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Up this week are my just-for-fun 2022 player rankings. I’ve done my best to list players where they’ll be eligible next year, and the free agents-to-be are listed without teams. Players with options for next year are still listed with their current teams if those options have a legitimate chance of being exercised. Those players are noted with asterisks.
Click to see other other preliminary 2022 rankings:
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Relief pitcher rankings
- The Red Sox just took care of Matt Barnes, but there will still be some interesting closers in free agency this winter, including Raisel Iglesias, Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, Brad Hand and maybe Craig Kimbrel, depending on how he finishes up and perhaps what team he’s traded to. Kimbrel’s contract includes a $16 million option for next year with a $1 million buyout (which could increase to $2 million).
- Of the rest of the free agents, Kendall Graveman seems like the best bet to me to land a closer gig this winter. I suspect Hector Neris will, too, if he bounces back some in the second half, as I imagine he will. Then there are the rehabbing Trevor Rosenthal and Kirby Yates if they can convince teams they’re healthy.
- A non-free agent who rates as a sneaky pickup here is Ken Giles. The Mariners signed him to a two-year deal after his Tommy John. He’ll have had a full 18 months to recover come next Opening Day, so he should be very much in the running for the closer gig. The Mariners also have Andres Munoz as a possible long-term closer. He underwent Tommy John in March 2020 and was picked up afterwards from the Padres in the Aaron Nola deal.
- The one true prospect included here is Matt Cronin at No. 50. A 2019 fourth-round pick, he’s fanned 41 in 23 innings between high-A and Double-A this year. He also might not have much in front of him with the Nationals. Also making the cut is Demarcus Evans, who has yet to establish himself in Texas. That’s a cloudy situation, as neither Jose Leclerc nor Jonathan Hernandez figure to be ready for Opening Day after undergoing Tommy John surgery early this year.