The 2014 Proven Closer Disaster

After another late-game meltdown, Grant Balfour is officially out as closer for the Tampa Bay Rays, at least for now, and the Rays will go closer-by-committee for a little while. While no one player can doom an entire team, Balfour’s problems are one of the primary reasons the Rays have the worst record in baseball, especially given that Balfour’s $6 million salary is a larger share of Tampa’s budget than it would be for many of their competitors. But interestingly, Balfour isn’t really an outlier here. This year, nearly every team who spent resources to acquire a “proven closer” would have been better off lighting their money on fire instead.

While the definition of a “proven closer” is up for interpretation, I would suggest that seven relief pitchers changed teams last winter and were paid something of a premium due to their ninth inning experience. They are effective relievers and would have been valuable even without ninth inning experience, but their end-of-game history likely earned them a little more money than they would have had they been career setup men. Those seven, and their contracts, are listed below.

Joe Nathan: 2 years, $20 million
Brian Wilson: 2 years, $18.5 million
Joaquin Benoit: 2 years, $15.5 million
Fernando Rodney: 2 years, $14 million
Grant Balfour: 2 years, $12 million
Jim Johnson: 1 year, $10 million
Edward Mujica: 2 years, $9.5 million

Six of them changed teams as free agents, while Johnson was traded in a salary dump by the Orioles, and was effectively available to any team who wanted to pay the amount he would get in his final trip through arbitration. Here’s how those seven pitchers have done this year, with their 2013 performance listed below for reference.

2014 IP BB% K% GB% HR/FB LOB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR RA9-WAR
Joaquin Benoit 27.2 6% 30% 34% 3% 82% 0.215 47 53 78 0.7 1.0
Fernando Rodney 23.2 10% 28% 44% 6% 80% 0.344 57 71 82 0.6 0.6
Brian Wilson 20.2 15% 25% 40% 15% 71% 0.345 175 147 123 -0.4 -0.7
Grant Balfour 23.2 19% 19% 49% 9% 62% 0.266 171 136 133 -0.4 -0.8
Jim Johnson 23.2 12% 15% 60% 7% 67% 0.386 167 112 116 0.0 -0.6
Edward Mujica 23.0 7% 15% 42% 18% 66% 0.320 160 136 110 -0.3 -0.5
Joe Nathan 23.0 11% 20% 38% 14% 59% 0.313 173 124 110 -0.2 -0.9
Total 165.1 11% 22% 44% 11% 69% 0.315 133 109 106 0.0 -1.9
—– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —– —–
2013 IP BB% K% GB% HR/FB LOB% BABIP ERA- FIP- xFIP- WAR RA9-WAR
Joe Nathan 64.2 9% 29% 32% 3% 87% 0.224 33 54 83 2.5 3.5
Joaquin Benoit 67.0 8% 28% 42% 8% 87% 0.256 49 71 80 1.6 2.6
Grant Balfour 62.2 10% 28% 38% 11% 84% 0.263 67 91 86 0.6 1.5
Edward Mujica 64.2 2% 18% 45% 12% 86% 0.263 77 102 94 0.0 1.4
Jim Johnson 70.1 6% 19% 58% 11% 79% 0.327 72 85 85 0.9 1.5
Fernando Rodney 66.2 12% 28% 51% 7% 73% 0.298 89 75 79 1.3 0.7
Total 409.2 8% 25% 46% 9% 82% 0.274 63 79 84 7.1 11.8

As a group, they have been replacement level by FIP, and two wins worse than replacement level by runs allowed. Walks and homers are up, strikeouts are down, their low HR/FB% and BABIPs have regressed past the mean and are now worse than the league average, and the combination of hits and homers allowed have meant they haven’t been able to strand many of the copious amounts of baserunners they’re allowing. This group has been dreadful.

It says something about the group’s ineffectiveness when Fernando Rodney is the shining beacon of consistency. Benoit and Rodney look like Mariano Rivera next to the rest of these guys. Johnson and Balfour have already pitched their way out of the ninth inning, and at this rate, Joe Nathan isn’t far behind.

Interestingly, this mostly isn’t a case of old school GMs getting fooled by inflated save totals. The A’s, Rays, and Red Sox were all buyers on the list above, and each have previously been among the organizations to place the least amount of emphasis on ninth inning track records. In the case of the A’s and Rays, both had some money to spend in free agency but didn’t want to extend long commitments, and relief pitchers now offer one of the few places in free agency to spend money while sticking to one or two year commitments. As the closer disaster of 2014 shows, however, the “there’s no such thing as a bad one year deal” truism isn’t really true.

It’s just two months worth of performance, and these guys are likely going to perform much better over the rest of the season than they have so far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was even more hesitancy to spend on relief pitching next winter. The price of proven closers has been steadily dropping over the last few years, and this dumpster fire of a performance isn’t going to help the flaky reputation of ninth inning specialists.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Purps McGurps
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Purps McGurps
2 years 1 month ago

you can also add chris perez to this list.

ALEastbound
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2 years 1 month ago

Also known as the Todd Jones Project

Jim Price
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Jim Price
2 years 1 month ago

I liked Todd Jones. He knew exactly what he was and would regularly say he was just blessed to still be in the league. In an interview once when asked about his penchant for making every appearance a nail biter, he said something to the effect of “Well, if you can’t take it then go in the kitchen and make a sandwich. One way or another it’ll be over in a few minutes.” Yes sir, many saves ended with a fly out to the warning track and a huge sigh of relief….

Joe
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Joe
2 years 1 month ago

I think Jose Veras should count, and he increases the point you are making

Mike D
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Mike D
2 years 1 month ago

Axford can be added as well.

Nathaniel Dawson
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Nathaniel Dawson
2 years 1 month ago

Axford had zero saves last year.

munchtime
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munchtime
2 years 1 month ago

And how many did he have prior to last year?

SKob
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2 years 1 month ago

@ Nathaniel – How many saves did Brian Wilson have? Let me give you a hint, not more than Axford!

Josh
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Josh
2 years 1 month ago

Its not quite true that the Red Sox haven’t spent on “proven closers.” They traded Jed Lowrie for Mark Melancon, Mark Melancon for Joel Hanrahan, and Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss for Andrew Bailey. Thats a lot of good players for some saves

lee foo Rug Bug
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lee foo Rug Bug
2 years 1 month ago

Brandon Moss was traded by the Red Sox to the Bucs in the Jason Bay deal.

MDL
Member
MDL
2 years 1 month ago

The point is that the Red Sox have targeted “proven closers”, especially in recent years to fill the void when Papelbon left. Even before the reign of Papelbon began they traded for Foulke before ’04.

Durkin O'Donahue
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Durkin O'Donahue
2 years 1 month ago

Foulke was a free agent.

AS
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AS
2 years 1 month ago

Let’s not forget the Gagne disaster.

Actually, let’s forget the Gagne disaster.

MDL
Member
MDL
2 years 1 month ago

@Durkin My bad… but my point stands.

Bobby Ayala
Member
Member
2 years 1 month ago

Except Joel Hanrahan was the only “proven closer” you’ve mentioned. Your points stands on no feet.

Ian
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Ian
2 years 1 month ago

Andrew Bailey and his 75 career saves before joining the Red Sox doesn’t count? That’s far more than the majority of the guys discussed in this article. Uehara wasn’t exactly a complete non-closer before coming to Boston either. He had been closing in Baltimore, and likely would have been a more established closer had he been able to stay completely healthy.

Johnny
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Johnny
2 years 1 month ago

Billy Beane trading for Jim Johnson shocked me because the A’s have known this fact for years and have either gone with guys from within or traded/signed guys who were coming off of unlucky/down years.

Rick
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Rick
2 years 1 month ago

I think part of Beane’s thinking was that he had to sign an established closer to keep Doolittle out of the role. That was the only way to prevent Doolittle from getting the closer role. That allowed Beane to sign Doolittle for a team friendly long-term deal (5 years, 10.5 mil is a bargain he couldn’t negotiate for someone who’s a closer).

Atreyu Jones
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Atreyu Jones
2 years 1 month ago

But he didn’t have to sign an established closer to keep Doolittle (and Cook) out of the closer role.

larry bowa
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larry bowa
2 years 1 month ago

He traded for Johnson.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 1 month ago

What Atreyu said. You don’t have to spend $10MM on a dude just to keep someone out of the closer’s role. Just name one of your other in-house options closer.

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 1 month ago

Also, we haven’t heard much lately from that guy who was foaming at the mouth to get Johnson reinstalled as closer and saying that Doolittle wasn’t very good.

(The argument mainly coming down to the fact that he had Johnson on his fantasy team.)

SKob
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2 years 1 month ago

He traded for Johnson and Gregerson and Gregerson got first shot when Johnson got booted. Then, after the long term deal, Doolittle was the man. Trading for both guys to save money down the line on Doolittle does not sound far fetched to me, but I think Bean could have been planning on Johnson not sucking and being able to trade half his salary away at some point this year also. oops!

Obsessivegiantscompulsive
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2 years 1 month ago

I was going to leave a main comment but it seems better here. From what I recall, either FG or THT wrote an article exactly on this topic, about how the A’s save on their younger relievers by delaying by a year when they take on greater duties like closing. There was a domino effect on their arbitration salaries by this tactic. I do not recall if the article mentioned how that justifies $10M for Johnson, but it must have as the author was positive about this move.

It is still a head scratcher to me. Billy could have picked a cheaper closer on the market because he could sign a guy and name him the closer. I put this up there with signing Sheets and trading for Milton Bradley and trading for Holliday.

Ian
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Ian
2 years 1 month ago

Let me see if I have this straight. Billy Beane thought it was a good idea to throw $10MM at Jim Johnson so that he could get a slight discount Doolittle? Isn’t that like buying a $20 off coupon for $100?

Billy Simmons
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Billy Simmons
2 years 1 month ago

*Nods*

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants
2 years 1 month ago

It’s a 1 year deal though for a team that is a real contender and looking to win now. If it worked out and he was a lockdown closer this year, great. If it didn’t, go with the committee/scrap heap approach that has typically worked and he’s gone after the season. I think that might be why they gave him such a quick hook as a closer – they’re not worried about his ego or justifying his signing – they are concerned with actually holding leads and winning games.

ChummyZ
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ChummyZ
2 years 1 month ago

There was an article on Hardball Times that hit the nail on the head. Basically, all of the young A’s RPs hadn’t been to arbitration yet. Saves really boost your earnings in arbitration. Each year of arbitration’s salary increases into the next year of arbitration. So giving any of them saves now could compound over the arb years to be a significant amount of money. So once they had Doolittle signed through arbitration, then they conveniently gave him the role right after.

Ivan Grushenko
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Ivan Grushenko
2 years 1 month ago

Why? Beane’s previously acquired Billy Koch, Keith Foulke, Arthur Rhodes and Octavio Dotel. Why is it a surprise that he paid a lot for a reliever?

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants
2 years 1 month ago

Agreed, it shouldn’t have been surprising, those were all basically one-year rentals, just like Johnson. It’s surprising more teams don’t follow the Beane model with regards to closers seeing how it has worked out for him more often than not.

Instead, we have RAJ down there giving away 5 years and 60 mil.

Obsessivegiantscompulsive
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2 years 1 month ago

Oh really? How many rings has that got him?

Hendu for Kutch
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Hendu for Kutch
2 years 1 month ago

Just one ring. He was briefly engaged to Octavio Dotel but kept the ring even after the wedding was called off. The bastard.

Ruben Amaro Jr.
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Ruben Amaro Jr.
2 years 1 month ago

Papelbon’s having a great year guys!

Emcee Peepants
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Emcee Peepants
2 years 1 month ago

Don’t you have a 35 year old to sign for a 3 year deal instead of trolling fantasy baseball forums?

BenRevereDoesSteroids
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BenRevereDoesSteroids
2 years 1 month ago

I’m going to stick up for you for a sec, Mr. Amaro Jr. Whenever you add a relief pitcher for big bucks, the sabermetric community says it is because you are an idiot. But when the Rays and Athletics spend money on closers, its to keep the arbitration down for their younger relievers, or because they want to make good on their World Series window. It is funny how our perception of front offices affect how we react to the moves they make.

You still suck, by the way.

Bearman
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Bearman
2 years 1 month ago

5 years though…..maybe a little overkill

Tom Cranker
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Tom Cranker
2 years 1 month ago

Papelbon’s contract when signed with the Phillies > Jim Johnson and Balfour’s current contracts combined

Fatalotti
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Fatalotti
2 years 1 month ago

If RAJ had signed Papelbon to a one-year deal, even if for $13 M, I’m sure there would have been a little griping, but no where near the unanimous panning that it received when he gave him FIVE YEARS at nearly $13 M per.

And there was (and is now) some griping and questioning about Beane giving Johnson that much money, if even for a year.

Seriously, the moves don’t compare in the slightest, so you’re reaching here.

Eddie Bird
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Eddie Bird
2 years 1 month ago

So far they’ve paid Papelbon about 30 million for 4.5 WAR. That’s about an average return.

They have him for this year and next. They only have to pay him in 2016 if he finishes 55 games in 2015 or 100 from 2014-15. In other words, only as long as he remains healthy and effective.

hefe
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hefe
2 years 1 month ago

30 million for 4.5 WAR is market rate for Wins/$ now, but it certainly wasn’t when the contract was signed. At that time it was closer to 5-6 million, meaning that they got significantly below market prices.

hefe
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hefe
2 years 1 month ago

above market, rather. Point being that they overpaid for Papelbon, and although it wasn’t egregious, it was easily avoidable.

SKob
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2 years 1 month ago

Big bucks for 1-2 years at 10 mill or under is not a risk. Papelbon for 5 and $60 is dumb… but I see your point… at the time they signed Papelbon they had no young relievers to bank on, so they didn’t have to fill a 2 year window, they had to fill a 5 year window. Which is also an indictment on RAJ.

Adam S
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Adam S
2 years 1 month ago

Didn’t Brian Wilson re-sign with the Dodgers?

Obsessivegiantscompulsive
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2 years 1 month ago

Yes he did, and not as a closer.

tz
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tz
2 years 1 month ago

The biggest irony is that the best of the bunch (Benoit) was NOT signed to be his new team’s closer (San Diego already having Huston Street with his own big proven-closer contract)

King Buzzo
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King Buzzo
2 years 1 month ago

Mujica too while you’re at it

Richie
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Richie
2 years 1 month ago

Yeah, I really only see the premium being present with Nathan and Rodney. All the others, in an environment awash with $$$ they just saw the bullpen as the new spending ‘efficiency’. Oops.

Richie
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Richie
2 years 1 month ago

I mean, if the A’s were so concerned with the 9th inning, they would’ve just put Doolittle there to start. The Rays’ motivation was similar, it was understood Benoit and Mujica wouldn’t be closing, as well as Wilson, with the Dodgers also of course being in Steinbrennerian money-burning mode.

crumplift
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crumplift
2 years 1 month ago

The A’s made Doolittle closer only after they signed him to a 5-year $10.5-13.75 million contract extension April 18th. They didn’t make him closer at the beginning of the year because it saved them from potentially shelling out millions (more) to him in arbitration (for having saves on his resume).

http://www.hardballtimes.com/how-paying-established-closers-saves-teams-money/

Obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

Yeah, but you cannot just wave away the ten mil, are the As saving that much by doing this with relievers, also to point above, there must be cheaper options, plus why not give the ten mil to the pitchers who will earn it instead of someone they do not necessarily value, he clearly thinks relievers are fungible.

BMarkham
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BMarkham
2 years 1 month ago

Perhaps the willingness for the A’s, Rays, and Red Sox to spend on relievers goes hand in hand with the lower run scoring environment.

The lower the average runs per game, the larger percentage outcomes of late tied or one run games (think Soccer), in which relievers are frequently in high leverage situations. In a 7-4 game, the seventh through ninth won’t have near as many high leverage situations as a 1-0 game. And these situations aren’t only higher leverage because the games are closer, but because in a low run scoring environment scoring opportunities come around less often.

It seems that most teams that over perform their run differential have strong bullpens (2013 Pirates for instance) and most teams that under perform their run differential have weak pens (2013 and 2014 Tigers).

Perhaps the continued propensity for relievers to “blow up” so to speak means teams must analyze them better, whether than back off on spending money on them. As long as we are in a low run environment relievers will continue to be in a lot of the spots that decide games.

Sjcstavros
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Sjcstavros
2 years 1 month ago

Hey BMarkham- good point, but when I looked at it a few years ago, I found that it’s actually the disparity of skill levels amongst bullpen members, not the actual bullpen strength, that correlates strongly to the deviation of actual wins from prediction by the Pythagorean formula. Know it sounds like semantics but it is a key difference as just having a lights out complete set of relief pitchers would reduce runs allowed in total and so be reflected in run differential. Having a disparate set means runs can be doled out freely in low leverage situations and stingily prevented in high leverage situations, leading to outperformance of the overall run differential. I am surprised that I haven’t seen more work done on this in general as this effect really does lead a team to be more than the sum of its parts.

When we did the work in 09 on the 2002-2008 dataset, we saw that homogenous bullpens underperform and broad range of abilities outperform. We defined this disparity, in its simplest form as -(1/9)*Sum {(Player innings pitched * Player average game Leverage Index * (player FIP-Team FIP)} summed across a team’s pitching staff (it works for just bullpens too). We also did some adjustments for defense based on UZR (multiply the expression by something of the form “-m*UZR*park factor+c” where m and c are constants derived from the data: you don’t need to but it is intuitively sensible and improves results), and the resultant ratio seems to predict around half of the variance of teams’ final deviation from their pythagorean predictions. It makes common sense and is a very strong correlation.

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
2 years 1 month ago

So … are you saying that since Uehara is very good, the Red Sox made the smart move by adding Mujica, thus increasing the disparity of skill levels in their bullpen? Interesting if true.

hefe
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hefe
2 years 1 month ago

can you point me to where this work is written up? I am very interested.

Sjcstavros
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Sjcstavros
2 years 1 month ago

Never wrote it up properly. We did the study and my mate got carried away with the idea of getting it published in a journal (we were two idle chemists with a bit of time free and community research wasn’t quite as big a deal as it is now). Got half way through writing it then work went mental and we never got around finishing it. This link has where we got to in terms of actually presenting the work (has the main points and a couple of graphs)- it’s tolerable if you ignore the initial guff and our cheeky attempt to get our names into an acronym :p! Apologies in advance!!

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u586dw5gmzoad53/Pitching%20Disparity%20and%20Leverage.doc

jim fetterolf
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jim fetterolf
2 years 1 month ago

We see the disparity thingie with the Royals, tight game gets Herrera-Davis-Holland to wrap up, blow outs either way get a couple of AAAA arms to soak up innings and give up meaningless runs.

a eskpert
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a eskpert
2 years 1 month ago

This is cool. It’s like gerrymandering, but with bullpens. So with two equally skilled bullpens, the one with the greater degree of variability (however you should choose to measure that)is better. I’ve always wondered about this with regard to starting pitchers, both during starts, and between starts. What they could vary is velocity. This is why I think Justin Verlander (or Bob Gibson, actually) has been so dominant in the post season. We see only optimal pitches, whereas in low leverage regular season games he might cruise rather than try to blow by everyone.

Cliff
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Cliff
2 years 1 month ago

No, the more variable bullpen is absolutely not better. It just makes the team outperform its run differential. The better bullpen will cause the team to actually have a better run differential and therefore that team will be better overall, buts its performance will be in line with its run differential.

a eskpert
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a eskpert
2 years 1 month ago

“equally skilled.” Perhaps I should have said optimal.

BMarkham
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BMarkham
2 years 1 month ago

Yes having a disparate bullpen would intensify the effect, but I’m just referring to the fact that if a team underperforms in one run and two runs games they’re going to be off compared to their run differential.

Scoring 3 runs to their 4 adds one to loss column, but a team that scores an average of 3 runs a game scored and gives up an average 4 runs a game will have a .370 Pythagorean record.

Thus a team that loses more close games than it wins will under perform their pythag record, and the opposite would be true for teams that win more close games than they lose.

Two things are usually associated with winning close games: strong pens and good in game management by the field manager. Those two can sometimes go hand in hand in the case of the manager handling the bullpen. Of course a strong bullpen helps hold close leads as well as keeps the team in close games when behind, making comebacks more possible.

This effect could be amplified now that we are in a lower run scoring environment which creates lower scores and thus closer game scores. It could be even more amplified for teams like the A’s and Rays who play in competitive divisions where not only are there a lot of close games but also close division and wild card races where a win or two can make a big difference.

obsessivegiantscompulsive
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

Why is it that when the Giants over the past few off-seasons been spending a lot of money signing up their relievers that they like, they are crazy for doing that because relievers are fungible, but when the A’s, Rays, and Red Sox are doing it, they are smart for doing it because of some reason (in this case, lower run environment)?

And the Giants are even more in a lower run environment, both because of their park, as well as their good rotation, generally, over the past few years.

So by your argument, BMarkham, the Giants were actually ahead of the curve the past few years by signing up the relievers that they want to keep to big money.

It was bound to happen
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It was bound to happen
2 years 1 month ago

…and the real crux is, obviously, this is a slight against the Giants.

Urr…*perceived* slight.

Max
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Max
2 years 1 month ago

Addison Reed is OK but not what we expected. He gets the saves but always gives me a heart attack in typical Dbacks fashion.

Nathaniel Dawson
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Nathaniel Dawson
2 years 1 month ago

How did anything that Dave wrote lead you to bring up Addison Reed?

Bobby
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Bobby
2 years 1 month ago

Is it too much for Sabermetrics guys to show ERA and WHIP too? In the end, it is about keeping runners off the base and not giving up runs. The other data is supporting evidence to show if a pitcher is getting lucky/unlucky. I have no problem embracing the new stats, but give a bone to the old guys too.

JH
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JH
2 years 1 month ago

He showed RA9/WAR, which is the one you want if you’re looking only at run scoring. Not sure why you’d demand to know how many of those runs were shaved off due to subjective scorers’ decisions about hit vs. error.

WHIP isn’t an old-school stat. Its widespread use is due almost entirely to the fact that the standard 5×5 roto format needed a 5th, easily understandable category for pitchers. To the best of my knowledge it’s never appeared on the back of a baseball card. It’s the ‘tweener of baseball stats: the old-school people don’t use it because the acronym is 4 letters long instead of 3 and it didn’t exist back when Ty Cobb played, and new-school people don’t use it because it’s meaningless.

jim fetterolf
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jim fetterolf
2 years 1 month ago

Box scores have hits, walks, and errors. Maybe old school didn’t need a spread sheet to sum them?

Shankbone
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2 years 1 month ago

‘tweener of baseball stats’

Awesome.

Daniel Oak Rent
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2 years 1 month ago

WHIP was one of the original 4 Rotisserie pitching categories. Ks is the 5th.

JH
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JH
2 years 1 month ago

And Fangraphs shows ERA in the dashboard, because they understand that it’s still part of standard baseball parlance. When talking about how well guys have actually pitched, though, it’s entirely reasonable to focus on things that are directly within the pitchers’ control.

dude
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dude
2 years 1 month ago

Dare I say that the Orioles were right about Balfour?

Josh
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Josh
2 years 1 month ago

I think that is a reach especially considering Tommy Hunter would fit in just fine on this list if he was acquired via trade or free agency instead of being “promoted” to the closers roll. Also the Orioles had concerns about Balfour’s health not his effectiveness.

dude
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dude
2 years 1 month ago

Balfour has had a major drop in velocity from last year, which is often a sign of injury.

Tim
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Tim
2 years 1 month ago

Hunter would not fit this list at all. He was not a “proven closer,” and he was not given a big contract. He sucks, sure. But that’s not simply a list of pitchers who suck.

Mr Baseball
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Mr Baseball
2 years 1 month ago

Savezz!

mcbrown
Member
mcbrown
2 years 1 month ago

I’d hypothesize that Mujica got signed for (projected) skills rather than the “proven closer” label, given that (a) at signing he was at best 3rd in line for the closer role in Boston, and (b) his AAV is by far the lowest in this group and less than half the top “proven closer” guys (for reference Mujica is only getting 700k more per year than Matt Belisle signed for in 2012; Belisle had a whopping 2 career saves at that point).

Not that it has helped his performance any… yikes.

Johnny Ringo
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

I feel that the main and primary issue, is that too many teams will “stick” with their closer when it’s obvious he doesn’t have it right out of the gate in a 9th inning game.

I have no problem paying for a backend of a bullpen, but just because a guy is getting paid a lot, should mean little. It’s simply a prediction of expected performance and nothing more. (The money)

Why should someone like Balfour be inserted if there are 3 lefties coming up in the 9th inning? Makes no sense and it never has.

Johnny Ringo
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

And secondly, I would love to see the “the save statistic” become less important.

Another scenario. Tight game, 1 righty, and 2 lefties coming up. Sure, I know there are splits that work out, but why wouldn’t you go with a righty, then a lefty pitcher, and warm up another righty just in case?

I feel if there is anytime guys should be ready to come in, in an instant, it’s in any close game.

I’ve seen way to many games blown because the manager “wanted to have confidence in their closer”. Please, from this fan, no more! :)

Josh
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Josh
2 years 1 month ago

It would help a lot if saves were de-emphasized and actual usefulstatistics were used when determining arbitration salaries. If you really need a counting stat Ive always prefered holds because maintaining an inherted lead is what everyone wants their bullpen to accomplish.

joser
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joser
2 years 1 month ago

This very site used to promote a better pair of stats for relievers, the Shutdown and Meltdown

Anonymous
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Anonymous
2 years 1 month ago

Allow me to make an NFL comparison. Numbers say that more teams should be going for it on 4th down than are. But everyone punts. Why? Because coaches don’t lose their jobs when they punt on 4th down. They lose their jobs when they go for it on 4th down and fail.

If a skipper started using his bullpen in an unconventional way, every time they failed there would be an uproar. The losses would be universally blamed on the manager’s bullpen usage, and not attributed to natural variance or poor player performance. But when using the conventional bullpen set-up, no one blames the manager for the capital CL ‘Closer’ blowing a save here or there. Even though it’s sub-optimal, the safer play to maintain your job is to be in lockstep with the old-school paradigm.

Anonymous
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Anonymous
2 years 1 month ago

Also, player agents would shit a chicken if ‘Holds’ and ‘Saves’ went away. Those two empty stats have reaped hundreds of millions of undeserved dollars for agents.

Jamie
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Jamie
2 years 1 month ago

This. You see it every time a manager goes to a “closer-by-committee”, which rarely lasts beyond the first blown save. It’s the difference in headlines between MANAGER X FAILS and CLOSER X FAILS.

Grimace
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Grimace
2 years 1 month ago

And of course Johnson and Nathan are on my fantasy team.

Hamburglar
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Hamburglar
2 years 1 month ago

Rabble rabble

channelclemente
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channelclemente
2 years 1 month ago

Poor Romo, can’t a buy a letter, even though he leads MLB in saves.

thirteenthirteen
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thirteenthirteen
2 years 1 month ago

I don’t think Romo is going to be sad he wasn’t mentioned in an article titled The 2014 Proven Closer Disaster.

Butthurt Giants Fan
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Butthurt Giants Fan
2 years 1 month ago

BUT THIS IS ABOUT US! WE NEED TO BE MENTIONED GLOWINGLY IN EVERY ARTICLE! *EVERY* ARTICLE!!!1!

JackD
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JackD
2 years 1 month ago

No Francisco Rodriguez?

Not a Brewers fan, but the exclusion of his name from this list/data seems awfully self-serving considering the premise.

He had 23 saves last season and clearly his 9th Inn experience was a huge part of why MIL brought him back after the mid-season trade to BAL.

Corey Heim
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Corey Heim
2 years 1 month ago

K-Rod’s not on this list because he’s not failing (or wildly underperforming relative to his contract). In fact, K-Rod’s actually an ideal example of what teams should do (and I’m trying to not even be biased).

Sure he was paid, in part, for past performance, and his saves, etc. But he wasn’t signed to be the Capital C Closer and he knew that. It just worked out that way because of Henderson’s loss of velo and command (which now appears may have been early signals of the injury that shelved him now).

So salary the Brewers are paying K-Rod is the best money they could’ve spent this year because they have a guy that stepped in for their Capital C Closer and aside from the #TPOT we have to suffer through occasionally, he’s been damned effective

Steven
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Steven
2 years 1 month ago

Especially considering he included Mujica, who was never signed to be a closer.

However, I think Cameron would exclude KRod under the premise “were paid something of a premium”, as KRod only got 1/3.25 Million (significantly less than these guys).

Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles
2 years 1 month ago

Prolly why Grilli is excluded too (2years $6.5 million).

Pirates Hurdles
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Pirates Hurdles
2 years 1 month ago

oops that was 2013 dummy, lol.

Garrett's Mom
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Garrett's Mom
2 years 1 month ago

So what you’re saying is, teams should always get TWO proven closers, no matter the cost.

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