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marcshoe
09-03-2011, 07:50 PM
If there's a thread already there, I'm sorry; I couldn't find it.

What do you think the Reds should do as far as the closer role goes in 2012? I'm fairly opposed to expending resources on this when the rotation (and I believe left field) needs an upgrade. Personally, I might try to see if Cordero would extend cheap for a year and work Arredondo into the slot. If he won't (and I wouldn't if I were him; he could get more than he's worth on the market) I'd hold auditions in the spring rather than spending for a closer.

But Chapman goes in the rotation. Period.

Any thoughts?

RedsManRick
09-03-2011, 08:22 PM
Volquez. He can come in, throw 96mph for 25 pitches and be done. I know it's counter intuitive given his 1st inning struggles, but I'd give it a try.

hebroncougar
09-03-2011, 08:24 PM
Volquez. He can come in, throw 96mph for 25 pitches and be done. I know it's counter intuitive given his 1st inning struggles, but I'd give it a try.

I'd try it starting about 3 days from now. September should be all about auditions.

RedsManRick
09-03-2011, 08:43 PM
I'd try it starting about 3 days from now. September should be all about auditions.

My thoughts exactly.

Tom Servo
09-03-2011, 08:51 PM
If only LeCure weren't so prone to the longball, I would heavily consider him. He doesn't have the best stuff in the world but he seems to have the "go after them and get it done" mentality in whatever role (starter, long-man, reliever) they put him in.

Guacarock
09-03-2011, 09:28 PM
Sign me up for the Scrap Irony plan, calling for the Reds to target the Giants' Sergio Romo as our next closer. Scrap Irony actually proposed that we work a blockbuster with the Giants over the winter, trading Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs for Romo, Freddy Sanchez and Eric Surkamp.

Regardless of whether we pursue that particular mega-deal, we ought to set our sights on Romo. He's definitely closer material with a 1.60 ERA this season, 56 strikeouts in 39.1 IP and only two home runs allowed over that span. If he wasn't operating under the shadow of Brian Wilson, we'd all be hearing a lot more about him.

The Giants are notoriously tightfisted about trading away arms, but given their offensive collapse this season, they're going to need to back off that hardline stance. Seems like we ought to be able to pry away Romo, at least. He's not a starter, or their closer, so if we dangle the right bat(s) in the right deal, he could be our successor to Cordero.

He's doubly appealing because he would be a cheap solution to this problem, and his arrival would allow the Reds to seriously entertain moving Chapman back into the rotation, thus potentially helping us to shore up another one of our weaknesses. If Chapman proves he can't pitch deep into games, no sweat. He can then go back to the pen to set up for Romo or compete for the closer's job himself. I'm not going to argue Chapman has to be a starter to be an effective pitcher for us, only that we have enough invested in him to give it a try and see where that leads.

fearofpopvol1
09-03-2011, 11:23 PM
My guess is Chapman ends up in the closer spot

dougdirt
09-04-2011, 12:46 AM
Sign me up for the Scrap Irony plan, calling for the Reds to target the Giants' Sergio Romo as our next closer. Scrap Irony actually proposed that we work a blockbuster with the Giants over the winter, trading Brandon Phillips and Drew Stubbs for Romo, Freddy Sanchez and Eric Surkamp.

Regardless of whether we pursue that particular mega-deal, we ought to set our sights on Romo. He's definitely closer material with a 1.60 ERA this season, 56 strikeouts in 39.1 IP and only two home runs allowed over that span. If he wasn't operating under the shadow of Brian Wilson, we'd all be hearing a lot more about him.

The Giants are notoriously tightfisted about trading away arms, but given their offensive collapse this season, they're going to need to back off that hardline stance. Seems like we ought to be able to pry away Romo, at least. He's not a starter, or their closer, so if we dangle the right bat(s) in the right deal, he could be our successor to Cordero.

He's doubly appealing because he would be a cheap solution to this problem, and his arrival would allow the Reds to seriously entertain moving Chapman back into the rotation, thus potentially helping us to shore up another one of our weaknesses. If Chapman proves he can't pitch deep into games, no sweat. He can then go back to the pen to set up for Romo or compete for the closer's job himself. I'm not going to argue Chapman has to be a starter to be an effective pitcher for us, only that we have enough invested in him to give it a try and see where that leads.

I am not opposed to this type of plan. Going for a current set up type of reliever who is dominant, but doesn't have "saves" so won't be asking for or be offered "saves" money to close. While I am sure there are some guys who couldn't handle the pressure of closing, I also feel its a major minority of relievers who fall into that category.

Wheelhouse
09-05-2011, 10:18 AM
Volquez. He can come in, throw 96mph for 25 pitches and be done. I know it's counter intuitive given his 1st inning struggles, but I'd give it a try.

I think that's a brilliant idea--I think his first inning struggles come from being a little too loose mentally in the 1st. Bring him in in a pressure situation.

Roy Tucker
09-05-2011, 10:39 AM
I'd try it starting about 3 days from now. September should be all about auditions.

Intriguing to put Volquez in the closer spot. It would either be spectacularly good or train-wreck bad. I'd agree to give him a tryout.

But it won't happen. Cordero is the 2011 closer, period, end of story. Word would have to come from on high to tell Dusty something other than that.

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 11:00 AM
I know this won't be popular here, but I'd personally be STUNNED if the Reds don't re-do Cordero's contract and extend him. I know he's had his struggles, but he's also gotten the job done for the majority of his tenure here. The biggest complaint I've seen/heard about Cordero was the money we signed him for. If it's for a much smaller amount...would there be as much complaining? Especially since if we have a closer for next year it means Chapman becomes a starter. I personally don't like any of the current closer options on the club outside or Cordero. So if we don't resign him...I want to get somebody else from the outside. No Chapman, Burton, Masset, Volquez, Arroyo, etc. (although I must admit, the Arroyo idea is intriguing)

mattfeet
09-05-2011, 11:17 AM
^^Agreed. Id LOVE to re-sign Cordero for a 2yr/12-14mil deal. I think that's fair for both parties.

-Matt

nate
09-05-2011, 11:57 AM
^^Agreed. Id LOVE to re-sign Cordero for a 2yr/12-14mil deal. I think that's fair for both parties.

-Matt

As long as one of the parties is the Cardinals or Cubs and the other Cordero, I'm cool.

Cordero's K/9 this season is over 3 less than his career and nearly 2 less than last season. His BB/9 is better (he's almost "Volquez-like" in this regard) and he's kept the ball in the park. However, he's also enjoyed a .205 BABIP against vs. a career .295 mark. While a 4.03 FIP is probably averageish, me, myself, personally would not pay $6-7 XXL for that kind of performance.

I'd go with a "closer" committee, myself. Actually, if the Reds ask me to manage in the next 15 minutes, I wouldn't even have a closer. I tell them there are no pre-defined roles and we'll strictly go on situations while chewing on an unlit, half-smoked cigar.

I'll have the cigar, not them...they're athletes, I'm the manager.

Scrap Irony
09-05-2011, 12:03 PM
I want no part of Cordero as closer. He's had a fine season and a great career. Let him finish it somewhere else.

RedsManRick
09-05-2011, 12:22 PM
I want no part of Cordero as closer. He's had a fine season and a great career. Let him finish it somewhere else.

Exactly. There are 135 qualified relievers in MLB this year. Cordero is solidly below average. Here's how the Reds relievers rate:


IP ERA FIP xFIP xFIP Rank
Bill Bray 43.0 2.72 2.88 4.13 32
Aroldis Chapman 41.2 3.89 3.26 3.26 NA (just missed the cut)
Nick Masset 63.1 3.98 3.49 3.77 65
Sam LeCure 47.2 3.21 3.92 3.56 90
Coco Cordero 60.2 2.37 4.03 3.97 97
Jose Arredondo 44.2 3.22 4.21 4.35 110
Logan Ondrusek 54.2 2.80 4.28 4.39 114

Cordero has a .205 BABIP this year. If he weren't already a closer, nobody would think of making him one. In fact, he's the kind of guy that would be fighting for a middle relief job with most teams. If he weren't already a Red, nobody would be arguing that we should pursue him in FA.

If Cordero were special, I could understand an argument for wanting to pay him. But he's not. Paying good money for mediocre relievers is about the most wasteful thing a team can do. Thanks for your service Fransisco. I'm sure you're a great dude. But the Reds can't afford to spend money on a brand when the production is just mediocre.

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 02:08 PM
Exactly. There are 135 qualified relievers in MLB this year. Cordero is solidly below average. Here's how the Reds relievers rate:


IP ERA FIP xFIP xFIP Rank
Bill Bray 43.0 2.72 2.88 4.13 32
Aroldis Chapman 41.2 3.89 3.26 3.26 NA (just missed the cut)
Nick Masset 63.1 3.98 3.49 3.77 65
Sam LeCure 47.2 3.21 3.92 3.56 90
Coco Cordero 60.2 2.37 4.03 3.97 97
Jose Arredondo 44.2 3.22 4.21 4.35 110
Logan Ondrusek 54.2 2.80 4.28 4.39 114Cordero has a .205 BABIP this year. If he weren't already a closer, nobody would think of making him one. In fact, he's the kind of guy that would be fighting for a middle relief job with most teams. If he weren't already a Red, nobody would be arguing that we should pursue him in FA.

If Cordero were special, I could understand an argument for wanting to pay him. But he's not. Paying good money for mediocre relievers is about the most wasteful thing a team can do. Thanks for your service Fransisco. I'm sure you're a great dude. But the Reds can't afford to spend money on a brand when the production is just mediocre.

Don't just about all relievers/closers scream small sample size though? I agree that Cordero's numbers this year are on the lucky side. However, does nobody here remember the bullpen situations we saw BEFORE he arrived? IMO the biggest plus to bringing him back is that it almost assures that we'll see Chapman switched to starting. If he's NOT brought back, the temptation for them to try him out as a closer will be just TOO tempting for them to resist. And Chapman's arm and talent will just be wasted in such a low number of innings IMO.

RedsManRick
09-05-2011, 03:17 PM
Don't just about all relievers/closers scream small sample size though? I agree that Cordero's numbers this year are on the lucky side. However, does nobody here remember the bullpen situations we saw BEFORE he arrived? IMO the biggest plus to bringing him back is that it almost assures that we'll see Chapman switched to starting. If he's NOT brought back, the temptation for them to try him out as a closer will be just TOO tempting for them to resist. And Chapman's arm and talent will just be wasted in such a low number of innings IMO.

Sure, all relievers are subject to small samples. But all that does is make us question to what degree a given observed performance is really a function of skill. This isn't news. In his time as a Red, Cordero has been an average at best major league reliever. People just don't appreciate how many relievers there are who miss bats and throw strikes.

As for the past, well, it's the past. I'm not going to make a decision about how much to pay Cordero based on the ineptitude previous GMs have shown in acquiring quality relievers cheaply. You wouldn't pay ~10% of your payroll for an all-field, no hit SS nor for a platoon LF who could only hit lefties and even then, just pretty well. But that's what relievers are like.

Frankly, I just don't understand the rest of your logic. It isn't like we get to make this decision and then current Reds management handles the rest. That's just silly. Either we're making a recommendation or we're not. Imagining we can influence just one decisions doesn't really make sense. If the Reds think about pitching talent as I do and would like them to, the same thought process which leads to not retaining Cordero puts Chapman in the rotation.

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 04:01 PM
Sure, all relievers are subject to small samples. But all that does is make us question to what degree a given observed performance is really a function of skill. This isn't news. In his time as a Red, Cordero has been an average at best major league reliever. People just don't appreciate how many relievers there are who miss bats and throw strikes.

As for the past, well, it's the past. I'm not going to make a decision about how much to pay Cordero based on the ineptitude previous GMs have shown in acquiring quality relievers cheaply. You wouldn't pay ~10% of your payroll for an all-field, no hit SS nor for a platoon LF who could only hit lefties and even then, just pretty well. But that's what relievers are like.

Frankly, I just don't understand the rest of your logic. It isn't like we get to make this decision and then current Reds management handles the rest. That's just silly. Either we're making a recommendation or we're not. Imagining we can influence just one decisions doesn't really make sense. If the Reds think about pitching talent as I do and would like them to, the same thought process which leads to not retaining Cordero puts Chapman in the rotation.

Well, the way I'm looking at it is this. If the Reds don't resign Cordero, they have 2 options. Get a new closer from outside via trade or FA. Either way, it's going to be extremely expensive as closers are overpriced as a general rule IMO. The other option is to promote a current reds reliever to the closer slot. And again, IMO, there's nobody on the roster that I like in that role. And if forced to choose, I firmly believe that the Reds FO would choose Chapman as that in-house option.

I just think that we could get Cordero for a cheaper amount than what we would get via FA or via a trade. He clearly wants to be here, and I firmly think we can get him at a much cheaper price.

In his time here, he's gotten 143 saves and blown 23. I'm sure there are some that have had better results in these 4 years...but there aren't many. As for the K's, you "can" be a successful closer without a high K rate. He makes things interesting and can drive fans nuts, but at the end of the day...he usually gets the job done. We've seen it time and time again relievers who have good numbers simply crash and burn when thrust into the closers role. I know some don't buy into the "pressure" and "different mindset" stuff, but I certainly prefer someone with experience in those situations to someone who just has excellent stuff.

I also realize that he's getting up there in years too so he's due to decline. Well, if he does and we're forced to move him out of the closers role, he can still be of value as a set-up man or middle reliever. But regardless, we just don't have an in-house option that's ready right now and I think he'll provide the most viable option for a cheaper rate than FA.

jojo
09-05-2011, 04:12 PM
http://cdn0.sbnation.com/legacy_images/dawgsports/images/admin/Closer_Kyra_Sedgwick.jpg

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 04:13 PM
Yes, but what will it take to sign her Jojo? Small market team and all. :O)

jojo
09-05-2011, 04:30 PM
Yes, but what will it take to sign her Jojo? Small market team and all. :O)

The Reds might have the inside track.....

http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/slides/photos/000/405/554/BaconandHanigan_display_image.jpg?1285084655

marcshoe
09-05-2011, 04:32 PM
Forget it. She's more overrated than CoCo. Have you seen her Babip?

marcshoe
09-05-2011, 05:09 PM
So, anybody see Dontrelle as a potential closer? I know such things were mentioned when the Reds signed him, but haven't heard people promoting this since he went into the rotation. I would hope the reds would spend money on a good starter in the offseason, which could set up this move.

Ron Madden
09-05-2011, 05:19 PM
^^Agreed. Id LOVE to re-sign Cordero for a 2yr/12-14mil deal. I think that's fair for both parties.

-Matt

Be careful what you wish for.

Most fans in Reds Country wanted the Reds to offer Arthur Rhodes a 2 yr. deal.

RedsManRick
09-05-2011, 05:21 PM
So, anybody see Dontrelle as a potential closer? I know such things were mentioned when the Reds signed him, but haven't heard people promoting this since he went into the rotation. I would hope the reds would spend money on a good starter in the offseason, which could set up this move.

No thank you. He's a LOOGY. Pretty much always has been. He could be a contributor as the lefty middle reliever, but otherwise, no thanks.



2011 IP K% BB% FIP xFIP
vL 14.2 32.1 3.8 2.20 2.08
vR 44.2 12.6 12.1 4.77 4.46

Career IP K% BB% FIP xFIP
vL 223.0 29.4 8.3 2.52 2.90
vR 982.1 14.3 9.6 4.61 4.70

dougdirt
09-05-2011, 05:27 PM
Well, the way I'm looking at it is this. If the Reds don't resign Cordero, they have 2 options. Get a new closer from outside via trade or FA. Either way, it's going to be extremely expensive as closers are overpriced as a general rule IMO. The other option is to promote a current reds reliever to the closer slot. And again, IMO, there's nobody on the roster that I like in that role. And if forced to choose, I firmly believe that the Reds FO would choose Chapman as that in-house option.

Why can't the Reds just acquire a good reliever who isn't a "closer" but has a strong K/BB and misses plenty of bats? Closers, as you noted are expensive. Set up guys aren't as expensive. Find one of those guys. Make a deal. Pay that guy to close your games.

jojo
09-05-2011, 05:44 PM
So, anybody see Dontrelle as a potential closer? I know such things were mentioned when the Reds signed him, but haven't heard people promoting this since he went into the rotation. I would hope the reds would spend money on a good starter in the offseason, which could set up this move.

LOOGY.

nate
09-05-2011, 07:04 PM
Well, the way I'm looking at it is this. If the Reds don't resign Cordero, they have 2 options. Get a new closer from outside via trade or FA. Either way, it's going to be extremely expensive as closers are overpriced as a general rule IMO. The other option is to promote a current reds reliever to the closer slot. And again, IMO, there's nobody on the roster that I like in that role. And if forced to choose, I firmly believe that the Reds FO would choose Chapman as that in-house option.

Another way of looking at it: don't overpay for someone who gets a lot of "saves."


I just think that we could get Cordero for a cheaper amount than what we would get via FA or via a trade. He clearly wants to be here, and I firmly think we can get him at a much cheaper price.

Then you've paid for production you have for cheap/free in players like LeCure/Masset/Volquez/Bray and no longer have that money to fix real problems


In his time here, he's gotten 143 saves and blown 23. I'm sure there are some that have had better results in these 4 years...but there aren't many. As for the K's, you "can" be a successful closer without a high K rate. He makes things interesting and can drive fans nuts, but at the end of the day...he usually gets the job done.

In the end, given a similar number of opportunities, most relief pitchers will get the job done.


We've seen it time and time again relievers who have good numbers simply crash and burn when thrust into the closers role. I know some don't buy into the "pressure" and "different mindset" stuff, but I certainly prefer someone with experience in those situations to someone who just has excellent stuff.

I'll take the stuff every time. It will eventually become experienced. The experienced won't regain the stuff.


I also realize that he's getting up there in years too so he's due to decline. Well, if he does and we're forced to move him out of the closers role, he can still be of value as a set-up man or middle reliever.

Not for what he'll cost when the team has more glaring needs.


But regardless, we just don't have an in-house option that's ready right now

Yes we do.


and I think he'll provide the most viable option for a cheaper rate than FA.

I'm unconvinced.

Scrap Irony
09-05-2011, 07:06 PM
Who do you like, nate, as closer?

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 07:48 PM
Why can't the Reds just acquire a good reliever who isn't a "closer" but has a strong K/BB and misses plenty of bats? Closers, as you noted are expensive. Set up guys aren't as expensive. Find one of those guys. Make a deal. Pay that guy to close your games.

It sounds good in theory...but think about how many times we see relievers absolutely fail when thrust into the closers role. I'm all for adding a top notch reliever...but whether we agree with this or not, not everyone is suited for or can handle the closer role.

Just over the past couple of years I've seen many a Reds name thrown out there as being the "next" closer. Burton, Masset, Arredondo, Chapman...now I'm reading Arroyo, Volquez, Bailey, Boxberger, etc, etc, etc. We went with retreads in the closers role for years and we consistently had a HORRIBLE bullpen. Once we added a legitimate established closer, the pen turned around like night and day. I'm not saying Cordero is a great reliever, I'm not even saying he's a great closer...I'm saying he's better at that role than anybody we currently have, and most likely cheaper than any established guy we don't have.

But let me reiterate, I'm not against us bringing in a different established closer. But just a guy who's had good bullpen numbers but no closing experience? No thanks. Not for that role for a club who thinks to contend next year.

_Sir_Charles_
09-05-2011, 07:54 PM
Another way of looking at it: don't overpay for someone who gets a lot of "saves."

I agree. And as I said, I think Cordero will sign for considerably less than people think.


In the end, given a similar number of opportunities, most relief pitchers will get the job done.

We've seen time and time again, that this just isn't really true. Not in THAT particular role. Why? I have no idea, because you'd think that the numbers would translate to the closer situation...but for some reason, they don't.


I'll take the stuff every time. It will eventually become experienced. The experienced won't regain the stuff.

Again, I agree. But for some reason, Dusty won't give anybody else the opportunity to attempt to close out games. Personally, I thought Masset could've handled it if given a chance. But he was pretty disappointing this year...in a closers role, it would've been even MORE disappointing I'd think.


Yes we do.

Who? Who is it that you think is the in-house candidate to replace Cordero as the closer?

RedsManRick
09-05-2011, 08:03 PM
We've seen time and time again, that this just isn't really true. Not in THAT particular role. Why? I have no idea, because you'd think that the numbers would translate to the closer situation...but for some reason, they don't.

Just curious, but do we have data on this? I know that's the common refrain, but most of examples I'm aware of are one where a guy struggles and then is immediately removed from the role, thus denying him the larger sample that would bear out the decision. Essentially, it's a bias in opportunity backed by a narrative.

I look at a guy like Kyle Farnsworth who would previously have been placed in the "isn't cut out for it" box but who has been among the best closers in baseball this year. I wonder, how many other guys got that label but never had the chance to show that it was just a bad stretch like every pitcher goes through from time to time.

mth123
09-05-2011, 08:15 PM
I hope the Reds just use Chapman at this point. As a starter, he'll be just be another question mark when more certainties are needed. I'd just as soon save the financial and trade resources for the rotation. Not only would I let Cordero go, but I'd deal Masset or possibly non-tender him since I think he'll get over $3 Million in arb.

Three rightiies (Arredondo, Ondrusek and Lecure), three lefties (Bray, Horst and Wood) and Chapman closing. They'll have plenty of pen candidates to rotate through with minor league free agents and kids taking a step forward (Boxberger for example). Guys like Fisher, Smith, Maloney and Burton may be back as alternatives and possibly Volquez has a spot as a 6th starter if he's back. The more I think about it, the more I think the Reds should just go with what they have and focus on the rotation.

nate
09-05-2011, 08:15 PM
Who do you like, nate, as closer?

Well, I don't like the idea of closers or, for lack of a better term, "Accumulators of Save Statistics." (there's an acronym!) I would have a bullpen by committee. I like Rick's idea of Volquez to the bullpen. I also think Bray and LeCure have been pretty good this year. I think if there are needs in the bullpen, they can be addressed better than by resigning Cordero.

nate
09-05-2011, 08:21 PM
I agree. And as I said, I think Cordero will sign for considerably less than people think.

How much is that?


We've seen time and time again, that this just isn't really true. Not in THAT particular role. Why? I have no idea, because you'd think that the numbers would translate to the closer situation...but for some reason, they don't.

No, we've actually never seen it. No one is ever given enough of a chance to actually "see" that, yes, Jeff Reliefpitcher cannot pitch in situations where he might triumphantly leave the field with his teammates but somehow, can pitch in situations where he knows he'll have a bird's eye view of the action in the dugout after throwing 20 or pitches.


Again, I agree. But for some reason, Dusty won't give anybody else the opportunity to attempt to close out games. Personally, I thought Masset could've handled it if given a chance. But he was pretty disappointing this year...in a closers role, it would've been even MORE disappointing I'd think.

I think Masset has pitched better than Cordero this season. If Masset had Cordero's luck, we wouldn't be having this exchange.


Who? Who is it that you think is the in-house candidate to replace Cordero as the closer?

I wouldn't have a closer.

_Sir_Charles_
09-06-2011, 10:18 AM
Just curious, but do we have data on this? I know that's the common refrain, but most of examples I'm aware of are one where a guy struggles and then is immediately removed from the role, thus denying him the larger sample that would bear out the decision. Essentially, it's a bias in opportunity backed by a narrative.

I look at a guy like Kyle Farnsworth who would previously have been placed in the "isn't cut out for it" box but who has been among the best closers in baseball this year. I wonder, how many other guys got that label but never had the chance to show that it was just a bad stretch like every pitcher goes through from time to time.

I certainly don't have data on it. I guess there may be some out there, but I was only going on memory here. So take that for what it's worth.

_Sir_Charles_
09-06-2011, 10:27 AM
How much is that?

An actual dollar amount? I don't know, but considering his age and the fact that he WANTS to come back...I'd think the difference will be considerable.


No, we've actually never seen it. No one is ever given enough of a chance to actually "see" that, yes, Jeff Reliefpitcher cannot pitch in situations where he might triumphantly leave the field with his teammates but somehow, can pitch in situations where he knows he'll have a bird's eye view of the action in the dugout after throwing 20 or pitches.

I'm at work right now so I can't really research this right now, but I think this really depends on what you consider to be "given enough of a chance". I know I've seen lots of guys over the years be given a shot to be closer only to see it bomb after a few months. Most teams can't afford to allow a bad reliever stay in the closer role for more than that without a huge amount of backlash from the fanbase. If I get some time later this evening, I'll see if I can get some actual names & numbers though.


I think Masset has pitched better than Cordero this season. If Masset had Cordero's luck, we wouldn't be having this exchange.

I wouldn't have a closer.

That's more than likely true. But until he's given a shot at the different role, we'll never know.

IslandRed
09-06-2011, 10:44 AM
Just curious, but do we have data on this? I know that's the common refrain, but most of examples I'm aware of are one where a guy struggles and then is immediately removed from the role, thus denying him the larger sample that would bear out the decision. Essentially, it's a bias in opportunity backed by a narrative.

I look at a guy like Kyle Farnsworth who would previously have been placed in the "isn't cut out for it" box but who has been among the best closers in baseball this year. I wonder, how many other guys got that label but never had the chance to show that it was just a bad stretch like every pitcher goes through from time to time.

Just for my part, I think there's no question it's different psychologically. Setup men lose leads; closers lose games. That's a different manner of walk back to the dugout, and while all pitchers are used to pressure to some degree, there's pressure and then there's Pressure, and not all pitchers are the same. Simply put, some guys bounce back from I Lost The Game better than others, and it's probably evident to guys in the clubhouse long before it shows up in an acceptable stat sample.

You made a great point, though -- this is not necessarily a permanent condition. Taking golf as an example, there are plenty of golfers who gagged the first time or two they were in position to win a pro tournament who later figured out how to close the deal. But, conversely, the entire argument of "most any decent reliever can close" argues against patiently waiting for a guy to get it together. If they're interchangeable, it shouldn't be an issue to move on to the next guy in line if the first one struggles.

Having said all that, I'm actually a proponent of the fireman-over-closer theory of bullpen management, but these days that idea gets about as far as returning to a four-man rotation.

marcshoe
09-06-2011, 12:16 PM
Honestly, my concern isn't that the Reds will go into 2012 without a closer. It's that they will overpay for a closer and this will keep them from meeting other needs.

I'm in the camp that thinks that most pitchers can close with a certain amount of success. I think that what makes people think otherwise is the intrinsic volatility of the role. Any failure is magnified, and all pitchers, no matter how talented, fail a certain amount of times.

As far as the psychology of the pitcher is concerned, I think Rick's point about Kyle Farnsworth is a good one. I think baseball has a tendency to label players more quickly than they should. While physical abilities aren't likely to change dramatically over the course of a player's career, psychological abilities can change more easily.

Whole, currently undiscovered planets will one day have to be used to store the research we've done on this subject. Yet in sports we seem to want to quickly give up on a player because he isn't made of the right psychological stuff. That's what's been done with Homer Bailey, to use a familiar example. At this point I think the Reds would be silly not to consider Homer as a major factor in next year's rotation. We give up on players too easily, and when we're dealing with something as explosive as a closer's role, we really need to step back and view things logically, I think.

bucksfan2
09-06-2011, 12:57 PM
Honestly, my concern isn't that the Reds will go into 2012 without a closer. It's that they will overpay for a closer and this will keep them from meeting other needs.

I'm in the camp that thinks that most pitchers can close with a certain amount of success. I think that what makes people think otherwise is the intrinsic volatility of the role. Any failure is magnified, and all pitchers, no matter how talented, fail a certain amount of times.

As far as the psychology of the pitcher is concerned, I think Rick's point about Kyle Farnsworth is a good one. I think baseball has a tendency to label players more quickly than they should. While physical abilities aren't likely to change dramatically over the course of a player's career, psychological abilities can change more easily.

Whole, currently undiscovered planets will one day have to be used to store the research we've done on this subject. Yet in sports we seem to want to quickly give up on a player because he isn't made of the right psychological stuff. That's what's been done with Homer Bailey, to use a familiar example. At this point I think the Reds would be silly not to consider Homer as a major factor in next year's rotation. We give up on players too easily, and when we're dealing with something as explosive as a closer's role, we really need to step back and view things logically, I think.

Kyle Farnsworth has been the game for 12 years now, been the closer in waiting for a couple of different clubs, and finally put it together as a 35 year old. Put me in the camp that firmly believes there is a psychological effect that makes closing much more difficult than pitching in any other inning. When you take the ball in the 8th there isn't a sense of finality. When you take the ball in the 9th, everything is magnified and if you fail the game is over.

In no way do I want the Reds to go out there and spend major money on a closer. But at the same time I don't think they should go out and insert anyone and expect them to close. Some guys have it, some develop it as they mature, and some just don't have it.

RED VAN HOT
09-06-2011, 09:23 PM
IMO, Boxberger is the closer of the future. He was sent to the pen last year and then fast tracked. He had a rough start in AAA, then turned it around nicely. The Reds never wavered in their decision to move him there even when he started poorly in that role last year. He has shown that he can make adjustments. I believe he will at the ML level also. The .152 BAA is particularly impressive.

That said, it is asking a lot to start someone in the closer role. For that reason I would try to retain Cordero with a two year contract. That may be all that he wants. He should be wise enough to realize that his closing days are limited. That would provide an opportunity to phase in Box in the closer role. I think Coco would be fine closing in the near term as long as he had some rest between outings. As I have said before, there is no law that all the save opps have to go to the same pitcher.

nate
09-06-2011, 09:31 PM
An actual dollar amount? I don't know, but considering his age and the fact that he WANTS to come back...I'd think the difference will be considerable.

You said it with such authority that I thought you knew both how much "people think" is and what you though he'd sign for. I know neither.


I'm at work right now so I can't really research this right now, but I think this really depends on what you consider to be "given enough of a chance".

180 innings. Roughly 3 relief pitching seasons. See Rick's example of Farnsworth above.


I know I've seen lots of guys over the years be given a shot to be closer only to see it bomb after a few months.

That's not enough time since you've seen "lots," name five.


Most teams can't afford to allow a bad reliever stay in the closer role for more than that without a huge amount of backlash from the fanbase.

Fans affecting managerial decisions is a bit "inmates running the asylum" and a sign of poor leadership.

nate
09-06-2011, 09:44 PM
Just for my part, I think there's no question it's different psychologically. Setup men lose leads; closers lose games.

I disagree. A "setup man" can easily lose a game. A "closer" can easily lose a lead without losing the game.


That's a different manner of walk back to the dugout, and while all pitchers are used to pressure to some degree, there's pressure and then there's Pressure, and not all pitchers are the same. Simply put, some guys bounce back from I Lost The Game better than others, and it's probably evident to guys in the clubhouse long before it shows up in an acceptable stat sample.

It's entirely possible that some relief pitchers don't have the mettle to "close" the "big game." However, much of this, to me, this is a meta game conjured solely by the romantization of the modern "closer": a guy who gets "saves" - a made up stat to legitimize the act of throwing the last pitch in a winning effort.

Were bullpens "tougher" in the 70's when they bounced back from a tough loss?


You made a great point, though -- this is not necessarily a permanent condition. Taking golf as an example, there are plenty of golfers who gagged the first time or two they were in position to win a pro tournament who later figured out how to close the deal. But, conversely, the entire argument of "most any decent reliever can close" argues against patiently waiting for a guy to get it together. If they're interchangeable, it shouldn't be an issue to move on to the next guy in line if the first one struggles.

There's so much noise in a relief pitching season that it's hard to distinguish the interval of a "struggle."


Having said all that, I'm actually a proponent of the fireman-over-closer theory of bullpen management, but these days that idea gets about as far as returning to a four-man rotation.

Stay golden, Ponyboy!

nate
09-06-2011, 09:50 PM
Kyle Farnsworth has been the game for 12 years now, been the closer in waiting for a couple of different clubs, and finally put it together as a 35 year old. Put me in the camp that firmly believes there is a psychological effect that makes closing much more difficult than pitching in any other inning.

Put me in the camp that thinks your camp follows an inflated pantheon.


When you take the ball in the 8th there isn't a sense of finality.

Oh, I don't know about that. I can imagine many situations where the 6th, 7th and 8th innings are much more "hairy" (I say this as a bald man) than the 9th.


When you take the ball in the 9th, everything is magnified and if you fail the game is over.

In no way do I want the Reds to go out there and spend major money on a closer. But at the same time I don't think they should go out and insert anyone and expect them to close.

I can say with 100% certainty that no one else wants "anyone" to close. Especially, if by anyone, you mean me.


Some guys have it, some develop it as they mature, and some just don't have it.

Some of the guys who "have it," have been fortunate enough to "have it" (and some luck) in a contract year. Some of those who don't "have it" have not.

Put your best pitcher for a situation in that situation and roll the dice. I don't think a field manager can do any better than that.

defender
09-07-2011, 01:11 AM
I am a believer in "closers"

The Modern closer was developed by LaRussa, at a time when he was one of the first managers to use a computer. Since that time, all the teams have computers. They all have the data, and continue to use the modern closer. This would lead me to believe the data shows there is an advantage.

The bigger change in modern baseball was free agency. This has led to players being treated like human resources instead of army enlisted men.

One of the beliefs of managing human resources, is that people will perform better if they are given a well defined role and then used in that role. Having a defined closer and defined roles for the rest of the pen leads to better play. The team also gets a psychological advantage when bringing in a successful closer

IslandRed
09-07-2011, 12:03 PM
It's entirely possible that some relief pitchers don't have the mettle to "close" the "big game." However, much of this, to me, this is a meta game conjured solely by the romantization of the modern "closer": a guy who gets "saves" - a made up stat to legitimize the act of throwing the last pitch in a winning effort.

In the end, it might all be a bunch of mythology, but we're talking about actual baseball players here -- it's mythology to which they have premium subscriptions. As far as any current players have personally experienced, the closer and associated lore has always been a standard-issue part of the game.

So, yes, I believe that when a reliever gives up a grand slam to lose a game 4-3 and takes that long walk off the field, some will take a bit of that to the mound with them next time. Others won't. Most won't, really, since failure is a routine part of baseball. But to say that no pitchers are overly affected by failing in the closing role is, in my opinion, failing to consider what we know about sports psychology and baseball player mentality.

Now, the takeaway from that is not "we must have a proven closer." Not at all. My thought would be, if the guy who is Plan A hasn't closed games before, consider the history and make sure there's a solid Plan B.

Kc61
09-07-2011, 12:27 PM
IMO, Boxberger is the closer of the future. He was sent to the pen last year and then fast tracked. He had a rough start in AAA, then turned it around nicely. The Reds never wavered in their decision to move him there even when he started poorly in that role last year. He has shown that he can make adjustments. I believe he will at the ML level also. The .152 BAA is particularly impressive.

That said, it is asking a lot to start someone in the closer role. For that reason I would try to retain Cordero with a two year contract. That may be all that he wants. He should be wise enough to realize that his closing days are limited. That would provide an opportunity to phase in Box in the closer role. I think Coco would be fine closing in the near term as long as he had some rest between outings. As I have said before, there is no law that all the save opps have to go to the same pitcher.

I tend to agree, but it will come down to dollars. Coco could potentially get a decent three year deal from somebody. I don't think the Reds would go that far.

The only other in-house option is Chapman. I'm assuming they will stretch him out at winter ball, use him in long relief for awhile next year, and eventually he will start. My guess is he won't close, although it's certainly possible.

Whether Coco returns or not, the Reds need some new blood in the pen. Basically, with Coco's contract up, the team will have to focus on the closer role and the primary set up man role in the off-season. I do not see Masset as primary set up man next year.

I also agree that the Reds will groom Boxberger to close soon. So I think they will limit any new closer's contract (whether Cordero or someone else) to two years.

Rojo
09-07-2011, 12:46 PM
I do not see Masset as primary set up man next year.

Masset is Exhibit A of why can't just take any strike-out artist and make them a closer. He's done more to torpedo this season than anyone else.

Rojo
09-07-2011, 12:51 PM
The bigger change in modern baseball was free agency. This has led to players being treated like human resources instead of army enlisted men.

One of the beliefs of managing human resources, is that people will perform better if they are given a well defined role and then used in that role. Having a defined closer and defined roles for the rest of the pen leads to better play. The team also gets a psychological advantage when bringing in a successful closer

You should post more often. :thumbup:

RedsManRick
09-07-2011, 01:15 PM
I am a believer in "closers"

The Modern closer was developed by LaRussa, at a time when he was one of the first managers to use a computer. Since that time, all the teams have computers. They all have the data, and continue to use the modern closer. This would lead me to believe the data shows there is an advantage.

The bigger change in modern baseball was free agency. This has led to players being treated like human resources instead of army enlisted men.

One of the beliefs of managing human resources, is that people will perform better if they are given a well defined role and then used in that role. Having a defined closer and defined roles for the rest of the pen leads to better play. The team also gets a psychological advantage when bringing in a successful closer

Collective, teams still win the same % of games when they enter the 9th with a lead as they always have. If closers were a valuable innovation, wouldn't we expect to see this increase?

The psychological issue at the team level, as far as I can tell, is based on an expectation of our own creation. I'm all for using our best relievers in the highest leverage, highest pressure situations. But high leverage is not synonymous with "9th inning and a lead of 1, 2 or 3 runs, or with the tying run on base."

Paying for a high quality pitcher who can get the team out of jams can be incredibly helpful. Relievers used in that way can produce up twice their face value or more due to leverage. But why use that guy to protect a 2 run lead with nobody on base.

Pay a guy for his ability to get tough outs with regularity, not to accrue a stat called "saves". And when it comes to getting tough outs, Cordero is mediocre.

Regarding Masset, he's been extremely "unclutch" this year. According to Fangraphs' Clutch stat, which uses win probability and leverage, Masset has been the 5th least clutch reliever in baseball this year (#131 of 135). But Cordero hasn't been much better, coming in 94th.

Of course, the thing with clutch is that it's not really predictive (http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/clutch/). If the ability to handle pressure was a unique skill, you'd think it would be.

traderumor
09-07-2011, 01:45 PM
I am a believer in "closers"

The Modern closer was developed by LaRussa, at a time when he was one of the first managers to use a computer. Since that time, all the teams have computers. They all have the data, and continue to use the modern closer. This would lead me to believe the data shows there is an advantage.

The bigger change in modern baseball was free agency. This has led to players being treated like human resources instead of army enlisted men.

One of the beliefs of managing human resources, is that people will perform better if they are given a well defined role and then used in that role. Having a defined closer and defined roles for the rest of the pen leads to better play. The team also gets a psychological advantage when bringing in a successful closerTony, is that you? ;) Rollie Fingers was a teammate of LaRussa, and he was a "closer" in the 70s. Sparky Anderson should probably get the most credit for modern era bullpen usage patterns. Captain Hook has morphed into "the book" on bullpen usage. LaRussa also didn't manage Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, or Lee Smith, who bridged the gap between multiple innings late innings relievers and the current 9th inning guy. They usually pitched the 9th with a lead, but would also get brought in for 4 or 5 outs occasionally. Now, its ESPN highlights if the closer is brought in prior to out 25.

As for "defined roles," it is good to define roles. Long reliever, short reliever, late innings reliever. I don't think it is the best use of the pecking order to have it so heavily driven by score and inning.

traderumor
09-07-2011, 02:01 PM
Collective, teams still win the same % of games when they enter the 9th with a lead as they always have. If closers were a valuable innovation, wouldn't we expect to see this increase?

The psychological issue at the team level, as far as I can tell, is based on an expectation of our own creation. I'm all for using our best relievers in the highest leverage, highest pressure situations. But high leverage is not synonymous with "9th inning and a lead of 1, 2 or 3 runs, or with the tying run on base."

Paying for a high quality pitcher who can get the team out of jams can be incredibly helpful. Relievers used in that way can produce up twice their face value or more due to leverage. But why use that guy to protect a 2 run lead with nobody on base.

Pay a guy for his ability to get tough outs with regularity, not to accrue a stat called "saves". And when it comes to getting tough outs, Cordero is mediocre.

Regarding Masset, he's been extremely "unclutch" this year. According to Fangraphs' Clutch stat, which uses win probability and leverage, Masset has been the 5th least clutch reliever in baseball this year (#131 of 135). But Cordero hasn't been much better, coming in 94th.

Of course, the thing with clutch is that it's not really predictive (http://www.fangraphs.com/library/index.php/misc/clutch/). If the ability to handle pressure was a unique skill, you'd think it would be.
"Fireman" used to be an appropriate nickname for the best relievers. Now, too often managers bring in their 3rd, 4th or 5th best reliever to try to put out fires if its not the 9th inning.

defender
09-07-2011, 02:08 PM
Collective, teams still win the same % of games when they enter the 9th with a lead as they always have. If closers were a valuable innovation, wouldn't we expect to see this increase?


If bullpen management has become more difficult, than it would have to be better to achieve the same results. The 1927 Yankees had 82 GC and only 108 relief appearances. In 1990 the average NL team had 336 relief aps, 40 saves (70%). The 1990 Reds had 14 relievers 4 appeared more than 30 times, 7 more than 10. In 2010 the average NL team had 486 Relief aps, 40 saves (69%). The 2010 reds had 18 relievers 7 appeared more than 30 times, 11 more than 10.

Rojo
09-07-2011, 02:53 PM
Collective, teams still win the same % of games when they enter the 9th with a lead as they always have. If closers were a valuable innovation, wouldn't we expect to see this increase?

I'm not sure I follow. An individual team can tilt the odds in their favor with a Rivera or Hoffman.


Pay a guy for his ability to get tough outs with regularity, not to accrue a stat called "saves".

I don't really care much about saves either. Over the years, lots of mediocraties (Lee Smith, Jeff Reardon) have racked a bunch of meaningless saves. That doesn't mean having a ninth inning hammer is unimportant.

traderumor
09-07-2011, 03:43 PM
If bullpen management has become more difficult, than it would have to be better to achieve the same results. The 1927 Yankees had 82 GC and only 108 relief appearances. In 1990 the average NL team had 336 relief aps, 40 saves (70%). The 1990 Reds had 14 relievers 4 appeared more than 30 times, 7 more than 10. In 2010 the average NL team had 486 Relief aps, 40 saves (69%). The 2010 reds had 18 relievers 7 appeared more than 30 times, 11 more than 10.

How so? Assuming Rick is referring to "since the inception of the game," I understand his point to be that the closer is not resulting in a marked increased success rate for holding 9th inning leads.

TRF
09-07-2011, 04:06 PM
My problem is arbitration + agents using stats created and accepted by baseball for a position in which the manager is almost "forced" by the book to use a specific player. The beast feeds itself regarding closers. If it is defined as a save situation, you will see Cordero in the game. The Reds have 33 saves this year, Cordero 31 of them. yet that number will be used when negotiating his next contract. This in spite of the fact that many of those "saves" didn't really mean anything. In fact the opportunity probably should have gone to a lesser pitcher in order to rest Cordero.

So, for 2012? In my mind I'd have three closers and they'd be in the game based on situation. Masset with a 3 run lead, Ondrusek with a 2 run lead and LeCure with a 1 run lead barring an acquisition.

RedsManRick
09-07-2011, 04:14 PM
I'm not sure I follow. An individual team can tilt the odds in their favor with a Rivera or Hoffman.

But that's because those guys are great pitchers, period. Not because they have a special talent to not only be great but to do so in high leverage situations. In terms of winning games when they entered the 9th with a lead, the Yankees have been no better under Rivera than they were before the advent of the closer. Why is that? It's because even poor pitchers get through most innings without allowing a run, let alone 2 or 3.

Teams could tilt the odds of winning a similar amount with a "middle reliever" like a Mike Adams, Matt Thornton or Koji Uehara pitching the 9th for 20% of the price of a top end closer. Or you can develop those guys (often failed starters) like Antonio Bastardo, Sean Marshall or Sergio Romo and pay 5% of the price. That's my point.

If you're the Phillies, you can afford to pay top dollar for a guy who may or may not have some special ability to pitch the 9th inning above and beyond his normal ability. Bit if you're the Reds, you can get basically full value by focusing on a proven ability to get outs and not worrying about the "proven closer" part. Consider, what would you pay Cordero to pitch in middle relief and throw 60 major league average innings in he were a FA? $3MM? The Reds are basically paying him that, plus a $9MM bonus to do so in the 9th inning to protect a lead. Dropping that $9MM premium to $4MM strikes me as making a merely less worse decision.

I would love to see some real examples of pitchers whose performance changed fundamentally (e.g. Ks, BB, HRs - not BABIP) and significantly for the worst in a decent sized sample when closing versus when pitching in middle relief.

Rojo
09-07-2011, 04:54 PM
They could also tilt the odds a similar amount with a FA middle reliever like a Mike Adams, Matt Thornton or Koji Uehara for 20% of the price. Or you can develop those guys (often failed starters) like Antonio Bastardo, Sean Marshall or Sergio Romo and pay 5% of the price. That's my point.

If you're the Yankees, you can afford to pay top dollar for the very best pitchers and use them however you want. If you're the Reds, you should a fraction fo the price and get basically full value by focusing on a proven ability to get outs and not paying a crazy premium (like 300%) for having done so in the 9th inning.

I'm not for paying a "crazy premium" for any old saves-monger. But an elite closer makes for an elite bullpen. And an elite bullpen makes a bad team decent and a good team great.

I know you're driving for Volquez, and I don't hate the idea, but I think we can dispel with the notion that the league is littered with potentially great bullpenners. Can you see the final out of the World Series coming from the likes of Ondrusek, J. Smith, Fisher, Arrendondo?

TRF
09-07-2011, 05:28 PM
I could from Arredondo. Not this year, but next year, sure. He's flashed that talent.

RedsManRick
09-07-2011, 10:22 PM
I'm not for paying a "crazy premium" for any old saves-monger. But an elite closer makes for an elite bullpen. And an elite bullpen makes a bad team decent and a good team great.

I know you're driving for Volquez, and I don't hate the idea, but I think we can dispel with the notion that the league is littered with potentially great bullpenners. Can you see the final out of the World Series coming from the likes of Ondrusek, J. Smith, Fisher, Arrendondo?

I don't understand this statement.

And no, 1 reliever does NOT make a bullpen elite -- getting to the 9th inning with a lead matters more than being marginally better at closing the door. And we're not talking about entire bullpens. Show me a team with a great closer and 5 or 6 mediocre relievers and I'll show you a mediocre bullpen.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with our bullpen. But giving millions of dollars to a mediocre "closer" like Cordero is not the path to excellence. It'd be one thing if we were talking about a truly elite reliever, like Craig Kimbrel. But we're not.

Rojo
09-08-2011, 01:31 PM
I don't understand this statement.

And no, 1 reliever does NOT make a bullpen elite -- getting to the 9th inning with a lead matters more than being marginally better at closing the door. And we're not talking about entire bullpens. Show me a team with a great closer and 5 or 6 mediocre relievers and I'll show you a mediocre bullpen.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not in love with our bullpen. But giving millions of dollars to a mediocre "closer" like Cordero is not the path to excellence. It'd be one thing if we were talking about a truly elite reliever, like Craig Kimbrel. But we're not.

I don't want to pick up Cordero's option. And I'd love Kimbrel.

My point is that small market teams think this is the one area where it's a waste to spend cash because A) closers can be created out of whole cloth and B) they're overrated anyhow.

My point is that they're not as common as you'd think and they're extremely important.

As for set-up guys, I think a great closer makes for great set-up guys but that's only an anectdotal conclusion.

RedsManRick
09-08-2011, 03:38 PM
My point is that they're not as common as you'd think and they're extremely important.

As for set-up guys, I think a great closer makes for great set-up guys but that's only an anectdotal conclusion.

We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think great closers are essentially as common as great relievers. That is to say, I don't think "closing" is a skill different from "setting up". Guys who can't handle pressure either don't make it to the majors or don't stay there for long. And guys who flame out in limited opportunity as closers aren't necessarily failing because closing is different. It could very well just be a function of the fact that all pitchers struggle from time to time. Give enough pitchers an opportunity to close and a few of them are going to blow some games early on. It doesn't mean they can't close, just that they pitched poorly a few times -- and usually those guys aren't afforded the opportunity for the sample size to get big enough for it all to average out.

Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant. In anything, it might be a disadvantage if that guy had the closer label because managers may be less inclined to bring him in to that crucial situation in the 7th or 8th when the game is really on the line.

Having a relief ace like a Mike Marshall or Bruce Sutter who can take the ball from the starter in the 7th and finish the game himself is a huge asset. Having a guy who can come in with the bases empty in the 9th and just needs to get 3 outs before the other team scores 2+ runs, not quite so much.

TRF
09-08-2011, 05:06 PM
We'll have to agree to disagree here. I think great closers are essentially as common as great relievers. That is to say, I don't think "closing" is a skill different from "setting up". Guys who can't handle pressure either don't make it to the majors or don't stay there for long. And guys who flame out in limited opportunity as closers aren't necessarily failing because closing is different. It could very well just be a function of the fact that all pitchers struggle from time to time. Give enough pitchers an opportunity to close and a few of them are going to blow some games early on. It doesn't mean they can't close, just that they pitched poorly a few times -- and usually those guys aren't afforded the opportunity for the sample size to get big enough for it all to average out.

Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant. In anything, it might be a disadvantage if that guy had the closer label because managers may be less inclined to bring him in to that crucial situation in the 7th or 8th when the game is really on the line.

Having a relief ace like a Mike Marshall or Bruce Sutter who can take the ball from the starter in the 7th and finish the game himself is a huge asset. Having a guy who can come in with the bases empty in the 9th and just needs to get 3 outs before the other team scores 2+ runs, not quite so much.

I could not disagree with you more, and I advocate a closer by committee.

Some people perform better under pressure. They just do. In every occupation we see this. Now, can we measure it? I have no idea. But I do know that it exists. Aside from how the "book" tells managers how to use their designated closers, those managers know. They know if a closer has the mental toughness to go in there with a 1 run lead and get three outs when the meat of the order is up. IS Cordero that guy? Well, yeah as compared to the previous closer, David Weathers, in regards to stuff. But as for mentality? I'd go with Weathers. Calmer. nothing seemed to faze him. Cordero gets fiery, sometimes too fiery.

Some guys are born to the role. Papelbon springs to mind. Some could never really handle that role, Like a Jon Rauch, who should have been a hammer. The thought of ruining 8 innings of work in 3 AB's or less... Some guys are more comfortable in that 7th inning role even if the situation is similar. Its a mindset.

RedsManRick
09-08-2011, 06:52 PM
I could not disagree with you more, and I advocate a closer by committee.

Some people perform better under pressure. They just do. In every occupation we see this. Now, can we measure it? I have no idea. But I do know that it exists. Aside from how the "book" tells managers how to use their designated closers, those managers know. They know if a closer has the mental toughness to go in there with a 1 run lead and get three outs when the meat of the order is up. IS Cordero that guy? Well, yeah as compared to the previous closer, David Weathers, in regards to stuff. But as for mentality? I'd go with Weathers. Calmer. nothing seemed to faze him. Cordero gets fiery, sometimes too fiery.

Some guys are born to the role. Papelbon springs to mind. Some could never really handle that role, Like a Jon Rauch, who should have been a hammer. The thought of ruining 8 innings of work in 3 AB's or less... Some guys are more comfortable in that 7th inning role even if the situation is similar. Its a mindset.

Except MLB isn't an industry, all of professional baseball is. MLB is the top 600 guys in the profession. A BIG factor in becoming part of that 600 and becoming an effective part of that 600 is an ability to handle pressure.

Frankly, I don't know that managers actually know that. I imagine they think they do. And I imagine that some guys are more comfortable in some situations than in others. But we don't know if those things actually affect performance. But to take just a few examples:

Mariano Rivera
Save situations: .202/.250/.272, .522 OPS
Non-save situations: .213/.269/.297, .567 OPS
17 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Trevor Hoffman
Save situations: .203/.251/.336, .587 OPS
Non-save situations: .225/.293/.353, .646 OPS
59 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Jonathan Papelbon
Save situations: .197/.260/.301, .561 OPS
Non-save situations: .208/.259/.316, .575 OPS
14 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Fransisco Cordero
Save situations: .242/.324/.351, .674 OPS
Non-save situations: .229/.318/.334, .652 OPS
22 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Wow, Coco's mental edge really shows. But what if it's not about performing better, it's just not performing worse? Let's look at some guys who have a reputation for not having the mentality and see how they fare.

Kyle Farnsworth
Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Jon Rauch
Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

(I wanted to look at Weathers and LaTroy Hawkins, but their data is skewed by having significant amounts of innings in games they started, which would seriously bias this split)

I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.

Is Cordero is a better closer than David Weathers because because he's especially mentally tough -- or is he just a better pitcher regardless of circumstance?

But besides that, what really makes relievers feel pressure? Which is greater pressure -- getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th or getting 3 outs with the bases empty in the 9th? If I've got one greater reliever, I'm using him in the 7th there. And if I'm building a roster, I'm not going to pay extra for a guy just because he's saved games. I'll pay the guy for his ability to get outs. And if by chance, I come across a guy who has a long track record of falling apart in "high pressure" situations, well, I probably wouldn't sign him to begin with.

One more for the road...

Nick Masset
Save situations: .264/.338/.353, .691 OPS
Non-save situations: .262/.338/.390, .728 OPS
37 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Looks like we have our next closer already in our midst!

Rojo
09-08-2011, 07:19 PM
Your second statement strikes me as just silly. Put Mariano Rivera on the Reds and Nick Masset and Logan Ondrusek aren't going to pitch any better. Sure, the bullpen as a whole is better, but that's just because you've added a great pitcher. I don't see a multiplicative effect. Apparently you do -- I'd be curious to learn more about what you've observed. If you're just referencing the benefit having somebody who can bail out lesser pitchers out of a jam, then whether or not that guy is your "closer" or not is irrelevant.

Ballplayers are silly. They like having roles.

And adding a great closer is like adding a 1A pitcher -- because everyone else gets knocked down a notch, you've improved your rotation/bullpen.

RedsManRick
09-08-2011, 08:33 PM
Ballplayers are silly. They like having roles.

And adding a great closer is like adding a 1A pitcher -- because everyone else gets knocked down a notch, you've improved your rotation/bullpen.

And yet somehow games got "saved" before the closer was invented 30 years ago. You can have clear roles without defining them based on an arbitrary statistic that is not aligned with what's best for the team.

I'm all for having an "ace" reliever. I just don't define that by saves, which is how closers are defined.

nate
09-08-2011, 08:57 PM
I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.

This is the essence of how I feel about it. Well said.

High five!

TRF
09-09-2011, 09:44 AM
RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.

Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.

You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.

RedsManRick
09-09-2011, 01:31 PM
RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.

Since 2000, 40 men have saved 100 games. 15 of those 40 (37.%) have a BB/9 in that time over 3.7, including Cordero (and Jose Valverde, who is perfect in save opps this year). Maybe Farnsworth hasn't been a closer because early in his career, he failed to capitalize on an opportunity to close. In doing so, he created a narrative in which he lacked some special ability to be a closer. Because of that narrative, managers refused to give him additional opportunities. It's a feedback loop.

Could the reason the Rays had no else is because they chose to not have anybody else when they realized it was a waste of money to pay a nominal "closer" extra money when they could just get a quality reliever and get the job done?



Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.

I think you missed the point with those stats. It wasn't meant to be an objective study, merely an illustration, a counter-factual. Here it is more plainly. There's is much more variation between how effective various pitchers are overall than how pitchers pitch relatively to themselves in save situations. That is to say, a guy with a .600 OPS against who generally struggles relative to his ability in save situations (player A) is still likely to pitch better in save situations than a guy with a .700 OPS against who does relative well in them (player B). Pitcher skill is paramount. So even if there is some demonstrated ability to pitch relatively well in save situations, it's a secondary consideration at best. If I'm deciding who to give money to, I'd much rather give $5M to player A to be my closer than give $10M to player B.

There are guys like Cordero, like Jonathan Papelbon who have the "closer" label but who have demonstrated no more extra skill in saving games than have guys who aren't viewed as closer material, like Rauch and Farnsworth. What distinguishes these guys is their overall ability to get outs, not a special ability to get outs in save situations.

That is to say, being labeled a closer appears to be as much a function of early success and narrative than some demonstrable ability to perform well in the clutch. If you want to find a closer, find a guy who gets outs, period. I have yet to come across a guy who is a great pitcher but who just falls apart as a closer. And yet, teams continue to run out mediocre pitchers who are less effective as their closer because of perceived clutchiness.

Consider the standard "clutch" conversation for hitters. This is basically the same thing. The only difference is that teams are willing to pay relievers 2 or 3 fold what they would otherwise pay them for their clutchiness. Imagine if we signed an 750 OPS bat to a $12MM contract to be our cleanup hitter because he put up an 800 OPS in the 7-9th innings. That's what we do with closers -- and often we don't even see them put up better performance, we just assert that they "have what it takes."



You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.

Asserting it over and over again doesn't make it so. I have no doubt that pitchers feel more comfortable with defined roles and that one of those roles is called closer. That doesn't mean having a defined role makes them actually pitch any better. It's logical, but again, that doesn't make it true. And to the point of having a defined role, why does that role have be defined by the save statistic. Why can't the role be redefined? Clearly it's been done before. Tell a guy his role is to be the relief ace who comes in to get crucial outs and you've given him a role that is in better alignment with what would most benefit the team.

Lastly, you are assuming that managers are making the decisions that actually most benefit the team. I don't think they (always) do. As you said, they're human. They have interests beyond maximizing the results on the field. They care about their players' feelings and want to protect them. They care about their job security and don't want to put their own butt on the line by doing something that is perceived as risky. Right or wrong, if Ryan Franklin blows a save, it's Ryan Franklin's fault. If Jason Motte does, it's Tony LaRussa's fault. For many managers, marginal benefits on the field are outweighed by the perception of those benefits by the broader public and/or management. It's the same reason most NFL teams punt on 4th & 1 from the 40 yard line. Most do it; that doesn't mean it's the wise thing to do.

I'll let it die here. I think we're both pretty well set it how we view this and I don't want to beat it to death any more than I already have.

signalhome
09-09-2011, 01:36 PM
RMR snarkiness aside, Farnsworth is seeing his first real shot at closing at 35. Why do you suppose that is? Could be the Rays had no one else. Maybe every manager he ever had realized his head wasn't suited for closing. or maybe it was his career 3.7 BB/9 that did it.

Nice job cherry picking closers with HOF credentials though. Why not Jon Rauch? He's had numerous opportunities as a closer, and yet seems to never stick in the role. Jason Motte has been talked about as a future closer for 3-4 years now. I think he'd be a good one, but LaRussa and Duncan have only given him limited opportunities. What about Octavio Dotel? He's a curious case.

You keep eliminating the human element. The role is defined. It doesn't matter how it was defined in the 30's, 40's and 50's. it is a defined role now. that role bears some psychological weight, whether that weight is real or imagined, it is there. Some guys are suited to it some aren't. It doesn't mean Baker can't bring in Ondrusek for a save once and a while. It means maybe he shouldn't do it all that often.

RMR did take a look at Rauch, as well as Farnsworth. He didn't cherry-pick HOF players.

Kyle Farnsworth
Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Jon Rauch
Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

I'd rather see their K/9, BB/9, and xFIP when split into these two situations, but these numbers give a pretty good ballpark estimate. It seems that these guys are pretty much the same regardless of situation.

TRF
09-09-2011, 02:06 PM
RMR did take a look at Rauch, as well as Farnsworth. He didn't cherry-pick HOF players.

Kyle Farnsworth
Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Jon Rauch
Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

I'd rather see their K/9, BB/9, and xFIP when split into these two situations, but these numbers give a pretty good ballpark estimate. It seems that these guys are pretty much the same regardless of situation.

maybe. depends on if those are this year's numbers or career numbers. Rauch and Farnsworth had some fairly mediocre years closing prior to 2011, which may be why they never kept that role for very long.

like RMR.. agree to disagree.

Rojo
09-09-2011, 04:25 PM
And yet somehow games got "saved" before the closer was invented 30 years ago.

Yes, and somehow runs were scored before people cared about on-base percentage.

Admittedly LaRussa and others have over-defined roles and the definition of a save is overly broad but it is an innovation nonetheless and can be used to tilt the odds.

RedsManRick
09-09-2011, 04:56 PM
Yes, and somehow runs were scored before people cared about on-base percentage.

If only managers utilized their position players' based on their OBP with the same fervor they do with closers.


Admittedly LaRussa and others have over-defined roles and the definition of a save is overly broad but it is an innovation nonetheless and can can be used to tilt the odds.

Just because it is an innovation doesn't mean it has improved the odds. I'm with you on the idea that using your best pitchers in the highest leverage situation maximizes their value. I'm not with you that "save opportunity" is a good way for defining a high leverage situation.

To my knowledge, managers have always used their best relievers to get crucial outs. They used to be referred to as "relief aces". What's changed is that instead of using those guys at any time in relief based on the importance on the situation, we've "overdefined" it. We've made the 9th inning the most important one and determined that a 3 run lead means the game is at risk. But using a really good reliever to protect a bases empty, 3-run lead in the 9th is doing much less to tilt the odds than is using him to protect a bases-loaded, 1-run lead in the 7th.

Many of a closers' outings are spent slamming doors that are nearly closed already. I'd much rather use my best relievers when the game is really at risk. Sometimes that's the 9th. Often it's not.

If I could redefine the save, here's how I'd do it:
- Team is in the lead
- Reliever enters the game with the go-ahead run on base or at the plate
- Reliever finishes the inning without giving up the lead (or giving up a run if you prefer)

That's it. There could be multiple saves per game. It would revolutionize the way relievers are used by aligning the stat with the events that actually matter. You'd see teams start using their best relievers when they need them the most, saving games in an eventful 7th and letting a lesser reliever face the bottom of the order in a quiet 9th.

gilpdawg
09-10-2011, 01:02 AM
If only managers utilized their position players' based on their OBP with the same fervor they do with closers.



Just because it is an innovation doesn't mean it has improved the odds. I'm with you on the idea that using your best pitchers in the highest leverage situation maximizes their value. I'm not with you that "save opportunity" is a good way for defining a high leverage situation.

To my knowledge, managers have always used their best relievers to get crucial outs. They used to be referred to as "relief aces". What's changed is that instead of using those guys at any time in relief based on the importance on the situation, we've "overdefined" it. We've made the 9th inning the most important one and determined that a 3 run lead means the game is at risk. But using a really good reliever to protect a bases empty, 3-run lead in the 9th is doing much less to tilt the odds than is using him to protect a bases-loaded, 1-run lead in the 7th.

Many of a closers' outings are spent slamming doors that are nearly closed already. I'd much rather use my best relievers when the game is really at risk. Sometimes that's the 9th. Often it's not.

If I could redefine the save, here's how I'd do it:
- Team is in the lead
- Reliever enters the game with the go-ahead run on base or at the plate
- Reliever finishes the inning without giving up the lead (or giving up a run if you prefer)

That's it. There could be multiple saves per game. It would revolutionize the way relievers are used by aligning the stat with the events that actually matter. You'd see teams start using their best relievers when they need them the most, saving games in an eventful 7th and letting a lesser reliever face the bottom of the order in a quiet 9th.

That's a fantastic idea, but the baseball flat-earth society won't go for it because it's not "the way it's always been done."

Sent from my SGH-I897 using Tapatalk

757690
09-10-2011, 04:57 AM
Except MLB isn't an industry, all of professional baseball is. MLB is the top 600 guys in the profession. A BIG factor in becoming part of that 600 and becoming an effective part of that 600 is an ability to handle pressure.

Frankly, I don't know that managers actually know that. I imagine they think they do. And I imagine that some guys are more comfortable in some situations than in others. But we don't know if those things actually affect performance. But to take just a few examples:

Mariano Rivera
Save situations: .202/.250/.272, .522 OPS
Non-save situations: .213/.269/.297, .567 OPS
17 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Trevor Hoffman
Save situations: .203/.251/.336, .587 OPS
Non-save situations: .225/.293/.353, .646 OPS
59 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Jonathan Papelbon
Save situations: .197/.260/.301, .561 OPS
Non-save situations: .208/.259/.316, .575 OPS
14 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Fransisco Cordero
Save situations: .242/.324/.351, .674 OPS
Non-save situations: .229/.318/.334, .652 OPS
22 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Wow, Coco's mental edge really shows. But what if it's not about performing better, it's just not performing worse? Let's look at some guys who have a reputation for not having the mentality and see how they fare.

Kyle Farnsworth
Save situations: .244/.321/.398, .719 OPS
Non-save situations: .241/.317/.385, .702 OPS
17 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

Jon Rauch
Save situations: .251/.289/.422, .711 OPS
Non-save situations: .242/.305/.382, .687 OPS
24 points of OPS worse when "under pressure"

(I wanted to look at Weathers and LaTroy Hawkins, but their data is skewed by having significant amounts of innings in games they started, which would seriously bias this split)

I'd have to look at a lot more pitchers than just this handful of guys to get a full picture, but suffice it to say that it's highly likely that many guys we view as having the "closer mentality" don't actually perform like you'd expect and vice versa. It's a fun narrative, but to me it seems riddled with confirmation bias. We give a guy a label early on and then whatever happens, we find a way to explain it using the narrative we've constructed.

Is Cordero is a better closer than David Weathers because because he's especially mentally tough -- or is he just a better pitcher regardless of circumstance?

But besides that, what really makes relievers feel pressure? Which is greater pressure -- getting out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th or getting 3 outs with the bases empty in the 9th? If I've got one greater reliever, I'm using him in the 7th there. And if I'm building a roster, I'm not going to pay extra for a guy just because he's saved games. I'll pay the guy for his ability to get outs. And if by chance, I come across a guy who has a long track record of falling apart in "high pressure" situations, well, I probably wouldn't sign him to begin with.

One more for the road...

Nick Masset
Save situations: .264/.338/.353, .691 OPS
Non-save situations: .262/.338/.390, .728 OPS
37 points of OPS better when "under pressure"

Looks like we have our next closer already in our midst!

Save situations are rather meaningless in this discussion, considering how absurd the stat is defined. In no way would I ever classify all that constitutes a save situation as "under pressure."

My take is that there are guys who just aren't good at getting the final three outs of a game their team is winning, while other are, for whatever reason. Arthur Rhodes is a good example of someone who wasn't. I think Carlos Marmol, Frank Francisco and ex-red Mike Jackson are other good examples that I can think of off the top of my head . Jeff Brantley, Jeff Shaw, Bob Stanley, and Tom Hume are good examples of pitchers who can get those last three outs, even though they don't have great stuff.

It would take a huge effort to find a stat that shows this, but I think there really exists a closer's mentality, the ability to be non-plused by having to get the final outs of a winning game. At the very least, there are guys out there with great stuff, who don't have a closer's mentality.

Ron Madden
09-10-2011, 05:23 AM
Relief pitchers are volatile. They are the most likely of any players on a MLB roster whose production will bounce up and down from year to year.

All relievers are volatile and IMHO all closers are overrated and over paid.

RANDY IN INDY
09-10-2011, 08:15 AM
And a lot of the volatility is a result of confidence or lack of. Nothing worse than a relief pitcher who has lost a little confidence.

traderumor
09-10-2011, 09:48 AM
Ballplayers are silly. They like having roles.

And adding a great closer is like adding a 1A pitcher -- because everyone else gets knocked down a notch, you've improved your rotation/bullpen."Reliever" is a role. I think the bullpen union has convinced everyone that it should be more narrowly defined so they can sit and spit sunflower seeds and "educate" the younger players until some particular inning/score when they start their "routine."

It shouldn't be rocket science for a reliever to figure out when the phone call might be for him if he's paying attention to the game.

nate
09-10-2011, 10:35 AM
Relief pitchers are volatile. They are the most likely of any players on a MLB roster whose production will bounce up and down from year to year.

All relievers are volatile and IMHO all closers are overrated and over paid.

Actually, I think it's the opportunities that are volatile. If reliever pitched as many innings as starters each season, I think it's likely they would seem less volatile.

traderumor
09-10-2011, 11:58 AM
If only managers utilized their position players' based on their OBP with the same fervor they do with closers.



Just because it is an innovation doesn't mean it has improved the odds. I'm with you on the idea that using your best pitchers in the highest leverage situation maximizes their value. I'm not with you that "save opportunity" is a good way for defining a high leverage situation.

To my knowledge, managers have always used their best relievers to get crucial outs. They used to be referred to as "relief aces". What's changed is that instead of using those guys at any time in relief based on the importance on the situation, we've "overdefined" it. We've made the 9th inning the most important one and determined that a 3 run lead means the game is at risk. But using a really good reliever to protect a bases empty, 3-run lead in the 9th is doing much less to tilt the odds than is using him to protect a bases-loaded, 1-run lead in the 7th.

Many of a closers' outings are spent slamming doors that are nearly closed already. I'd much rather use my best relievers when the game is really at risk. Sometimes that's the 9th. Often it's not.

If I could redefine the save, here's how I'd do it:
- Team is in the lead
- Reliever enters the game with the go-ahead run on base or at the plate
- Reliever finishes the inning without giving up the lead (or giving up a run if you prefer)

That's it. There could be multiple saves per game. It would revolutionize the way relievers are used by aligning the stat with the events that actually matter. You'd see teams start using their best relievers when they need them the most, saving games in an eventful 7th and letting a lesser reliever face the bottom of the order in a quiet 9th.This already exists, except only on the blown save side. If a reliever comes in with the lead and it qualifies for a save situation and gives it up, then he is charged with a blown save. Then if his team goes ahead and it is still a save situation, then the reliever qualifies if he finishes the game, or is charged with a blown save if responsible for the runs that led to losing the lead. For example, Chapman comes in with a one run lead in the 7th, gives up a run, the Reds go ahead in the 8th, Massett comes in and gives up a run, then the Reds score in the 9th and Cordero holds on, then there are 2 blown saves and a save.

Your idea is called a "Hold." Its already tracked.

HokieRed
09-10-2011, 12:17 PM
Actually, I think it's the opportunities that are volatile. If reliever pitched as many innings as starters each season, I think it's likely they would seem less volatile.

If relievers pitched as many innings as starters, they'd see every hitter (or every hitter would see them) a comparable number of times. This would lead to the relievers getting bombed, because their stuff would be exposed for what it is: not nearly as good as that of starters, which is why they are relievers in the first place (and perhaps also why relievers are volatile).

RedsManRick
09-10-2011, 03:14 PM
This already exists, except only on the blown save side. If a reliever comes in with the lead and it qualifies for a save situation and gives it up, then he is charged with a blown save. Then if his team goes ahead and it is still a save situation, then the reliever qualifies if he finishes the game, or is charged with a blown save if responsible for the runs that led to losing the lead. For example, Chapman comes in with a one run lead in the 7th, gives up a run, the Reds go ahead in the 8th, Massett comes in and gives up a run, then the Reds score in the 9th and Cordero holds on, then there are 2 blown saves and a save.

Your idea is called a "Hold." Its already tracked.

Exactly, that's sort of my point. We've given all this inflated importance to the save when we really shouldn't. A high leverage situation is a high leverage situation. And if you can blow a save, you should be able to earn one. If Massett doesn't allow a run in that situation, why doesn't he get a save?

defender
09-10-2011, 04:45 PM
I am going to try to rehabilitate the save.
You can’t win the game without getting the last 3 outs, the same as you can’t score a run without getting on base.

In theory it would be good to measure the ability to get the last 3 outs.
The save has some flaws. The two biggest ones:

1.Sometimes the pitcher getting the save, was not the most pivotal reliever in the game.

2.Sometimes a reliever can get a lot of saves, but still have a crappy season.

The save’s downfall, is that it is an easy to understand and distinct event. That makes it easy for us to see its flaws.

Reds are up by one Chapman strands a runner at 3rd in the 7th by striking out the heart of the lineup. Cordero has a 3 run lead, walks 2, 1 hit, 1 run and gets the save. In that scenario, we feel the save rewards the wrong reliever.

Hernandez batting 8th, comes up 3 times with a runner on 3rd an 2 outs. He is walked each time and the runner does not score. Renteria batting 2nd grounds out advancing Phillips to second in the first, Votto flies out and Phillips scores on Bruce’s 2 out single. Renteria also has a sac fly, and the Reds win 2 -0. In that scenario we feel that it all evens out over the large sample size of a season.

If you believe that baseball results are distributed normally (as if randomly), then both the value of the save and the value of OBP will be distributed normally. It is just easier to spot seasons like Cordero’s 40 saves in 2010. He was 3rd in the NL in saves, but clearly not anywhere close the the 3rd best relief pitcher. This, however, is part of the saves usefulness as a stat. We understand it weaknesses and it is easier to evaluate the data it provides.

nate
09-10-2011, 04:50 PM
If relievers pitched as many innings as starters, they'd see every hitter (or every hitter would see them) a comparable number of times. This would lead to the relievers getting bombed, because their stuff would be exposed for what it is: not nearly as good as that of starters, which is why they are relievers in the first place (and perhaps also why relievers are volatile).

I was waxing theoretical about the seasonal size of the data. A reliever roughly throws as many innings in three seasons as a starter does in one. I say this is the main reason relievers appear to be volatile.

I'm talking about sample size, not ability.

HokieRed
09-10-2011, 06:41 PM
I was waxing theoretical about the seasonal size of the data. A reliever roughly throws as many innings in three seasons as a starter does in one. I say this is the main reason relievers appear to be volatile.

I'm talking about sample size, not ability.

I don't see how you rule ability out. I certainly agree with your point. If relievers pitched as many innings as starters, they'd be less volatile. They'd all have sky high ERA's.

nate
09-10-2011, 07:53 PM
I don't see how you rule ability out.

For the third time, I'm talking about the sample size.


I certainly agree with your point. If relievers pitched as many innings as starters, they'd be less volatile. They'd all have sky high ERA's.

I disagree with the absoluteness of this statement.

traderumor
09-11-2011, 10:00 AM
Couple things on the latest points in this discussion:

I'm not sure I agree with the extrapolation theory on relievers, that more innings would reduce volatility. Relievers are valuable, but they are generally relievers because they are not starter material. It may be not enough pitches, not enough stamina, or just not good enough stuff to make it through several innings. So, if you give them starters innings, most relievers numbers will go up. Part of the idea of the reliever, esp. in the current era, is to limit their exposure.

As for the save, it is really a chicken and egg argument. While the 3 run lead aspect may bias the manager toward using his closer, I think most managers use the closer in the ninth with a three run lead or less because that is a "close" game by any definition and he thinks he is putting his best reliever in the game for that situation. Fans and media attach "save or non-save situation" to the decision more than it is a stat bias decision for the managers.

HokieRed
09-11-2011, 10:12 AM
If relievers could pitch as many innings competently as starters, they'd be starters. Thus a hypothetical about what they'd do in such a case is probably true but not very helpful.

nate
09-11-2011, 10:22 AM
Couple things on the latest points in this discussion:

I'm not sure I agree with the extrapolation theory on relievers, that more innings would reduce volatility. Relievers are valuable, but they are generally relievers because they are not starter material. It may be not enough pitches, not enough stamina, or just not good enough stuff to make it through several innings. So, if you give them starters innings, most relievers numbers will go up. Part of the idea of the reliever, esp. in the current era, is to limit their exposure.

They might go up, they might not. I disagree with the notion that they'd all go up. I agree with the notion that they'd stabilize.

mth123
09-11-2011, 10:35 AM
So all of this theoretical discussion is nice, but lets cut to the chase.

1. For 2012, does Chapman have what it takes to be a high leverage reliever (closer or fireman or however you philosophically want to deploy the pen)?
2. Does he have what it takes to pace himself, dial back his stuff and expand his pitch assortment to go through a line-up three times and still be an effective member of the starting rotation?

I'd say the answer to number 1 is yes.
The answer to number 2 is unknown at best and probably not based on what I've seen.

IMO, keep Chapman in the pen where he can air it out, limit his exposure and fill the role while devoting resources to guys who have already proven they can bolster the rotation. No need to spend resources on the pen if the answer to the rotation is simply to add another question mark to the mix.

BuckeyeRedleg
09-16-2011, 10:36 AM
I think LeCure would be a decent closer. Decent K rate. Low walk rate. Kind of quirky with the stache.

For 2012, let Cordero go. LeCure to closer. Boxberger up.

Bullpen: LeCure, Arrendondo, Bray, Chapman (if not starting), Boxberger, Ondrusek, Masset, Wood, etc........Not bad.

PuffyPig
09-16-2011, 11:04 AM
I think LeCure would be a decent closer. Decent K rate. Low walk rate. Kind of quirky with the stache.

For 2012, let Cordero go. LeCure to closer. Boxberger up.

Bullpen: LeCure, Arrendondo, Bray, Chapman (if not starting), Boxberger, Ondrusek, Masset, Wood, etc........Not bad.


It's pretty much the same as this year, minus one of our most effective pitchers (Cordero). Likely minus Chapman (I hope).

Exepct similiar results I would guess.

BuckeyeRedleg
09-16-2011, 11:53 AM
Exepct similiar results I would guess.

Maybe so, but $12M cheaper.

Rojo
09-16-2011, 07:57 PM
I think LeCure would be a decent closer. Decent K rate. Low walk rate. Kind of quirky with the stache.

For 2012, let Cordero go. LeCure to closer. Boxberger up.

Bullpen: LeCure, Arrendondo, Bray, Chapman (if not starting), Boxberger, Ondrusek, Masset, Wood, etc........Not bad.

I'd get rid of Masset -- I've had enough. And I don't like Wood in the pen.

Ideally, whatever the closer situation, I'd want to add another top notch reliever from outside to go with LeCure, Chapman, Bray and one or two of Boxberger/Arrendondo/Ondrusek.