If You're Hardcore: Is Wheeler more than a stopgap closer?
Wheeler saved 20 games as a part-time closer for the Astros in 2006 and 2007. His main competition in Tampa is 38-year-old Al Reyes, who saved 26 games for the Rays last season. Reyes has demonstrated good command the past few years but spent time on the disabled list last year with a rotator cuff injury and already has missed a month this year because of a shoulder injury. At his age, Reyes is neither a keeper-league commodity nor a potential long-term solution for the Rays.
The 30-year-old Wheeler, however, is both. A peek beneath his surface stats reveals closer-worthy skills:
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