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Article:Team by Team Fantasy Closer Report--American League

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Chance of losing job scale is 1-5 with 1 being almost impossible, to 5 being just keeping the seat warm.

AL East

Boston Red SoxJonathan Papelbon —One of the top closers in baseball, seems to have gotten past his arm issues of previous years. Strikes out batters at a crazy rate.
Chance of losing his job: 1
Next in line: Hideki Okajima

New York YankeesMariano Rivera —Quite possibly the best closer of all times. Mo has be breaking bats and making people look silly for better than a decade. He’s starting to get hit more, but this job is his until he is ready to walk away.
Chance of losing his job: 1
Next in line: Joba Chamberlain

Toronto Blue JaysB.J. Ryan —Ryan had Tommy John surgery in May and is doing all he can to break camp with the team as their closer. Chances are the Jays will be cautious with him at first (and who can blame them with that monster contract they gave him!), but within a month I would expect him to be ready.
Chance of losing his job: 2
Next in line: Jeremy Accardo

Baltimore Orioles—unsettledJamie Walker finished the year out as closer last season after Chris Ray and Danys Baez both went down with injuries. There is no guarantee that Walker will remain closer. In fact, manager Dave Trembley has said that he wants newly acquired George Sherrill to be the closer. Keep an eye on this situation, not that the O’s figure on generating too many saves. Chance of losing his job:
Next in line: George Sherrill/Jamie Walker

Tampa Bay RaysTroy Percival —Percival fared better than anyone expected in his comeback with St. Louis last year, and earned himself a closer’s role in Tampa. Once one of the feared stoppers in the league, Percival shouldn’t have too long a leash with the Rays. Between his age, and the fact that Al Reyes was fairly effective last year, there’s a decent chance Percival might not make it through the season.
Chance of losing his job: 4
Next in line: Al Reyes

AL Central

Detroit TigersTodd Jones —Jones likes to make it interesting when he comes in the game. He will not give you nine straight strikes to retire three hitters in a row. He’ll put a few guys on, he often gives up a run, but he usually collects the save. He’s averaged 38 saves for the last three years, but he’s got some guys behind him chomping at the bit.
Chance of losing his job: 2
Next in line: Fernando Rodney, Joel Zumaya (when healthy)

Cleveland IndiansJoe Borowski —Borowski is basically a carbon copy of Todd Jones. You are going to be sitting all the way at the end of your seat biting your fingernails all the way down. At the end somehow, he usually leaves with the SV. His ERA is atrocious, but he’s averaged 40 saves for the past two seasons. If Rafael Betancourt continues to dominate, and Borowski’s ERA is still around 5, there could be a change at Jacobs Field.
Chance of losing his job: 3
Next in line: Rafael Betancourt

Minnesota TwinsJoe Nathan —Nathan has been one of the better closers in the majors for a handful of years now, and there’s no reason to believe 2008 will be any different. The only thing going against Nathan is the quality of his team. The offense should be there, but when the starting rotation is anchored by Francisco Liriano just coming off Tommy John surgery, Livan Hernandez, and a guy whose name is Boof, Nathan’s save chances may become fewer and farther between. Chance of losing job: 1
Next in line: Pat Neshek

Kansas City RoyalsJoakim Soria —He took the closer’s job over for good once the Royals got smart and dealt Octavio Dotel and Soria did nothing to disappoint. Soria closed 17 games for the lowly Royals in ’07, and given a better situation he could really be a good closer. However, he is stuck in KC so he will probably top out at about 25. He’ll turn 24 during the season, so there still could be plenty of room for improvement.
Chance of losing job: 3
Next in line: Joel Peralta

Chicago White SoxBobby Jenks --Never one to miss a meal, or too many save opportunities, Jenks has turned into a top 10 closer. He came close to a major league record last year when he retired 41 straight hitters. I have been critical of Jenks and his doughboy appearance, but when he comes in, the game is usually over. It would help if the White Sox were better, but Jenks still has a chance at 40 saves and close to a strike out an inning.
Chance of losing job: 1
Next in line: Octavio Dotel

AL West

Oakland AthleticsHuston Street —He lost part of last season to an irritated nerve in his elbow (not good), but still put up OK numbers. Street is still erratic at times, and has been bitten by the injury bug on more than one occasion. The fact that the A’s had somewhat of a fire sale this off season doesn’t bode well for Street getting a ton of chances either. He is a second level closer until he can prove otherwise.
Chances of losing job: 2
Next in line: Alan Embree

Seattle MarinersJ.J. Putz —From relative obscurity to dominating closer in just two years, Putz has given the Mariners a stabilizing force in the 9 th inning. Putz was absolutely in the zone last year posting a 1.38 ERA while closing 40 games, and even winning six. It seems like the Mariners will be more competitive the season, meaning Putz might get even more opportunities and saving 45-50 games isn’t out of the question.
Chances of losing job: 1
Next in line: Brandon Morrow

Los Angeles Angels of AnaheimFrancisco Rodriguez —If you read my rankings on who will be the best fantasy closer this year, then I need to go on no further. Rodriguez is dominating, has great movement on his pitches, and possesses a killer instinct to put hitters away. He walks a few more batters than the rest, and his emotions can get the better of him sometimes, but with the game on the line, K-Rod is lights out.
Chances of losing job: 1
ext in line: Scot Shields

Texas RangersC.J. Wilson —After the Rangers dealt Eric Gagne to Boston, Wilson took over the closing duties, and did a decent job finishing 12 of the 14 chances he got. He does not, however, have a lock on this job out of spring. Joaquin Benoit could certainly be the closer in Arlington come April, so you can draft Wilson, but have a plan B. Most likely the Rangers won’t be winning too many games anyway, so hanging your hat on Wilson is a bad idea to begin with. Chances of losing job: 4
Next in line: Joaquin Benoit

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