This article is part of our The Long Game series.
If there's one thing I hate to do at the auction table in keeper leagues, it's pay full freight for a closer. It's not just that I'm averse to spending significant resources on one-category players (the idea of getting into a bidding war for a guy like Billy Hamilton also makes me queasy), although that's certainly part of it; it's that it's so easy to avoid being put in that position. Closer jobs change hands all the time, and in leagues where you have any kind of bench depth to play with, stashing setup men before they move into ninth-inning jobs should be something you're doing constantly throughout the season. If you don't head into next year's auction rostering a couple of save options you picked up cheap when they were still cooling their heels in eighth-inning roles or hadn't locked down a closer spot after it became open, it basically means you failed at your job the year before.
Those spec pickups for next year can pay dividends right away, too. Already this season, I've started to get contributions in saves from relievers like Mychal Givens and Wily Peralta, who I snagged for prices that will look like bargains if they still have the jobs next Opening Day. They can also provide value beyond next year as well – Edwin Diaz is still anchoring my bullpen in the Staff Keeper League after I picked him up for a measly four bucks in 2016. Finding and acquiring these pitchers