Coffee is for closers only

May 22, 2012, 1:05 PM | Updated: May 25, 2012, 12:06 pm

By Gary Hill Jr

Watching the collective group of 2012 MLB closers has been like watching a herd of wildebeest navigate the wild plains of the Serengeti only to be picked off in succession by a pride of ravenous lions. The startling difference is that it is not just the weak and sick being devoured. The young, healthy and once strong have all succumbed.

Seriously, if you know of someone who predicted that Jim Johnson would have more saves than Mariano Rivera, Drew Storen, Heath Bell, Brian Wilson, Joakim Soria, Andrew Bailey and Ryan Madson combined, then you should follow them and commandeer their DeLorean so you can bend time to your advantage.

More than half the teams in baseball have already made a change from the man expected in spring training to anchor the pen.

Mariners: League
Rangers: Nathan
A’s: Balfour, Fuentes
Angels: Walden, Downs
Tigers: Valverde
Royals: Soria, Broxton
Twins: Capps
White Sox: Santiago, Sale, Thorton, Reed
Cleveland: Perez
Yankees: Rivera, Robertson, Soriano
Red Sox: Bailey, Aceves
Orioles: Johnson
Blue Jays: Santos, Cordero, Jansen
Rays: Farnsworth, Rodney

Nationals: Storen, Lidge, Rodriguez
Braves: Kimbrel
Marlins: Bell, Mujica, Cishek, Bell
Mets: Francisco
Phillies: Papelbon
Cardinals: Motte
Reds: Madson, Marshall, Chapman
Astros: Myers
Brewers: Axford
Pirates: Hanrahan
Cubs: Marmol, Dolis
Dodgers: Guerra, Jansen
Diamondbacks: Putz
Rockies: Betancourt
Giants: Wilson, Casilla
Padres: Street, Thayer

It’s Closer Bizarro World. It’s a world where closers such as Jim Johnson, Chris Perez, Fernando Rodney and Matt Capps find themselves with vice-grip holds on the closer role. It’s a world where each of these pitchers has actually propelled themselves towards the top of the saves leaderboard. It’s also a world where teams in contention may be looking to add back-end help to their own wobbly pen. Expanding the standings reveals that every team in baseball is within six games of a wild-card slot except for the Twins, Padres, Cubs and Rockies. This leaves one question. What does this mean for the Mariners? That is the question I will tackle tomorrow.

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Coffee is for closers only