Rays fans, get ready for a closer by committee in 2010!
"Rays vice president of baseball Andrew Friedman said he expects the Rays to break camp next spring with the old closer by committee.I understand Friedman's logic here. The Rays have a limited payroll and ultimately, some area of the team is going to suffer. Closers are a very overpriced commodity (outside of Joe Nathan, Mariano Rivera, etc.) and the save is the most overrated baseball statistic. It seems logical to think that a effective closer can be found on the cheap in 2010 if the Rays have some luck.
His reasoning? The Rays simply can’t afford someone like Billy Wagner, the former Astros, Phillies and Mets closer now serving as the Red Sox set-up man.
“I think there’s kind of a misnomer out there that we don’t believe in having someone that can lock down a game,” Friedman said Tuesday at Tropicana Field. “It’s just that when we get into our roster construction and allocating of resources, it’s very difficult for us to allocate a huge amount of money for someone who pitches 70 innings a year.”
Friedman added, “We can’t make any moves in a vacuum.”
However, if there was ever an offseason where the Rays could find a closer on the cheap, it would be this offseason. The reason? There's so many guys on the market who have closing experience. Take a look:
-JJ Putz (*option)
By my count, there are 10 free agents this offseason, who have closing experience. There are not ten teams in baseball that are in need of a closer. The price tag on some of these guys is bound to fall as the market for closers becomes colder. To me, that would be the ample opportunity for Friedman and the Rays to jump in and acquire a closer at a price that fits within their budget.
No one expects the Rays to sign a closer to a big money contract. That'd be foolish. But how about signing JJ Putz (if he becomes a free agent) to a one year pact with a low base salary and some nice incentives? A move like that could catapult the Rays to the top of the AL East if Putz is healthy and productive. That seems like a good risk to me.
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