Setting Up Closers
In general, my advice for picking up potential 9th inning gems is to be vigilant for injuries, and scoop up any setup guys as soon as you hear a closer has “diminished velocity” or any kind of “discomfort.”
Until then, here are three players who I believe will get plenty of save opportunities eventually in the 9th inning.

Drew Storen – Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays are paying Storen $8 Mil to be the set-up man.  This will not last.  Osuna is the better pitcher, but he will be on a short leash, and on a pitch-count as he’s such a young player.  He’d do better in a set-up role, sharing duties and time-off with Brett Cecil in the 7th and 8th.  Storen is the proven closer who, while many believe has already had his chance, is still in his prime.  Storen will wind up with the job and the majority of save opportunities.

Kevin Quackenbush – San Diego Padres

Right now it’s Fernando Rodney who’ll be blowing games for the Padres in the 9th.  I am not a fan of Rodney’s, and neither will Padres fans be by May.  He’s 39-years old and is NOT going to get any better.  Behind him is 25-year-old Brandon Maurer and 27-year-old Kevin Quackenbush.  Maurer was a starting pitcher last season, and went 7-4 before burning out.  Quackenbush had his sophomore slump last season, but still improved his ground ball and soft-hit rate.  Right now, Maurer is the set-up man on the depth charts, which I think is a trick to raise his stock on the trade market to a team like The Mariners who are looking for relief pitching.  Quackenbush, who has experience closing out games, stays on The Padres and takes the job from Rodney sooner than later.  Quack Attack is back, Jack!

Xavier Cedeno – Tampa Bay Rays

Rays’ manager Kevin Cash has a closer-by-committee situation going on in Tampa, featuring Alex Colome, Xavier Cedeno, and Danny Farquhar holding down the fort until Boxberger returns in mid-May.  Right now Colome gets first dibs on save opportunities.  He and Erasmo Ramierez have been getting the ball in the 8th and taking the team through the 9th.  Farquhar has appeared in the 7th.
So where is Cedeno?  He’s been seen warming up for the 9th.  If either Colome or Ramierez were in trouble, Cedeno was the guy Cash was ready to turn to to close out the game.
When Boxberger comes back, Ramirez will probably head back to the starting rotation.  Boxberger may not come back strong, and Cash will probably still rely on his committee to close out games.  If Colome goes over 30 pitches, he’ll probably sit the next day, and ultimately, I’d rather have the guy the manager gets ready for high-pressure situations than the guy he hopes makes it through two innings.  Cedeno is your guy.


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