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Scott Pianowski

Pre-closing Time: Texas opening, try Frank Francisco

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Frank Francisco's career is approaching the 180-degree shift, from "throwing a chair" to "closer's chair" in less than four years. Let's scan those waiver wires, amigos.

Here's what you need to know: the Rangers peddled soft-tossing lefty Eddie Guardado to the Twins today for minor league pitcher Mark Hamburger. Guardado's fantasy worth expires with the move; Minnesota already has arguably the best closer in the league in Joe Nathan.

The Rangers have yet to publicly name a successor to Guardado, but in competitive save-chasing leagues let's make a speculative play on Francisco. He's got closer stuff (65 strikeouts in 52.1 innings) and for his career he's allowed a scant .229 batting average. His control is less than ideal, but he's trimmed his walk rate significantly this year. Fly-ball tendencies and some gopheritis will be at play, but hey, you can't have everything. He's far and away the most intriguing of the current candidates. Point, click, acquire, and we'll pick up on this in tonight's Closing Time, proper.

If you're curious about Hamburger, he is a minor-league closer, albeit in Rookie Ball (he was named Appalachian League Closer of the Year with 13 saves). Maybe he'll be steak in a few years, but right now this is just a 21-year-old prospect not close to the majors.

PM Update: Ron Washington confirms, Francisco gets the job.

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