Closers for Rangers, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, and Angels still unsettled

March 22, 2018

Texas Rangers — One week from Opening Day, the Rangers’ closer situation still hasn’t really cleared up. With Jeff Banister eager to deploy Alex Claudio and Matt Bush (who lost his chance at the rotation after three poor starts) in high-leverage situations before the ninth, it sounds more and more like Texas won’t commit to a single closer — at least until (and unless) Tim Lincecum is ready to go. Keone Kela passed a big test with successful back-to-back outings this week, and he says he’s ready for the season to start. We’ll throw an asterisk on here (for now) to account for Banister’s lack of commitment, with Kela still our choice over Jake Diekman and the rest.

Updated hierarchy: *Kela | Diekman | Claudio.
* = closer-by-committee

Arizona Diamondbacks — The closer competition in Arizona seems to be down to two men: Archie Bradley and Brad Boxberger. While at least one beat writer is leaning toward Box, Torey Lovullo has had kind words for all his relievers, and no one seems particularly concerned about his role going forward. We’ll flip Boxberger and Bradley at the head of the committee to reflect our current feeling about which way the race is going to go, but watch for an official announcement before too long.

Updated hierarchy: *Boxberger | Bradley | Hirano.
* = closer-by-committee

St. Louis Cardinals — Nothing official out of St. Louis, but there’s still a feeling among writers that Luke Gregerson, back from his injured oblique, will get the first shot at closing ahead of Dominic Leone, Bud Norris, Tyler Lyons, and Sam Tuivailala. Between injuries and competition, even if Gregerson gets the nod, we don’t expect him to keep the job for long.

Hierarchy remains: *Gregerson | Leone | Norris.
* = closer-by-committee

Los Angeles Angels — We’re still roughly in the same place with LA too: Blake Parker continues to have a rough spring, leading to (unsourced) speculation about Cam Bedrosian taking the closer job. The only difference is that now Bedrosian is giving up runs too — three in his last two outings. No changes yet.

Hierarchy remains: *Parker | Bedrosian | Middleton. 
* = closer-by-committee