Posts Tagged ‘Salomon Torres’

Who to close?

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

“I don’t deserve that ninth inning right now. It’s pretty simple,”

Those were the words of Eric Gagne after today’s loss. Obviously he was disappointed with the two runs he surrendered in the ninth, but it’s never good to hear that from the $10 million arm brought in specifically to serve in that inning. With five blown saves and today’s backwards tie-breaker, a change may be warranted and Gagne may have a point. With all that’s happened in the late innings of this young season, who should close?

The team has numerous capable arms to hold the closer role and/or man the ninth inning in situations like today. It may be unpopular, but I have my own take on the Brewers closer pecking order.

1. Eric Gagne: Plain and simple, Gagne was brought in this off season and paid handsomely to be the team’s closer. He may be immersed in one of the most wretched slumps in recorded pitching history, but I feel he should retain the role. Excluding a few control issues, he is making good pitches that are just being hit or - though I hate to drag umpires into this - not being called strikes. The one scary observation is a staggering loss in the velocity of his fastball.

One must also dissect exactly why some of these saves were blown. Most were due to his pitching, but I remember a certain Rickie Weeks throw, nay, bounce that failed to complete what would have been a game-ending double play. The best thing that can be done to resurrect the once dangerously dominant finnisher’s season in Brew City is to keep him in.

2. Guillermo Mota: Excluding a few lapses in perfection, Mota’s opperendi this season has been great. He can bring the heat, work out of pressure situations, work on short rest and go more than one inning. RotoWorld too alludes to Mota being a good choice to take the ninth should Gagne be extradited from the role.

3. David Riske or Salomon Torres: To me they are both equally fitting and equally unfit for basically the same reason. They both have saves under their belt and have both held down setup roles. Torres can pitch almost every day so it’d be a shame to displace a workhorse arm to what wold amount to significantly fewer innings. And Riske just hasn’t been too great to date, though he seems to be coming around. Closer by committee flat out does not work, and probably would not work here either.

4. Mitch Stetter: He’s a favorite of certain radio personalities on our terrible sports talk station to garner the closer’s role, but he’s one of only two lefties in the pen. With Brian Shouse as more of a pure situational lefty whose outing often last 1/3 or 2/3 of an inning, Stetter seems better fit for his current form of use. File Seth McClung and his current awesomeness in the “don’t mess with a good thing” file too.

5. Derrick Turnbow: It’s a fifth option for good reason. Need I spell out why this would be risky and have potential for more bad than good? No.

6. Dave Bush to close and either bring up Jeff Weaver or move Seth McClung to a starter role: This crazy, but Bush did close in college and - if he can pull it together for just one inning at a time, he could be great… then again if Gagne could just pull it together for an inning there would be no need for this post in the first place. This proposition has next to no likelihood of taking place; let’s save Weaver for when another starter goes down.

7. Make a trade: But for who and with what? The only teams I know with a plethora of qualified closers is my ironically-named fantasy team “Cubs Jr.” (make an offer, Jared) and… well, the Brewers.

Hate it as you may, I just hope Gagne’s statement was merely out of frustration and that he remains on the mound to end games the way we all know he’s capable of.

Who knows how this will all shape up, but you can be sure the next time Eric Gagne is called to the mound I will stand and cheer because he is a Brewer and he is trying his damnedest to do his job, and so long as he is a Brewer, I have to hope he will.

Hooking a Salomon

Friday, December 7th, 2007

To echo countless other articles, aparently the winter meeting weren’t so fruitless for the Brewers after all. The day after their Nashville departure, the front office emerged with a transaction, dealing minor leaguers Mariano Salas and Kevin Roberts to Pittsburgh for 35-year-old former closer Salomon Torres.

A deal of this magnitude won’t likely significantly change the state of any team involved, but what it does tell me is that the Brewers know their needs, however they won’t sell the farm to address them.

Though this move further all but cements Turnbow into the 2008 closer, the aquisition does also bring another experienced arm into a bullpen that basically spelled the weakness (Minus Coco, that is) of the crew one season ago. I doubt I’m going too far in assuming that Torres will be used primarily in a non-closer relief role, but if needed, he too can close out games. He notched 12 saves last season before surrendering his role to Matt Capps and another 12 the season before that. If needed (and no further bullpen arms are brought in) Torres would probably be the fourth reliever called upon to fill a game-ending role behind Turnbow, Riske and McClung.

I never like to see two pitching prospects (23 and 26 respectively) go to bring in a veteran name, but this does tell me is that Melvin wants to, and believes his team can, win now. Torres is a short term potential leak-stopper who isn’t breaking the bank with his 3.2 MM salary. His walk totals have always been low (the anti-Turnbow, if you will), he can throw virtually every day and his arm is only 31 because he took a four season hiatus to coach in the minors…so he can teach our young arms a thing or two. As a fellow member of the “I plunked someone in the face” club, he could start his veteran coaching with the now headcase Matt Wise. He’s also the guy responsible for shattering Sammy Sosa’s helmet when he plunked him in the head with a heater and you have to love that!

I’m not singing from the rooftops on this move, but I like what it says about this year’s implications - changes are necessary but not desperately necessary. Hopefully this deal doesn’t mark the conclusion of a fairly uneventful offseason. I hope Salomon is just an apetizer and the main course still to come.

A Mench/Sheets/prospect for Carl Crawford/prospect deal is what I’m craving. Will it come? No. But a man can dream. Network Member

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