Boston's Andrew Bailey and Cincinnati's Ryan Madson have not thrown a pitch for their new teams. Madson may never throw a pitch for the Reds. Kansas City's Joakim Soria and Tampa Bay's Kyle Farnsworth have been on the DL from the start of the season, with Soria out for the season. That has lead to teams using other pitchers as closers with only the Royals' Jonathan Broxton experienced. Jose Peralta is filling in for the Rays and Alfredo Aceves (Red Sox) and Sean Marshall (Reds) have already been replaced as closer, though Aceves has been given another shot. Drew Storen is unlikely to pitch for the Nationals this season. He was initially replaced by Brad Lidge and now Henry Rodriguez is the closer.
The injury to Yankees great Mariano Rivera has put David Robertson in the spotlight. But, the Yankees aren't the only ones who have lost their closer during the season. The Giants have lost Brian Wilson to Tommy John surgery, joining Madson and Soria. Santiago Casilla gets the first chance to replace him. Sergio Santos is out for Toronto. Francisco Cordero has lost his temporary handle to Casey Janssen.
Aside from the injuries, four teams have demoted their closers since the season has started. While Frank Francisco is on his way to be number five, Grant Balfour (Athletics), Jordan Walden (Angels), Carlos Marmol (Cubs) and Javy Guerra (Dodgers) have been replaced. Brian Fuentes has once again become the closer on Oakland and Scott Downs has taken over for the Angels. Rafael Dolis has taken over for Chicago and Kenley Jensen is now the closer for the Dodgers.
If Francisco is replaced, that will mean 13 teams will be using different closers than they projected to use during the offseason. That is 43 percent of teams, something that is unlilkely to have happened before. And of those, four of those teams have used a third pitcher: Logan Ondrusek (Reds), Mark Melancon (Red Sox), Janssen (Blue Jays) and Rodriguez (Nationals). As a stat fan, I look forward to checking a little later in the season and see what these relievers compile as closers, mainly Robertson and Rodriguez, who have two of the best arms in the game. I am also interested in seeing Dolis over the course of a full season, as well as Jensen and Downs, all of whom have been known to have power arms.