6 Potential Closers Still Available In Free Agency

As the free agent market evolves, most of the big names have been taken care of, from shortstops to starting pitchers. Now several key relievers are being locked up, though there are still some big-names out there who've shown big-time closing abilities in the past. 

For teams willing to take a shot, let's have a look at five who have recent or long-standing big league closing experience, some more than others, and some certainly more risky than others. 

In alphabetical order:

Aroldis Chapman

After picking up seven saves for the New York Yankees to begin the year without surrendering a run, Chapman proceeded to lose it. He was stripped of the closer's role before the end of May. But if the 34-year-old can somehow recapture his skills, he does 315 career saves and a 2.48 lifetime ERA.

Craig Kimbrel

An 8-time All-Star with 394 career saves, here's another former dominant closer who lost his job in 2022. Kimbrel's decline essentially started at the 2021 trade deadline, when he was traded crosstown from the Chicago Cubs to the White Sox. He was a disaster in a setup role for Liam Hendriks, and lost the job as Los Angeles Dodgers' closer this September. 

Corey Knebel

Knebel, 31, was an All-Star closer for the Milwaukee Brewers once. But that was back in 2017. Injuries and ineffectiveness have derailed his closing career since then. He began 2022 in the role for the Philadelphia Phillies, but that lasted just two months before he was removed from the job.

Alex Reyes

Another former All-Star closer, Reyes held the job for most of the 2021 season for the St. Louis Cardinals, having successfully converted himself from a top starting prospect earlier in his career. But injuries wiped out his 2022 season completely, after destroying his career as a starting pitcher for years. He was non-tendered by the Cards last month.

Taylor Rogers

And now we come to the two most likely bounceback candidates of all of these. Rogers was an All-Star in 2021 for the Minnesota Twins, and one of the most reliable late-innings lefty relievers in baseball for a few years leading up to that. He saved 28 games for the San Diego Padres in 2022, though his ERA jumped a full run higher than his norm. He was dealt to the Brewers at the trade deadline and didn't too fare well over the final couple of months of the season. 

Will Smith

The former Atlanta Braves All-Star had 37 saves in 2021 and has 91 in his career. He has a career 3.59 ERA and 10.8 K/9. The 33-year-old finished this past season with the Houston Astros. 

Photo:  Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports