Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Off-Season Priorities - #3 – Closer

The Phillies do not currently have a closer. They need one. Here are the free agent options.

Ryan Madson
Pros: Madson has to be the first choice to be the Phillies closer for2012. He’s done nothing but improve over the last few seasons and despite not being named closer to start 2011, he ended up with the job and performed commendably. He ended the year with 32 saves and a 2.37 ERA. He’ll likely be a Type A free agent, which will reduce interest by some clubs.
Cons: Money and that damn Scott Boras. Boras got Rafael Soriano “closer money” (3 years, $35 million) from the Yankees last season. Now, noboby but the Yankees would pay that money and nobody will give Ryan Madson that sort of money this year. But, three years seems about right and Boras will try to take the deal to $30 million… but he’ll fail. I see three years (2 with an option?)at about $8-9 million per year.

Jon Papelbon
Pros: He’s pitched and succeeded in many high pressure situations. He’s played for a winner and is accustomed to playoff baseball. He strikes out a ton of batters and doesn’t walk many (87:10 in 64 innings in 2011).
Cons: The Red Sox gave him $12 million to avoid arbitration last season. He’s going to want major cash.

Heath Bell
Pros: He’ll probably be slightly cheaper than Madson because of hisage. Also because he’s older he’ll have less leverage in terms of years.
Cons: Buyer beware on Heath Bell, because he may be a huge disappointment for somebody. His “baseball card numbers” look great. 43 saves. 2.44 ERA. But a closer inspection of his stats looks troublesome.  He benefitted from a low BABIP* (.261) and his xFIP was 3.67. The biggest reason for the rise in xFIP was very poor strikeout numbers. Bell struck out only 51 batters in 62 innings. In 2010, Bell’s BABIP was .322 but it didn’t affect his overall numbers much because he struck out almost four more batters per nine innings compared to 2011. If Bell has a 2011 strikeout numbers next season, you could be looking at a 3.50+ ERA and number of blown saves.

(*It’s interesting to look at Bell’s BABIP. His lifetime BABIP is.301. Mmmmm, regression to the mean. But during his first three years in the league with the Mets, it was close to .360. Since he went to the Padres, it’s been close to .280. Interpret that on your own…)

Jonathan Broxton
Pros: He’s been helping the Phillies win games for years. He’ll be dirt cheap.
Cons: He probably can’t close games anymore, which is a prerequisite for the job. He’s coming off a weird elbow injury and he’ll likely never throw 99-100 again and he doesn’t really have any effective secondary or off-speed pitches.

Matt Capps
Pros:  He’s one of the youngest FA closers available.
Cons: He wasn’t very good in 2011 and he hasn’t been very consistent, alternating between good and bad years. While this pattern would have him pitching well in 2012, I wouldn’t bet on it. I also don’t trust a closer that doesn’t get strike outs. Capps on had 34 Ks in 65 innings.

Frank Francisco
Pros: He’s probably the cheapest option. He also has good strikeout numbers, getting about 10 per 9 innings.
Cons: He’s not really a candidate to be a full-time closer. Instead, he’ sa guy you’d get to set-up or go “closer by committee.”

Pros: Lots of material to blog about.
Cons: Giant a-hole.

Other closers that could become free agents if their team options are declined -  Francisco Cordero, Jon Rauch, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde, Joe Nathan, and Kyle Farnsworth.


GM-Carson said...

I'd like to see Madson locked up for 3 years between $24-27M.

If not him, then I'd go cheap (instead of Bell or Papelbon) and sign two of the following- Frank Francisco, Matt Capps, Jon Rauch, Joe Nathan, or Kyle Farnsworth.

You might be able to lock any of those up on a 2 year $4-5M deal each. Then you're getting 2 possible closers for the price of 1.

ripjgarcia said...

The only reason I'm signing any of those 4 guys in lieu of Madson is if I'm giving Tony Bastard an opportunity as well.

Preserve Jon said...

Not sure I could stand to see Rauch's stupid neck tattoo 3 or 4 times a week.

Preserve Jon said...

Farnsworth also has potential disaster written all over him. I've never been a fan of him.

Frank Francisco seems like a nice option.

SirAlden said...

Madson - Papelbon - K-Rod

Or 2 of GM-Carson's List - minus Farnsworth.

Bob D said...

Madson Papelbon, Bell, K-Rod and Capps all for $1mil per year each

ripjgarcia said...

Preserve Jon, Francisco imploded (for periods of time) not once, but twice this year as I recall.

Randy said...

any one catch the article on about the Phils winning the fantasy WS...on a Ryan Howard, 7th game, walk-off HR?? hahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha (I gotta laugh or I'd cry.)

GM-Carson said...

Neither laugh nor cry, just get pissed.

ripjgarcia said...


(First Pitch Guys below and then... their Michael Martinez below. Lawless. .207 BA/.521 OPS)

Gibson, Sutter and Wainwright -- who missed this season because of injury -- closed the last four World Series won by the Cardinals, in 1964, '67, '82 and 2006, respectively.

Along with the ceremonial first pitches, pregame ceremonies include former Cardinal Tom Lawless, along with a Boys and Girls Clubs of America member, delivering the official game ball to the mound.

Andrew said...

Its interesting that Madson has 2/3 of a great season closing, and all the sudden he's an "elite closer." No offense, I love the guy and hope we re-sign him, but seriously people, its takes more than 50 innings or so to prove yourself.

GM-Carson said...

I don't consider him an elite closer, but he is an elite setup man that has now gotten his feet wet in closing and succeeded.

I think it takes at least 2, more so 3 years of consistency to prove you're an elite closer though. Something I'd like to see Madson do/become as a Phillie.

Corey said...

no one here thinks madson is an "elite" closer, but after papelbon, he's the best available, and that will cost whatever team signs him.

as an aside, i don't watch baseball that doesn't involve pennsylvania team, but i did just check, and seeing larussa and "coke-nose" washington on the front page made my heart sink...

Andrew said...

ok, maybe not elite closer... but the money Boras will try and get for him will make no sense

Preserve Jon said...

Even with Boras as his agent Madson improbably gave the team a hometown discount after '08. Also, I would consider Madson elite. He's consistently performed above average in the roles he's been asked to fill for 5 full seasons now (and 6 out of 8). He's dependable and reliable out of the bullpen, which is something few arms out there can claim. Also, if memory serves, he's never had a major arm injury. Another rarity.

Sign him.

GM-Carson said...

He's never had a major arm injury...that means he's due then right?