Author: George Kurtz, Staff Writer

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Brach is the closer for now, but his time should be coming to an end. Zach Britton is progressing in his rehab and could start pitching in a minor league game within the next 7-10 days. After that it may only be another 10-14 days until he re-joins the O’s bullpen.

Cleveland Indians: Andrew Miller was activated off of the disabled list over the weekend and will immediately return to his top setup role in the Cleveland bullpen. The Indians’ bullpen had its issues with Miller on the DL, so hopefully his return will stabilize that as everyone can return to their natural roles. Cody Allen owners have no reason to worry as his job is still safe and secure.

Houston Astros: It’s been almost a week since Houston has had a save opportunity, but Ken Giles has been the closer for the team and picked up their last two saves. Is his job secure? Well that depends upon your definition of secure. He is he closer today and most likely tomorrow, but after that, it will likely depend upon how well he is pitching. Will Harris was chosen by Houston the last time they didn’t use Giles to close out a game, but Chris Devenski was the last reliever other than Giles to record a save. The bottom line is that Giles is safe as the team’s closer as long as he does his job and does it well, but the Astros won’t give him much room to work through any problems. Devenski would seem to be next in line, but Brad Peacock could receive a shot also.

Los Angeles Angels: Kenyan Middleton was placed on the DL late Monday with what seems to be a serious elbow injury, one that could sideline him for the rest of the season. Who will close in his absence? Manager Mike Scioscia was asked this very question before the game versus Houston on Monday and refused to give an answer. Actions may speak louder than words, however, as Justin Anderson was used by Scioscia to close out the win over Houston. It wasn’t a pretty save, as Anderson gave up two hits and a walk. Does he receive the next save chance? It’s really anyone’s guess, as Scioscia could use veteran Jim Johnson, who has performed as a closer in the past. He could give Blake Parker another chance. Parker did come into the season as the team’s closer. He could stick with Anderson. He could even go with Cam Bedrosian, although that seems the most unlikely out of all his options. The best guess is that Anderson will receive at least one more chance to close out a game to see if can handle the job and/or gain Scioscia’s confidence.

Milwaukee Brewers: While the Brewers have not made any announcements confirming this, it does seem likely that Corey Knebel will re-claim his closing role this week. Knebel was activated off the DL last week and in three appearances has only allowed one hit and one run. Josh Hader should return to his role as a multi-inning bridge to Knebel.

Philadelphia Phillies: Who is the closer in Philly? Hector Neris has a bloated 5.17 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. These aren’t exactly pristine numbers for a closer. He gave up three runs in his most recent outing and could be on the verge of giving up his closing job to Edubray Ramos or possibly even Seranthony Dominguez. The Phillies seem to be enamored with Dominguez, but Ramos is still the probable closer in waiting should the Phillies make a change.

St. Louis Cardinals: Greg Holland now has four straight scoreless outings, but it’s still unknown how close he may be to getting another save opportunity. Bud Norris has done nothing to lose the job and the argument could be made to leave him in the role until if/when he starts to perform poorly. It’s certainly frustrating to Holland owners who don’t own Norris, but it’s also the risk you took when you drafted or claimed Holland. The Cardinals eventually may just conclude that if it isn’t broke, it shouldn’t be fixed.

San Francisco Giants: Mark Melancon is also on his way to a return to the bullpen, possibly by the end of the month. The question will once again be, should he automatically be re-instated in the closer’s role? The answer, “probably.” Like Norris in St. Louis, Hunter Strickland hasn’t done anything to lose the job, but like Holland, that would mean the team would have to hand a high-profile job to a reliever that isn’t the highest paid one on the team. Normally, teams don’t like to do that, as that is admitting you made a mistake in the first place in signing that player. Melancon may have a short rope but will likely get a shot to close out games once again upon his return.

Toronto Blue Jays: Roberto Osuna’s stay on administrative lead has been extended until May 21 as the team and MLB are investigating the assault charges against him. The only save chance the Jays have had since Osuna was placed on leave has gone to Tyler Clippard. Does that mean Clippard is the current closer? Maybe, his numbers this season state that he deserves the chance, but he may have just been the top reliever available that day. Caution needs to be preached here as even if Clippard is the closer, it could be very short lived.

TeamCloserNext in LineDeep PotentialDLTop Hold Reliever
ARIBrad BoxbergerArchie BradleyArchie Bradley
ATLArodys VizcainoA.J. MinterA.J. MinterJose RamirezA.J. Minter
BALBrad BrachBrad Brach/Miguel Castro/Mychal GivensMiguel CastroZach Britton/Darren O' DayMiguel Castro
BOSCraig KimbrelMatt Barnes/Joe Kelly/Carson SmithTyler ThornburgJoe Kelly
CHCBrandon MorrowCarl Edwards/Pedro Strop/Steve CishekCarl EdwardsJustin Wilson
CHWJoakim SoriaNate JonesJuan MinayaNate Jones
CINRaisel IglesiasDavid Hernandez/Wandy PeraltaDavid Hernandez
CLECody AllenAndrew MillerAndrew Miller
COLWade DavisAdam Ottavino/Jake McGeeAdam OttavinoBryan Shaw
DETShane GreeneJoe Jimenez/Alex WilsonJoe JimenezAlex Wilson
HOUKen GilesChris Devenski/Brad PeacockChris DevenskiChris Devenski
KCKelvin HerreraBrandon Maurer/Justin GrimmBrandon Maurer
LAAJustin AndersonCam Bedrosian/Blake Parker/Jim JohnsonJustin AndersonBlake Wood/Kenyan MiddletonCam Bedrosian
LADKenley JansenJosh FieldsJosh Fields
MIABrad ZieglerKyle Barraclough/Drew SteckenriderDrew SteckenriderKyle Barraclough
MILJosh HaderMatt Albers/Jacob BarnesCorey KnebelMatt Albers
MINFernando RodneyAddison ReedAddison Reed
NYMJeurys FamiliaA.J RamosAnthony SwarzakA.J. Ramos
NYYAroldis ChapmanDavid Robertson/Dellin BetancesTommy KahnleDavid Robertson
OAKBlake TreinenRyan Butcher/Santiago CasillaRyan DullSantiago Casilla
PHIHector NerisEdubray RamosSeranthony DominguezPat NeshekEdubray Ramos
PITFelipe VazquezGeorge KontosGeorge Kontos
STLBud NorrisGreg Holland/Luke GregersonDominic LeoneGreg Holland
SDBrad HandKirby YatesKazuhisa MakitaKirby Yates
SFHunter StricklandSam Dyson/Tony Watson/Cory GearrinSam DysonMark MelanconSam Dyson
SEAEdwin DiazJuan NicasioJuan Nicasio
TBAlex ColomeSergio Romo/Dan JenningsSergio Romo
TEXKeone KelaAlex Claudio/Matt BushAlex Claudio
TORTyler ClippardRyan Tepera/Seung-Hwan Oh/John AxfordRoberto Osuna (susp)Ryan Tepera
WSHSean DoolittleRyan Madson/Brandon Kintzler/Shawn KelleyKoda GloverKoda GloverRyan Madson

As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.

Featured Image: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

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