Closer Report: March 25

Originally Published: March 25, 2005
By Scott Engel | ESPN Games Fantasy Edge
With much of spring training completed, it's become very apparent who will finish games for most ballclubs when the season begins. A few situations, however, remain unclear or could change very quickly and are updated here.

Chicago Cubs: Because of another unfortunate Joe Borowski injury, LaTroy Hawkins has again become the apparent choice to finish games for the Cubs. But he might not get much room to prove himself again. There's a stigma surrounding Hawkins that he can't close consistently, especially in major pressure situations. Hawkins certainly has the stuff to close, but does he have the proper closer's mentality? Like Guillermo Mota, Hawkins is a superb setup man who has to prove he can handle fireman's duties over the long haul. If he can't, the Cubs could consider Chad Fox, who has also been mentioned as a potential finisher in the past for other teams. But injuries have also derailed Fox often in the past. Hawkins better get off to a hot start, or Chicago could very well give Fox an audition. Chicago could make a trade for a more "trustworthy" final-inning arm at some point, so temper your expectations on Hawkins based on past issues (nine blown saves in 2004). Hawkins is trying new pitches this spring, and has looked very good, but he needs to show he can shut the door effectively and consistently very quickly.