his last two outings didn't do much to gain his manager's confidence. The rest of the D'backs bullpen has been brutal of late.
Atlanta – Dan Kolb, Chris Reitsma…It appears that Bobby Cox is at somewhat of a loss on how to handle a committee approach. One day, Kolb is demoted to middle relief, the next day he's closing again. But he still struggled in that outing. Then Reitsma gets a two-inning save. This is a tough read, and unless you've got the room on your roster, it's probably best to stay away.
Cincinnati – Ryan Wagner, Dave Weathers…With the sudden release of Danny Graves, the young Wagner seemed like a natural to slide into the role for which he was being groomed. But Wagner entered a couple of games last week prior to the ninth inning and the Reds have indicated that they'll be going with a committee. Stay tuned.
San Francisco – Tyler Walker…What started out as a closing bonanza for owners who had the foresight to grab Walker is quickly turning into fool's gold. After Walker knocked down saves on three consecutive days, manager Felipe Alou inexplicably brought his newly-discovered closer into three straight, dreaded non-save situations, during which Walker predictably imploded. And with the recent acquisition of LaTroy Hawkins from the Cubs, it's anyone's guess as to what the shell-shocked Walker's role will be from here on out.
Kansas City – Mike MacDougal, Mike Wood, Ambiorix Burgos…The Royals have only 13 wins on the season, and four saves for the month of May. None of these guys are worth reserving a roster spot for, unless you're trying to squeak out the saves category at the end of a head-to-head week. In that case, MacDougal is likely your best bet.