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  1. #1
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    Default Closer by Committee to Exclude Rondon




    Detroit set its pitching staff Thursday morning by optioning hard-throwing closer prospect Bruce Rondon to Triple-A Toledo along with long reliever Luis Marte. With that, the seven-man bullpen is set for Opening Day, with lefty Darin Downs and high-strikeout middle relievers Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal joining long reliever Drew Smyly and veterans Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel.
    Tigers option Rondon, go with closer by committee Beck's Blog

    I'll be really interested to see how Leyland uses this bullpen. There's some talent there, but it will leave JL open to a lot more criticism...

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    I believe that's a major reason that the closers' role is so popular in baseball. It takes a ton of responsibility away from the manager, and places it on the pitcher.

    Of course many closers receive a requisite salary, but not all of them.

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    I would rather see them start of using closer by committee then throwing a guy out there who, at this point, doesn't seem to have it all together. I imagine Rondon would've struggled which would've resulted in loss of his confidence (which isn't a huge factor IMO), but more importantly the potential loss of close games.

    Between Dotel, Benoit, Al Al, Coke, and even Villarreal I think we can hold onto close games late. Ride the hot hand, if the wheels falls off we have the trade bait or could just sign a Brian Wilson type to help stabilize the back end.

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    I'm happy with this. I don't think Rondon was quite ready. Dotel and or Benoit would be fine here. Coke and Al as well..
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    Leyland is from the LaRussa school of thought on Closers. He's probably upset enough to smoke an unfiltered marlborogh right about now.

    I like the decision, presuming that we use Downs as a LOOGY, and not an inning/appearance...
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayVee View Post
    I believe that's a major reason that the closers' role is so popular in baseball. It takes a ton of responsibility away from the manager, and places it on the pitcher.

    Of course many closers receive a requisite salary, but not all of them.
    Leyland has said this quite explicitly - he likes the closer because it is one decision he can't get second guessed on. I'm sympathetic to his point.

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    I think the pitchers in the bullpen may perform slightly better in their roles when the roles are predetermined. I also think there is something to the closer's mentality. Not everyone can do it. But I think many can, and it isn't hard to find that guy. I don't think you know until you try. I'm sure they figure out a good arrangement.
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    Good news. I'd rather use a better pitcher that doesn't have a "closer's mentality" than a worse one that does.

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    I like closer by committee (or more accurately bullpen by matchups). Everybody should be doing it!

    Easier said than done of course. It can work from a baseball standpoint, but I think the biggest hurdle is getting pitchers to buy into it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiger337 View Post
    ... I think the biggest hurdle is getting pitchers to buy into it.
    Which is a big issue, since a pitcher that gets the closer assignment - or set-up, or 7th inning - and botches it can point fingers at the manager: "I don't know my role."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_R View Post
    Which is a big issue, since a pitcher that gets the closer assignment - or set-up, or 7th inning - and botches it can point fingers at the manager: "I don't know my role."
    True, but Detroit has a team that should win the division easily this year and the players seem to like Leyland a lot. It seems like the ideal situation to try something like this. No pitcher on his winning Pirates teams of 90-92 had as many as 20 saves, so he's done it before.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_R View Post
    Which is a big issue, since a pitcher that gets the closer assignment - or set-up, or 7th inning - and botches it can point fingers at the manager: "I don't know my role."
    I can hear jL now, "Role?, You want to know your $?!&! role? Your role is to be ready to take the $&$@?! ball when I give it to you and get out whatever ?!&?$ hitter is standing in the $&@!?$ box"
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    What are some recent examples of a closer by committee working out well? It seems to me, that they are usually pretty short lived, with the Manager settling on some "go to" guy after a short period of in-season auditions. Managers just like to have that one guy to end it.

    Seriously, someone provide some good examples that show when a Manager truly used a closer by committee with some kind of even (or explainable) distribution of saves or games finished. I can't think of any that I think would fit the mold --- not in recent times.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_R View Post
    Which is a big issue, since a pitcher that gets the closer assignment - or set-up, or 7th inning - and botches it can point fingers at the manager: "I don't know my role."
    I didn't think Grilli was on the team any longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballmich View Post
    What are some recent examples of a closer by committee working out well? It seems to me, that they are usually pretty short lived, with the Manager settling on some "go to" guy after a short period of in-season auditions. Managers just like to have that one guy to end it.

    Seriously, someone provide some good examples that show when a Manager truly used a closer by committee with some kind of even (or explainable) distribution of saves or games finished. I can't think of any that I think would fit the mold --- not in recent times.
    I hope this is exactly what Leyland and DD decide to do. I don't think trying a few different scenarios, figuring out who is the most successful, and riding the hot hand is a bad thing. I hope that after a while one of the candidates really starts to shine and begins to take the lion's share of the duties, however, if they get cold I would like Leyland to have a short leash and change it up sooner than later.

    I agree though, I don't see closer by committee lasting the entire season. It will be short lived, unless playing the matchups somehow proves to the best solution which I think is doubtful.
    Last edited by EchO; 03-28-2013 at 03:00 PM.

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    The last time that I remember that it was truly attempted, was by the Redsox in 2003.

    It's an old idea made new. It's considered an experiment even though it's been tried plenty before. It's innovative, but somewhat retro, too.

    It's a bullpen led by committee rather than achored by a single closer, and the Boston Red Sox are going to give it a try.

    Deeming Ugueth Urbina too expensive for their budget, the Red Sox waved goodbye to Ubrina's 40 saves and have reconstructed their bullpen, aiming for quanity, and they hope, quality.

    Instead of Urbina being designated for ninth-inning duty, the Sox will this season be able to call upon any number of options: Ramiro Mendoza, Alan Embree, Bobby Howry, Mike Timlin and Chad Fox.

    Every pitcher in Boston's crowded house has served in the closer's capacity before. Howry saved 28 games for the White Sox in 1999, the same season in which Timlin recorded 27 saves for Baltimore. Mendoza was occasionally called upon to finish games in his six seasons with the Yankees and has 16 saves in his career. Embree and Fox, too, have closed, though infrequently.
    Red Sox going with the closer-by-committee approach - MLB - ESPN

    It turned out to be not that great, as I recall, though the Sox did win 94 games that year. Byung-Hyun Kim wasn't even mentioned, and he turned out to be their best reliever and had the most saves. Lyon was up there in GF. Timlin and Embree had okay seasons. Most everyone else sucked or got hurt. Anyway, it's interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ballmich View Post
    What are some recent examples of a closer by committee working out well? It seems to me, that they are usually pretty short lived, with the Manager settling on some "go to" guy after a short period of in-season auditions. Managers just like to have that one guy to end it.

    Seriously, someone provide some good examples that show when a Manager truly used a closer by committee with some kind of even (or explainable) distribution of saves or games finished. I can't think of any that I think would fit the mold --- not in recent times.
    San Fran last year, kind of did it with 3 guys getting the bulk of the saves.

    Oakland last year kind of did it also, but that would not be a good example since they suck! lol
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    I think the job eventually goes to Al Al, assuming he stays healthy.

    Benoit doesn't want it
    Coke probably isn't good enough
    It they wanted it to be Dotel, they would just make him the closer.

    I could see Villareal winning it as well, but if Al Al is healthy I think he's far and away the best of the bunch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Brian_K View Post
    San Fran last year, kind of did it with 3 guys getting the bulk of the saves.

    Oakland last year kind of did it also, but that would not be a good example since they suck! lol
    No, neither of those teams were closer by committee situations. They both had pretty settled closers when they were healthy.

    There is a difference between having a closer by committee and just having an unsettled closer situation. One is by choice, the other is because the manager can't find a closer that he wants.
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    F-Rod is still unsigned. Thought I would just throw that out there again. Not that I think we need a closer, per se, but I wouldn't mine one more good reliever.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiger337 View Post
    True, but Detroit has a team that should win the division easily this year and the players seem to like Leyland a lot. It seems like the ideal situation to try something like this. No pitcher on his winning Pirates teams of 90-92 had as many as 20 saves, so he's done it before.
    Yes, closer by committee is less likely to come back and bite Leyland with this team than with your average hypothetical MLB club. It's also less likely to come back and bite him than throwing out Rondon. But if we get to the postseason and Leyland is still rolling the dice with a committee of closers, he will get blasted by the press (and the fans) if someone blows a save. And heaven forbid that it happens in a close series the Tigers lose... Leyland would never hear the end of it.

    I agree with EchO... Start the season juggling your closers, see if someone seizes the role, or if Rondon grabs it, or if someone wants to trade a proven closer for Porcello. But don't get past July without a settled closer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason_R View Post
    Yes, closer by committee is less likely to come back and bite Leyland with this team than with your average hypothetical MLB club. It's also less likely to come back and bite him than throwing out Rondon. But if we get to the postseason and Leyland is still rolling the dice with a committee of closers, he will get blasted by the press (and the fans) if someone blows a save. And heaven forbid that it happens in a close series the Tigers lose... Leyland would never hear the end of it.

    .
    I totally understand this, but I'd still like to see some team try it for a full season, have success with it and lead the charge to a new way of bullpen management. I think bullpens have become too specialized, don't like the closer role and would like to see changes. I don't expect Leyland to be the one to do it, but that is what I'm hoping for.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballmich View Post
    What are some recent examples of a closer by committee working out well? It seems to me, that they are usually pretty short lived, with the Manager settling on some "go to" guy after a short period of in-season auditions. Managers just like to have that one guy to end it.

    Seriously, someone provide some good examples that show when a Manager truly used a closer by committee with some kind of even (or explainable) distribution of saves or games finished. I can't think of any that I think would fit the mold --- not in recent times.
    There are none, but that is not a good reason why there can't be a change. Bullpen roles have changed a lot over the years, probably more than any facet of the game. They can and should change again, but it takes one brave organization to get the ball rolling.
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  25. #25
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    I' betting that Leyland assigns the closer position to a pitcher by May 1. We should start a poll !!
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    The best solution is to just score way more runs that the other team. I wouldn't be disappointed if every game we won was by more than 3 runs :)

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    I also like this idea, because as a manager you can match up the right pitcher to the situation, but because managers are risk-averse, I too think this idea has a short shelf life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayVee View Post
    Tigers option Rondon, go with closer by committee Beck's Blog

    I'll be really interested to see how Leyland uses this bullpen. There's some talent there, but it will leave JL open to a lot more criticism...
    Closer by committee would work great with our pen, if our manager understood hows stats work. The key to Coke in the playoffs last year was the Yankees best players are lefthanded and Coke can still be dominant against lefties, but righties hit .396 off him last season. So throwing him out to close and face Pujols and Trumbo will result in a loss, but facing Hamilton he can still be effective.
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    For us, I don't have any major issues with closer by committee. I actually think Leyland handles his pen pretty well. That being said, there is some stock in the "closers mentality". I don't think it's as big as some make it out to be, but there are some pitchers that get rattled in that position.

    I'm also not sure I want to see Villareal or Albuquerque in that position. I think they can be the best of our bullpen and i'm not sold on using your best guy in the closer position. Think back to the short time we had Zumaya and Jones in the pen, there were games that Jones saved because Zumaya stopped a threat and carried the game to the ninth for him, where he had no one on base and just needed to worry about getting three outs to end it.
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    Just make the worst viable late inning reliever on the team the closer, boom problem solved.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyrotigers View Post
    Just make the worst viable late inning reliever on the team the closer, boom problem solved.
    Now that is kind of an interesting debate, who is the Tigers worst viable late inning reliever? You probably will get as many answers as you would if you asked for the Tiger's best late inning reliever.

    That's the interesting thing about this bullpen, you've got a few special purpose types (Smyly and Downs), and otherwise everyone else is kind of in the same ballpark.
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    Our local Lakeland paper today had an article on Valverde and Dotel as probable closers...they really follow the Tigers. I didn't even read the article after the headline.
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    Rondon needs at least part of a season in AAA, and I think everyone involved knew that.

    Predict that he gets moved as part of a trade with the Padres, or another team with an extra closer.
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    I'd like to see Villarreal close, to limit his overall innings of work. But Al-Q has closer stuff also.
    And I really hate the entire concept of "closers" - I say have a few guys and let them go two IP for saves if need be.
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    I'm one who would rather see a consistent closer option. The season is too long and I'd prefer to have the stability on the back end with one closer. However if we don't have that guy then this is obviously the best option.

    I don't necessarily see a long term scenario where it stays this way and I hope the Tigers don't end up regretting not having someone to fill the role with so much on the line heading into the season ...
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