Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who(Cares Who')'s the Closer?

That is a confusing title, huh?

But it's not nearly as confusing as all the ink and pixels being wasted on the conjecture over who is the Orioles' closer. Because the bottom line is this: it doesn't matter. At all.

In the 22 games that Buck has been in charge (and there has been no designated "closer"), the Orioles have only blown one "save" situation. Buck has stated he cares far more about the win than the save but the Orioles have been winning and have racked up four saves with the unspoken "closer by committee".

Sure, maybe if this team had a Mariano Rivera or a Trevor Hoffman, maybe you go with a set closer and build the other bullpen roles around him. But the Orioles don't have a guy like that on this team. Why not let the situation dictate the guy called upon to close out a game?

This is not a new concept. Before Gregg Olson showed up in 1989, the "closer" for the Orioles was usually a team of two, a lefty and a righty. Occasionally, there would be a third guy grabbing a few saves too. Would it be so crazy to go into 2011 with Mike Gonazalez and Alfredo Simon (or Jim Johnson) as your lefty/righty team of "closers"? It's not an unprecedented solution.

I don't believe you have to have some magic skill to come in for the 9th inning and preserve a three-run lead. Let's stop worrying about who gets an arbitrary title and worry about the performance of the bullpen overall.

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