A couple developments on the closer front this week should have fantasy owners taking notice and making the necessary adjustments.

Included in today’s report is some breaking news that one of the most exciting future closers has been called up to the big leagues.

We break down these situations and give you a couple more names to look for out on the horizon in today’s edition of Closing Time.

I have just gotten word that the Washington Nationals have promoted 2009 first round draft pick…Drew Storen . Thought I was going to say Stephen Strasburg , didn’t you? Well, most people forget that Storen was also a first round draft pick last year, and it appears his stay in the minors was even shorter than Strasburg’s.

As good as Storen is it must be remembered that Matt Capps is doing a real good job and is in no danger of losing the closer job in Washington any time soon. That is unless a trade is made. But for now, look for Storen to get used to big league life slowly by being used in a middle relief role.

This is a move that shows the Nationals are kinda serious about competing this year, and if they can stay close until Strasburg is recalled, they may actually make a decent run of things this season.

Unfortunately Huston Street ’s second rehab performance didn’t go as well as his first, and this just might be the worst-case scenario as he was lifted after firing just five pitches for AA Tulsa last night. The Rockies are calling it arm fatigue again, and maybe they are just being overly cautious here, but it doesn’t look good.

Either way, those of us who have been holding on to Street all season will likely have to wait even longer now, as we were less than two weeks away from his return. In the meantime, Manny Corpas has assumed the closer role on Colorado by default. Corpas has been brutal for the most part but now has a chance to resurrect himself and close out games for the Rockies.

If Corpas fails like many believe he will, Esmil Rogers is a name you all should keep in mind. Rogers has a real good mid 90s fastball and a good hard curve. He has been hit hard by left-handers, however, and needs a changeup or other offering to keep them from sitting on his fastball.

Rogers has good stuff and makeup to be a closer and may get a shot at some point this season, especially if Street is out for a greater length of time.

Brad Lidge is once again on the disabled list with elbow soreness. This situation with Lidge is far too volatile for a contending team like the Phillies to deal with. Enter Jose Contreras , who we’ve been touting now for several weeks as the next closer in Philadelphia.

Contreras got his first save the other day and is doing a very good job out of the bullpen these days. He is a must own right now for fantasy leaguers because there will be plenty of save opportunities in the days and weeks ahead in Philadelphia.

For the time being, Kerry Wood still technically holds the title as Indians closer. However, he is nowhere near ready to assume that role, as his velocity and command are just not there yet. If you’ve been holding Chris Perez , for one you are probably in a deeper league, but I would suggest continuing to hold him just a little while longer.

In leagues of twelve or fewer teams, I would go ahead and let both Wood and Perez loose on the free agent wire, as the opportunities and conversions just aren’t enough to justify the roster space at this time. 

Alfredo Simon blew his first save in grand fashion Saturday by allowing four runs to cross the plate against the lowly Indians. Simon had been gaining momentum since becoming the Orioles closer, but this was quite a disaster indeed.

He will get another opportunity in the ninth inning soon, and thus I wouldn’t cut bait on him yet. The Orioles are a better team than how they’ve played so far this season, and more help will be on the way as some key minor leaguers are called up and trades are made.

I still believe that Kam Mickolio is the best closing candidate for the Orioles, but he is once again struggling with command down in AAA Norfolk. 


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