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Mar/April Closer Thread 2018


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I think the rays are giving Colome a chance to get his sh!t together to improve his trade value. They get nothing right now. I also think they will give JA the chance to close when Colome is traded. He's still young and throws hard. Can't see Romo being part of the future . But they could also give Romo a chance to raise his value for a later trade. Time will tell.

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Rodney  

Anyone have any thoughts on the Milwaukee situation?

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On 4/14/2018 at 5:55 PM, handyandy86 said:

 

The sooner they make Alvarado "the guy" the sooner they have to start paying him better. If they aren't going anywhere this year there's no point in driving up his price on future contracts. 

 

On 4/14/2018 at 9:10 PM, mtw02 said:

Agreed.  These contract/arbitration situation have significant influence on these situations unfortunately.  Means the more talented guys are not necessarily gettinf the first shot.  I think Romo would be the next in line.  

 

21 hours ago, kittenmittons said:

Sooner or later this isn't going to matter at all.  The days of the "closer" getting 5x as much money as other bullpen pieces should already be gone, the only thing keeping it there is the sheer ignorance of arbitration panels.  Now that the "Miller role" has finally permeated the consciousness of casual sports analysts (like ESPN personalities) and there are many examples of teams proudly keeping their "best" reliever out of the closer role (Miller, Hader, Bradley, etc) agents will have plenty of ammunition to argue that any high leverage reliever is worth as much dollars as the guy getting saves.

 

Teams simply aren't going to be able to save money by keeping a guy out of the closer role anymore.

 

The old arbitration argument, again ... I've tackled this one before, but let's dive in one more time, with team context.

 

There's a two-fold argument here that I think some are overlooking:

1) What @kittenmittons has pointed out - the more teams go to using their 'best' reliever as a fireman, the more that will be valued by arbitration.  The game is changing from a bullpen usage perspective, and the money will follow that as well.  I remember lots of discussion when Miller accepted this fireman role about how he was getting paid like a closer, so he embraced what they asked him to do.  His blazing the trail is going to lead to others getting paid as well for strong performance, not just the saves stat (and we're already seeing it).

2) The concept of "Team Control" has two facets.  First, teams control the first 3 years of player service time, meaning they can pay the player whatever they want (league minimums and such apply, obviously).  Then, years 4-6, the team and player go to arbitration (or avoid it by agreeing to a contract after exchanging numbers).  

 

That second point is crucial, as we've ALREADY SEEN Tampa put a pre-arbitration player in the closer's role, over a successful veteran, when Colome took over the role in 2016:

2015 - Boxberger saves 41 games

2016 - Colome saves 37 games (Colome's 2nd year of team control; used over Boxberger, Jepsen, and Farquar - all veterans with saves on their resumes)

2017 - Colome saves 47 games

2018 - TBD

 

Colome got paid ~$522K in 2016, jumping to a whopping ~$548K in 2017.  That's the beauty of team control - the stats don't matter when the team is setting the contract.  This year, in his first year of arbitration, Colome got $5.3MM.  Alvarado is making ~$550K this year.  He'll get a slight raise in 2019 and 2020 before he enters arbitration, with both contracts likely to end up under $650K.  Even via the arbitration process, Colome (on that same team, with seasons of 37 and 47 saves under his belt) just made roughly 1/3 what Greg Holland just got on the FA market.  Also of note, Kevin Cash was the manager of the Rays through that entire time, choosing Colome over the proven veteran.  Additionally, Boxberger was only 28 when Colome took the role.

 

So tell me again which is better - paying ~$500-600K for your closer or paying $14MM?

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Curious why people are acting like Norris wasn’t hot garbage yesterday? I watched that “save” and was reassured that holland will take over soon, possibly soon like today. 

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It would be interesting to take closers and non-closers with similar stats and compare their year-by-year arbitration figures to see how much extra (if any) saves pay in arbitration.  

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41 minutes ago, fletch44 said:

It would be interesting to take closers and non-closers with similar stats and compare their year-by-year arbitration figures to see how much extra (if any) saves pay in arbitration.  

 

Spotrac has an Arbitration Tracker which gives some idea of what you're after (link is set to relief pitcher, but you can look at any position).

 

This past offseason, Osuna and Colome both got $5.3MM in their first years of arbitration.  Betances in his first year of arbitration (in 2016) got $3MM, but got $5MM this year.  Knebel in his first year of arbitration just got $3.65, but he's also a super-2 player (which Alvarado will probably be).  

 

ETA - didn't close the loop here.  So we saw Betances earn $3MM while Knebel with 39 SVs got $3.6MM a year later (where salaries increase year over year anyway).  We saw Colome and Osuna get $300K more than Betances this year, though their 1st year of ARB and it's his 2nd (but they've been in the league longer than Knebel).

 

My point is simply that teams (in general) aren't stupid.  If a young guy is the best guy for the role, well all the better to get him in the role quickly and use your resources elsewhere.  Cody Allen was a great test case for this as the Indians put him in the 9th in his 2nd full year in the bigs in 2014.  Allen's been the Indians' primary closer ever since.

 

Allen's contracts:

2014 - $515K

2015 - $547K

2016 - $4.1MM

2017 - $7.3MM

2018 - $10.5MM

 

Those last 3 seasons are his arbitration years, but the fact remains his contracts, even via arbitration, are WAY preferable to those of a FA closer of his talent and proven ability.

 

If anything, getting the young guy in the role as fast as possible makes more sense to me.  That gives you legit options:

1) keep him as he dominates -  like Allen and Osuna, and you know you've got the 9th locked down for 5-6 years at below market value cost

2) trade him before he enters arbitration with his trade value maxed out by multiple years of successful closing on his resume

 

We've seen Cleveland, Toronto, Tampa, San Diego, Oakland, etc. all do this recently.  The arbitration argument is tired and dead.

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50 minutes ago, cyberer said:

Curious why people are acting like Norris wasn’t hot garbage yesterday? I watched that “save” and was reassured that holland will take over soon, possibly soon like today. 

 

I'd like to hear more.  I wasnt watching, just the box score.

 

Gave up the HR, bunt single and a HBP, but struck out 2.  

 

So, I don't know, that could definitely look different ways.

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9 minutes ago, 89Topps said:

 

I'd like to hear more.  I wasnt watching, just the box score.

 

Gave up the HR, bunt single and a HBP, but struck out 2.  

 

So, I don't know, that could definitely look different ways.

 

It looked the bad way. Tying run in scoring position after getting knocked around. 

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1 hour ago, 89Topps said:

 

I'd like to hear more.  I wasnt watching, just the box score.

 

Gave up the HR, bunt single and a HBP, but struck out 2.  

 

So, I don't know, that could definitely look different ways.

The bunt wasn’t his fault, bad throw by the 3rd baseman, the hbp was questionable, I personally think it hit the bottom of the bat. He then proceeded to k two in a row, he didn’t look that bad.

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Re: the Cardinals situation, reading Matheny's quotes and interpreting the tea leaves, I agree that it's just a matter of time until Holland is closing.  All of the quotes revolve around getting Holland up to speed in lower leverage situations, and having 'lots of options' in the bullpen until that happens - basically it all sounds like he's going to do what he has to keep the closer role warm until Holland is ready.  

 

Also going with the 'Managers are cowards' line of thinking, the GM spent a lot of money to bring in Holland for this season to help shore up a hole in the bullpen, and Matheny would really be sticking his neck out to keep using Norris as the closer when management brought in Holland to do the job.  Holland at least has to get a fair crack at it first.

 

To complicate things more, Gregerson is nearing a return, and he was the 'original' guy signed to be the closer, so I wouldn't be shocked to see him mixed and matched in the 9th as well if Holland isn't deemed ready yet.  

 

I'm not saying Norris is junk or that he should be dropped (that's all up to you and your league), and he'll likely get a couple more saves out of this arrangement, but I also don't think he's long for the job no matter how well he does.

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1 hour ago, JFS179 said:

 

Spotrac has an Arbitration Tracker which gives some idea of what you're after (link is set to relief pitcher, but you can look at any position).

 

This past offseason, Osuna and Colome both got $5.3MM in their first years of arbitration.  Betances in his first year of arbitration (in 2016) got $3MM, but got $5MM this year.  Knebel in his first year of arbitration just got $3.65, but he's also a super-2 player (which Alvarado will probably be).  

 

ETA - didn't close the loop here.  So we saw Betances earn $3MM while Knebel with 39 SVs got $3.6MM a year later (where salaries increase year over year anyway).  We saw Colome and Osuna get $300K more than Betances this year, though their 1st year of ARB and it's his 2nd (but they've been in the league longer than Knebel).

 

My point is simply that teams (in general) aren't stupid.  If a young guy is the best guy for the role, well all the better to get him in the role quickly and use your resources elsewhere.  Cody Allen was a great test case for this as the Indians put him in the 9th in his 2nd full year in the bigs in 2014.  Allen's been the Indians' primary closer ever since.

 

Allen's contracts:

2014 - $515K

2015 - $547K

2016 - $4.1MM

2017 - $7.3MM

2018 - $10.5MM

 

Those last 3 seasons are his arbitration years, but the fact remains his contracts, even via arbitration, are WAY preferable to those of a FA closer of his talent and proven ability.

 

If anything, getting the young guy in the role as fast as possible makes more sense to me.  That gives you legit options:

1) keep him as he dominates -  like Allen and Osuna, and you know you've got the 9th locked down for 5-6 years at below market value cost

2) trade him before he enters arbitration with his trade value maxed out by multiple years of successful closing on his resume

 

We've seen Cleveland, Toronto, Tampa, San Diego, Oakland, etc. all do this recently.  The arbitration argument is tired and dead.

 

This is a good point re: the usual contract argument.  Tampa is a team that is cheaper than almost every other MLB team out there, which I was thinking would mean they'd hold off giving young player a money-making role for as long as possible, but it does make sense that they use the young, team-controlled arms for all they can when they are making chump change, and then cast them off when their cost becomes prohibitive.

 

However right now the usage of Alvarado and Romo seems to heavily favor Romo being the next in line.  He has consistently been the setup man in the 8th, while Alvarado is being used earlier in games with runners on as somewhat of a hybrid fireman / LOOGY specialist.  It's not a huge leap to think that Alvarado could jump over Romo if he's the arm that's trusted with runners on base, but so far Romo has been pitching the 8th inning and doing it successfully.

 

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Thinking more about the holland thing, I'm getting a bit concerned. Indulge my tea leaf reading.

 

I think matheny is the type of dude who would resent being told what to do with his team by the front office (i.e. signing a closer after he had gone all spring presumably letting "his guys" compete for the role since february).

 

If that was the  case, the way he handled it makes perfect sense- set holland up for failure by letting him pitch immediately in a closer type tie game situation, thus justifying going back to "his guys." 

 

The tea leaves of the quotes seem to indicate it's still for now a long term plan that holland takes the role but I'm less sure now than I was that it is 100% going to happen. Maybe like 90% now. 

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22 minutes ago, handyandy86 said:

 

This is a good point re: the usual contract argument.  Tampa is a team that is cheaper than almost every other MLB team out there, which I was thinking would mean they'd hold off giving young player a money-making role for as long as possible, but it does make sense that they use the young, team-controlled arms for all they can when they are making chump change, and then cast them off when their cost becomes prohibitive.

 

However right now the usage of Alvarado and Romo seems to heavily favor Romo being the next in line.  He has consistently been the setup man in the 8th, while Alvarado is being used earlier in games with runners on as somewhat of a hybrid fireman / LOOGY specialist.  It's not a huge leap to think that Alvarado could jump over Romo if he's the arm that's trusted with runners on base, but so far Romo has been pitching the 8th inning and doing it successfully.

 

 

Agreed - the usage argument certainly points to Romo more than Alvarado, though Alvarado has gotten some 8th inning appearances too.  The experience angle goes to Romo.  I just don't buy the trade angle (teams know Sergio Romo by now - he's closed games, he's set up, he's an established guy) or the arbitration angle.

 

FWIW, I've rostered both in some leagues where I need saves.

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28 minutes ago, cyberer said:

Thinking more about the holland thing, I'm getting a bit concerned. Indulge my tea leaf reading.

 

I think matheny is the type of dude who would resent being told what to do with his team by the front office (i.e. signing a closer after he had gone all spring presumably letting "his guys" compete for the role since february).

 

If that was the  case, the way he handled it makes perfect sense- set holland up for failure by letting him pitch immediately in a closer type tie game situation, thus justifying going back to "his guys." 

 

The tea leaves of the quotes seem to indicate it's still for now a long term plan that holland takes the role but I'm less sure now than I was that it is 100% going to happen. Maybe like 90% now. 

 

Why the hell would Matheny want Holland to fail? that's bad for the team.

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3 hours ago, cyberer said:

Curious why people are acting like Norris wasn’t hot garbage yesterday? I watched that “save” and was reassured that holland will take over soon, possibly soon like today. 

 

I think they're just trying to convince themselves that he can run away with the job

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33 minutes ago, cyberer said:

Thinking more about the holland thing, I'm getting a bit concerned. Indulge my tea leaf reading.

 

I think matheny is the type of dude who would resent being told what to do with his team by the front office (i.e. signing a closer after he had gone all spring presumably letting "his guys" compete for the role since february).

 

If that was the  case, the way he handled it makes perfect sense- set holland up for failure by letting him pitch immediately in a closer type tie game situation, thus justifying going back to "his guys." 

 

The tea leaves of the quotes seem to indicate it's still for now a long term plan that holland takes the role but I'm less sure now than I was that it is 100% going to happen. Maybe like 90% now. 

 

Or maybe it went like "hey greg you ready to close as soon as we need you?"

 

"yes absolutely"

 

*cue first outing*

 

"ok that didn't go great so we're gonna give you a few outings to get your stuff together since you didn't play in spring training"

 

"I am ok with that"

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32 minutes ago, cyberer said:

Thinking more about the holland thing, I'm getting a bit concerned. Indulge my tea leaf reading.

 

I think matheny is the type of dude who would resent being told what to do with his team by the front office (i.e. signing a closer after he had gone all spring presumably letting "his guys" compete for the role since february).

 

If that was the  case, the way he handled it makes perfect sense- set holland up for failure by letting him pitch immediately in a closer type tie game situation, thus justifying going back to "his guys." 

 

The tea leaves of the quotes seem to indicate it's still for now a long term plan that holland takes the role but I'm less sure now than I was that it is 100% going to happen. Maybe like 90% now. 

 

I think you are reading way too much into something that doesn't exist there.  What manager would be upset by management added a quality experienced arm to his bullpen?  Especially as the Cardinals had so many unknowns there going into the season.  And "set holland up for failure"??  Come on he just used him as soon as he could in order to show Holland that he was their closer.    Know one could have predicted the shoddy first appearance...

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On the Holland topic - why can't Holland go multiple innings?

 

I believe Holland said something like "It's not my job to decide when I pitch."  That to me means hes not one of those guys that insists on the 9th, I don't remember if there is history of him demanding it or not though...

 

It looks like Holland needs to throw a "clean" inning (meaning no base runners?) and also go back to back games before he will have another shot at saves.  That could give Norris enough time to establish himself if he pitches well.

 

From MLB.com

 

Quote

 

In the days to follow, Matheny alerted Holland that the club planned to ease him into the role more slowly. Matheny would like to see Holland throw a clean inning. He'd like to see him pitch in back-to-back games. Though he simulated these situations during his offseason workouts, Holland admitted preparing for them at big league game speed is another thing.

"You can't emulate pitching in the big leagues unless you're actually doing that," Holland said. "It's not my job to decide when I pitch. Being a bull-headed relief pitcher, sometimes I don't want to hear what's best. But I'm at the point in my career where I'm not as sharp as I expect to be. Luckily, we have other viable options. As long as we're winning games, I'll be prepared."

Friday, that option was Norris, who was signed as ninth-inning insurance in case the club couldn't land Holland and now appears to have usurped him, at least temporarily.

 

 

 If Norris is pitching well in the 9th inning role, and Holland also gets going while he's pitching the 8th, what motivation does Matheny have to flip-flop them?  If it didn't work out he could have the fans even more on his case for trying to fix what isn't broken.

 

 

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1 hour ago, cyberer said:

Thinking more about the holland thing, I'm getting a bit concerned. Indulge my tea leaf reading.

 

I think matheny is the type of dude who would resent being told what to do with his team by the front office (i.e. signing a closer after he had gone all spring presumably letting "his guys" compete for the role since february).

 

If that was the  case, the way he handled it makes perfect sense- set holland up for failure by letting him pitch immediately in a closer type tie game situation, thus justifying going back to "his guys." 

 

The tea leaves of the quotes seem to indicate it's still for now a long term plan that holland takes the role but I'm less sure now than I was that it is 100% going to happen. Maybe like 90% now. 

 

Yea, this doesn't make a lot of sense.  I think if you asked 30 managers on March 29th if they'd like Greg Holland, 30 of them would say, "Yea, absolutely".  

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8 minutes ago, kittenmittons said:

On the Holland topic - why can't Holland go multiple innings?  

 

If Norris is pitching well in the 9th inning role, and Holland also gets going while he's pitching the 8th, what motivation does Matheny have to flip-flop them?

 

G. Holland since 2013:
245 Games

Pitched more than 1 IP:
1 Game with 2 IP

2 Games with 1.1 IP

Don't know the reason, but managers obviously do.

 

Just told you. Flexibility.

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14 minutes ago, JCD said:

 

G. Holland since 2013:
245 Games

Pitched more than 1 IP:
1 Game with 2 IP

2 Games with 1.1 IP

Don't know the reason, but managers obviously do.

 

Just told you. Flexibility.

Holland has been a "closer" type since 2013. 

 

I bet there are a lot of "Closers" who also didn't go multiple innings because they were the 9th inning guy and the manager wants them to be available multiple days in a row, which is hard if you're going multiple innings.

 

Just because he hasn't been used that way doesn't mean he can't be.  Before he was that established closer he went multiple innings all the time.

 

I think it's foolish to make assumptions that the planned guy is the guy no matter what.  This happens every single year where something unexpected happens.  Norris is free, it just costs a roster spot to see what happens.  I'd say Norris has a 40% shot at it.

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2 minutes ago, kittenmittons said:

Holland has been a "closer" type since 2013. 

 

I bet there are a lot of "Closers" who also didn't go multiple innings because they were the 9th inning guy and the manager wants them to be available multiple days in a row, which is hard if you're going multiple innings.

 

Just because he hasn't been used that way doesn't mean he can't be.  Before he was that established closer he went multiple innings all the time.

 

I think it's foolish to make assumptions that the planned guy is the guy no matter what.  This happens every single year where something unexpected happens.  Norris is free, it just costs a roster spot to see what happens.  I'd say Norris has a 40% shot at it.

 

 

Holland's velocity has been down, he hasn't built up the arm strength to be able to go multiple innings because of his lack of spring training.

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18 minutes ago, jimbo504 said:

 

 

Holland's velocity has been down, he hasn't built up the arm strength to be able to go multiple innings because of his lack of spring training.

Fair point - but that seems like a temporary situation that will probably be resolved before he's ready to assume the closer role.  He still has to throw a clean inning and go in back to back games, so unless that happens very quickly he should have his arm strength built back up.  You may even argue that he needs his velocity to be successful and the arm strength built up to go back to back days.

 

I'm not saying its definitely Norris or anything, but at this point I would not be putting all my eggs in the Holland basket with Norris being free off the wire.  Possession is 9/10ths of the law and all that...

 

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