For a quick recap of closers potentially on the move with the trade deadline looming, here’s the Bottom of the Ninth post from two weeks ago.
Houston Astros: In an even earlier post, I covered the Astros closing situation. For a not-so-quick recap, Brett Myers is due $10 million in 2013 if he closes 45 games and doesn’t end the year on the DL. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Here’s one way baseball could take cues from fantasy baseball. Yesterday, the Marlins announced that they’d be going to a closer-by-committee, which puts Steve Cishek in line for saves. If they had a fantasy baseballer (<–my mom’s term!) running their club, things would’ve been different down in South Florida. Please, blog, may I have some more?
With about a month before we hit MLB’s July 31st trade deadline, let’s take a look at a few teams with closers who may be moved by that time.
Colorado Rockies: At 37 years old, Rafael Betancourt clearly isn’t the long-term option for the Rockies, but he has been extremely effective since being acquired from the Indians in 2009 (this season’s excellent 2.67 FIP and 4.14 K/BB are his worst rates since donning a Colorado uniform). Please, blog, may I have some more?
Another week, another couple of awful performances from John Axford, who book-cased two perfect saves with blown saves against the Royals and Blue Jays. Coming into the season, Axford was one of the stronger closer options in the game, and was drafted behind only Craig Kimbrel, Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, and Brian Wilson on average in preseason drafts. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Oakland Athletics: After surrendering 3 baserunners and 3 runs in a blown save Friday, Brian Fuentes is out of the 9th in Oakland. He no longer misses bats; he owns a solid 9.38 career K/9 with a 11.3% swinging strike rate, but his 2012 numbers check in at a much less impressive 6.45 K/9, supported by a diminished 7.0% swinging strike rate. Please, blog, may I have some more?
If we take a look at the BS meter, we see Heath Bell still owns the pole position. It still appears that three BS this early in the season is the indicator of a closer losing his job. This means Henry Rodriguez is in some tough straights, word. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Chicago White Sox – Last Thursday, I told people to go all in on Addison Reed. Not long afterward, Chris Sale was removed from the rotation, placed in the bullpen and anointed the closer. Since the proclamation, Sale appeared in the 8th inning, blew the lead and Reed got the save chance in extra innings. Please, blog, may I have some more?
I blame the media: every manager has an itchy trigger finger early in the season when it comes to the bullpen. Or I blame myself and everyone else who obsesses over fantasy as we’ve created a culture where 5.2 IPs are something that need to be dissected and reacted to as if a reliever is only going to throw 10 innings, not 60-80 innings, in a season. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Well, not much has changed for closers since last month when we did a run down of all of them. Kimbrel got a save, Axford got a save, and everyone else sucks. Holly Robinson Peete closers are a mess! I don’t think there’s ever been so many Brain Freezes before. I almost feel like adding an extra category below the Brain Freezes called, “The Legend of Gloom.” Wha’ happened? Did someone poison the bullpen water? Has Mariano Rivera made it so when he retires there won’t be any more closers? There will only be starters and “Those Other Guys.” To recap this month in closing quickly: Valverde has been less than stellar, Putz and Street just don’t close games, Motte hasn’t been good, Brian Wilson became Casilla who Bochy pulled after one batter during one game, Joel Hanrahananananan gave fantasy owners the question, “Who’s Juan Cruz?”, Sergio Santos may start throwing at some point in the next few weeks, the Red Sox gave the job to someone who has an over 10 ERA, Frank-Frank hasn’t had a blank-blank inning in forever, Kyle Farnsworth left stage right and Rodney, who couldn’t get saves last year, entered stage “I can’t believe Rodney’s closing games,” Guerra’s been about as bad as expected, Walden blew one save and lost the job, What the H. Please, blog, may I have some more?
Before going through the closer upheaval rigmarole, I thought it important to set some context on blown saves. From 2009-2011 (three seasons), of pitchers with at least 10 saves, 11 relievers blew 16 or more saves. Only three of those pitchers (Matt Capps, Carlos Marmol and Jim Johnson) are still closers. Please, blog, may I have some more?