Most relievers want to close; it's the most prestigious and lucrative bullpen job. Browsing our list of unsigned relievers, Grant Balfour, Octavio Dotel, Brian Fuentes, Kevin Gregg, Trevor Hoffman, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch, and Rafael Soriano have recent closing experience. Surely Scott Boras will find Soriano a ninth inning job, while I imagine Fuentes and Gregg still expect to close as well. Which teams might have openings in the ninth?
- Orioles: They've got Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez already, but have been linked to Gregg.
- Rays: If you're an agent, this is the team to call if your client is more interested in closing than in his 2011 salary.
- Blue Jays: Jason Frasor is back, but the ninth inning is probably unsettled here.
- Mariners: If they trade David Aardsma, they could sign a more affordable reliever and give him a shot to close.
- Rangers: A week ago Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that the Rangers are "unlikely to spend big for a reliever, even if they move righty Neftali Feliz to the rotation." Frank Francisco and Mark Lowe are a couple of internal options, or the Rangers could sign someone affordable.
- Braves: They've got youngsters Jonny Venters and Craig Kimbrel, plus veterans including new additions George Sherrill and Scott Linebrink. They might be done with the bullpen.
- Nationals: They've been linked to Gregg and were in on Jesse Crain. GM Mike Rizzo said in November that he wants to improve the bullpen.
- Pirates: Their Dotel gambit worked out this year, and the Bucs are known to be in on similar relievers despite the presence of Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek.
- Closing jobs can be tough to come by, but at the moment there could be a half-dozen teams willing to give a reliever the title. Beverly Hills Sports Council represents Fuentes, Gregg, Dotel, and Hoffman, so they've got an interesting situation to sort out.