CLOSERS ARE justas indispensable to a fantasy squad as they are to a major league team, so thebig-name firemen are always in demand. Here are a couple of new closers whomight be a little easier to acquire.
Gonzalez (right) has saved only four games in three seasons, but with thedeparture of last year's closer, Jose Mesa, he'll get plenty of opportunitiesto use his low-90s fastball and wicked slider to finish games. He'll also gethelp from an expert: Roberto Hernandez. The righty with 324 career saves willserve as Gonzalez's setup man as well as his mentor.
The hard-throwing 24-year-old was 18 for 18 in save chances with a 0.64 WHIPand a 0.96 ERA for Double A Bowie (Md.). He then showed poise--and impressivestuff--during a stint with Baltimore (2.66 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 43 strikeouts in 402/3 innings). With B.J. Ryan and Jorge Julio gone, the Orioles have few otheroptions, which gives Ray (right) a fair amount of job security.
The Reds are again going with a closer-by-committee approach, meaning neitherDavid Weathers nor Todd Coffey (or Ryan Wagner or Kent Mercker, for thatmatter) will have much fantasy value.... Last year Bob Wickman tied for the ALlead with 45 saves, but few of them came easy. Should you draft him, also grabRafael Betancourt, Cleveland's heir apparent, just to be safe.