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Who Is Closing Out The Game?

With the MLB season quickly approaching, there will be a lot to be determined in Spring Training for many teams. Let's take a look at some teams with a question mark for the 9th inning and who could be in the mix to close out games for those teams.

Dodgers Lose Kenley Jansen for 8-12 Weeks

We'll start with the New York Yankees. Mariano Rivera is gone and so is David Robertson, the man who took over for the Yankee legend. Dellin Betances has filthy stuff and you would have to imagine is the leading man for the 9th inning, however the Yankees signed hard throwing lefty Andrew Miller to a 4-year $36 million deal. Betances meant so much to the Yankees bullpen last season giving them multiple innings late in the game. Putting him in the closer role will limit him to the 9th inning and put pressure on the rest of the teams bullpen. If and when Betances is given the job, he will immediately become a top 5 closer in the league due to his strikeout rate - 135 strikeouts in 90 innings.

Staying in New York, whose closing for the Mets? Last year they went through a number of closers, including Bobby Parnell, Jose Velverde, Kyle Farnsworth, and Jenrry Mejia. Parnell is coming back from Tommy John surgery and will likely start the season on the DL. I believe Mejia will start the season as the teams closer, but don't count out Vic Black and Jeurys Familia getting their chances as well. By the all-star break I would think that Parnell will be the closer with Mejia, Black and Familia handling the middle innings.

The Houston Astros were busy this off season signing Luke Gregerson and Pat Neshek - two guys who are capable of closing. Houston already has Josh Fields and Chad Qualls who both served as the Astros closer at some point last season. Gregerson has been a candidate to become a closer over the past few years but has never recorded 10 saves in a season. Could this be the year? Stay tuned!

Jake McGee was the man in Tampa last season, saving 19 games for the Rays, while posting a 1.89 ERA, but had elbow surgery and likely won't be available to pitch until May. Could the Rays let Brad Boxberger handle the closing duties until McGee is ready to return? Boxberger had 104 strikeouts in 64.2 innings last season with a 0.84 WHIP. That sounds like a successful closer. But could the Rays turn to newly acquired Kevin Jepsen instead?

Let's not forget that Rafael Soriano, Casey Janssen, and Fransico Rodriguez are still free agents and they can be signed to close for any team looking for a closer.

Be careful when drafting a closer. If you're not drafting one of the top guys like Craig Kimbrel, Kenley Jansen, Greg Holland or Aroldis Chapman than your "closer" could turn into a middle inning guy by the all-star break.