San Francisco Giants
Closer: Sergio Romo
Setup Man: Santiago Casilla
Man of Intrigue: Heath Hembree
It's not obvious where the risk comes with Sergio Romo, but it's there. Look at his strikeout and walk rates over the last three years, and they all look excellent. He pitches for a good team in a nice park, and had 38 saves last year. What's not to like? Well, for one, he's only twice managed sixty innings. And if you follow the Giants, you know that there's always a point in the season when his elbow is tender and he takes some time off. He hasn't hit the DL since 2011 for that particular joint, but the team is aware of his frailty. Only five relievers in baseball throw the slider more than Romo, and high slider usage is associated with health issues. For a guy that made it through last year unscathed and didn't pitch an inordinate amount of innings, there's a considerable health risk here.
If he goes down for a short time, most likely Santiago Casilla will step in for a bit. He's a competent reliever, even if he doesn't have as much velocity as Jairo Garcia did. Last year was the second-worst of his career by strikeout and walk rates, but he's been slowly improving his ground-ball rates, so perhaps he's purposefully traded some strikeouts for grounders. In any case, he's not a lefty (sorry Jeremy Affeldt) and he doesn't have crazy platoon splits (sorry Javier Lopez), so he's likely to get the bulk of short-term save opportunities. If Romo goes down for a while, though, and perhaps the team is struggling, they may want to see what life after Romo will look like. After all, 2014 is the last year Romo is under contract with the team. Heath Hembree has long been seen as the closer of the future. With his 92 mph gas and three-pitch mix and a few major league innings under his belt, he should make the team in spring, too. He can get whiffs, and if his command is there, he's a legitimate possibility for saves eventually. Derek Law has none of that pedigree, and was too old for his levels in the minors, so maybe you can't believe all of those eye-popping strikeout rates, but the organization has an eye on him and he may make the team in spring.