mblax10 wrote:If TB doesn't sign anybody, I think Jake McGee gets first shot with some possibility of giving Niemann a look.
I've long touted McGee as the TB closer of the future and that future could indeed be in 2011 but I don't see a feasable reason why the Rays would try Niemann in the closer spot if he's healthy.
Also, look for me to post a new closers thread in the coming weeks. There is still a lot of player movement that is expected to happen that will influence the bullpen depth of many teams. I expect it to be a very volatile off-season in terms of relievers as the even the most marginal free agent RP is getting about $3 million a year. So, anything posted this early is likely to look very different in the near future.
There's a couple factors here for McGee.
JP Howell will be back, but he's coming off of shoulder surgery (labrum), so who knows how he'll do in the Spring. Howell closed part time in '09, puts up enough K's (10.7 K/9 in '09), but isn't a traditional closer by any means (slow-toss lefty, sinker knucklecurve change cutter).
Grant Balfour fits the mold much better and there's still a chance they might re-sign him, albeit a small once since they'd be giving up a pick. If Balfour somehow returns he'll be almost certainly closing.
But assuming Howell isn't immediately his old self and Balfour signs elsewhere, I don't think the Rays have any option but to give McGee the first shot. Peralta and Swindle and specialists. Sonnanstine and Russell won't cut it. There's just Jake McGee...