February 24, 2020
Chicago White Sox – The White Sox bring back closer Alex Colome and set-up man Aaron Bummer, who are both coming off great seasons in 2019. They also signed veteran Steve Cishek and he should join Colome and Bummer at the back end of the White Sox bullpen. Kelvin Herrera and Jace Fry are a couple of guys who will be looking to bounce back in 2020 after struggling in 2019.
Starting 2020 hierarchy: Colome | Bummer | Cishek.
Holds candidates: Bummer, Cishek, Jace Fry.
Cleveland Indians – Brad Hand is the unquestioned closer for the Indians to start 2020 and they will look to keep him strong for the entire season after they had to shut him down in September last year. Behind Hand, the Indians have a mix of veterans and some very exciting young arms. Nick Wittgren and specialists Oliver Perez and Adam Cimber are back, and it will be interesting to see how the Indians use Perez and Cimber with the new three batter rule. Flamethrowers James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase, the centerpiece of the Corey Kluber trade, are the two most interesting relievers behind Hand. Francona typically likes to rely on veterans, so we will put Wittgren as the set-up man to start the season and slot Karinchak second in line, but if Karinchak can harness his nasty stuff, he could give the Indians a great 1-2 punch with Hand at the back end of the bullpen.
Starting 2020 hierarchy: Hand | Wittgren | Karinchak.
Holds candidates: Wittgren, Karinchak, Adam Cimber, Oliver Perez.
Detroit Tigers — Joe Jimenez struggled out of the gate last season but settled in pretty nicely to the closer’s role after Shane Greene was dealt mid-season. Jimenez will return to the ninth in 2020, and Buck Farmer and Jose Cisnero, who were working the seventh and eighth ahead of Jimenez to finish 2019, should round out the back end of the Tigers’ bullpen. Gregory Soto is a name to keep an eye on as he has impressed with his upper-90s fastball so far in spring training.
Starting 2020 hierarchy: Jimenez | Farmer | Cisnero.
Holds candidates: Farmer, Cisnero, Gregory Soto.
Kansas City Royals — Ian Kennedy saved 30 games for the Royals last season and will return as the closer to start the 2020 season. Scott Barlow pitched very well as Kennedy’s set-up man at the end of the season, posting an ERA of about 2.00 over the last two months of the season. The Royals also signed a familiar face in free agency, bringing back former closer Greg Holland. Lefty Tim Hill could see some time in the later innings and it looks like Glenn Sparkman may be moved to the bullpen.
Starting 2020 hierarchy: Kennedy | Barlow | Holland.
Holds candidates: Barlow, Holland, Tim Hill.
Minnesota Twins — Taylor Rogers was incredible for the Twins last season, recording 30 saves and 90 strikeouts in 69 innings. He will start 2020 as the closer and the Twins have a very deep bullpen behind him. They brought back Sergio Romo and added veteran Tyler Clippard. Tyler Duffey and Trevor May also return and all four guys could see time in the seventh and eighth innings ahead of Rogers.
Starting 2020 hierarchy: Rogers | Romo | Clippard.
Holds candidates: Romo, Clippard, Tyler Duffey, Trevor May.