Why not start with the guy who is most familiar with the position, right? I’ve put Sean Doolittle on this list as a token thank you to a closer who helped guide the Washington Nationals to their first World Series. He may not have been on the mound closing out games at the end of the year, though his two and a half years prior with the Nationals built up to the moment.
After losing the closer’s role (I guess we shouldn’t call him “the incumbent”), he battled injuries and ineffectiveness. His job in the bullpen was never clearly stated, other than he was no longer the Fireman.
Doolittle will enter free agency after the team friendly contract (7 YRS/$22.5M) he signed with the Oakland A’s expires after the season.
He has 111 career saves with an ERA a shade over 3.00, and nine years experience of pitching in high leverage situations.
In my mind the Nationals have little interest in bringing Doolittle back to be the closer, and hopefully Doolittle will earn closer-type money (or close to it) from somebody else. Having recently turned 34 years-old he is probably looking at his last long contract, something in the range of three years. I hope he finds it, just not in Washington.