Monday, March 29, 2010

Twins Name A Committee

When the Minnesota Twins lost closer Joe Nathan for the season to Tommy John surgery, I linked a LaVelle E. Neal III blog post where he speculated the Twins would avoid a "closer by committee" situation.

It was well-reasoned. As LVIII noted, manager Ron Gardenhire tried to use a committee of setup men in 2008, and it was an epic fail. The thinking was he would avoid such a situation for his closer's role in 2010.

Not only that, but "closer by committee" sets a manager up for a lot of second-guessing. If he designates a closer, sticks with that guy, and gets reasonable results, he doesn't have to deal with "Hey idiot, why'd you use that guy in the ninth instead of this other guy?" questions from the media after ninth-inning implosions.

Instead, Gardenhire appears ready to go with the ol' committee.

"Same with our setup roles," Gardenhire said. "We plan on bouncing those guys all around because we think we have four, five guys who are very capable going into those roles ... unless something changes."

Gardenhire said someone could emerge from the group to fill Nathan's role, but it's a lot to ask, considering Nathan's 246 saves are the most in baseball since 2004.

"We're going to try just about anything and see how we get them out," Gardenhire said.

The Twins do have options. Matt Guerrier, Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain, Jose Mijares, and maybe someday Francisco Liriano (no, I'm not letting that go) could all have a shot at closing at one point or another. Of course, if someone gets hot, expect Gardenhire -- who's far from an idiot -- to ride that horse as long as he can.

While you have to like the gusto of such a plan, it does set the manager up for a long year of stupid second-guessing reporters.

You put yourself in that position, you run the risk of ending up like Hal McRae.

Now put that in your (bleep)in' pipe and smoke it.

No comments: