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It's about that time... (for a new closer)


As the title says, after watching last nights game, to me, it has become apparent that our glaring need is a closer (after that a starter, but thats a whole new topic). Gagne has proved that he just can't get it done. Last night : 2 Base hits, 3 walks, 2 ER - Season: ERA over 6 (not necessarily a good judge for a reliever), 4 HR already, 17K/10BB ratio, etc. Good teams (especially those expecting to go to the playoffs and get somewhere) cannot afford to blow 2 or 3 run leads consistently in the 9th inning. If this were a rare ocassion, I could write it off as good hitting, but it has become all to consistent. Gagne can't get his changeup for a strike consistently and guys just sit back and let him throw it out of the zone and take walks.

 

SO, the question is, who do you think we move/trade for/call up to the closer role??

 

My thoughts - trade Gagne. I know he can't have much value right now with a whopping contract (although only 1 year) and his struggles early on this year, however he has proved that he can't get it done in as a set-up man either so I don't think we can afford to hand that over to him either. He's starting to sound like t-bow here. I think we trade him and see what we can get, move Stetter to the closer role and continue from there. Maybe Stetter can be a little B.J. Ryan-esque and get it done (minus the arm injury). Thoughts?

 

 

Edit: Please be clear and specific in thread titles. - Toby

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well, looking through the MLB.com gameday from yesterday (i would assume the position of the pitches to be fairly accurate)....I see he maybe got squeazed on 2 or 3 pitches:

 

Ball 1 to Darin Erstad - Right about the knees

Ball 2 to Michael Born - Around the knees

 

Maybe

 

Ball 1 to Michael Born - Around the knees

 

other than that...he couldn't hit the zone. I dont, and nobody should, expect an umpire to give you a pitch 2 or 3 inches off the plate in any direction. The zone is the zone, and EXPECTING to get calls outside of it is wishful thinking, however sometimes it does happen.

 

To me, it appears that he can't get the corner or the important strike when he needs it. Gagne needs to be able to throw that changeup with good command to get his outs. This way he can keep guys honest and make them swing that the ones out of the zone, like the good-ol'-days with the Dodgers. Maybe I'm crazy though, I just don't think we can keep throwing a guy (no matter who it is) out there who goes 9/14 on save opportunities and expect to go to the playoffs.

 

As the old saying goes, before the season starts, there are generally about 100 games that are out of your hands. 50 you are destined to win, 50 to lose, its what you do with the other 62 in the middle that makes or breaks it. We can't afford to give them away in the 9th with walks.

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Well I dont disagree with you at all, if there is a better option available, then we should pounce on it. To me, Issue #1 is this team needs a pitcher who can work past the 5th inning. I can see why you would think closer is the #1 issue though - this team seems to have alot of them. Some could make the case that issue #1 is the manager.

 

I dont think there is a simple fix for this team at this point.

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i am still not ready to give up on Gagne. If you look at the 5 saves he blew, really the only one that was pretty bad was opening day. The game yesterday, in my opinion atleast, The stros benefited from a missed call at 1st and a pretty small strike zone. Still he had a chance to get out of it and failed so its only a small excuse. I think he just needs to put yesterday behind him and go with it.
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I'm not ready to throw Gagne under the bus yet either, but I still think we need another arm in the pen. I know Nathan just resigned, but does he have a no trade clause? If not, I don't think you can assume he is not going anywhere. If you offered LaPorta, that might perk up their ears a bit.
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a question that should be raised is how much rope are you willing to give gagne before you yank it? if he continues on his current pace, he could end up with 20 blown saves and 30 saves. Gagne is pitching ok, but a closer is supposed to come in and blow three hitters away and end the game. and every time gagne goes out there, eve n when he gets a save, it's an adventure. he is neither fooling or blowing away anybody. he's getting by on experience and guts. those are good qualities. but how much longer can the brewers keep going with just that? They proved in the past they made the mistake of sticking with their veterans too long . it's a tough call. Just like playing Andrew jones.

 

at some point in time, winning comes first. When you're winning , you can allow for veteran slumps. when you are losing, their defiecincies are more noticiable and you ask why didn't the manager see this coming?

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We don't need another closer and the arms we have in the pen are sufficient. The Twins are in 1st place. Why on earth would they trade their All Star closer now?

 

The problem isn't the bullpen. It's a combination of starting pitching and lack of offense. The starters aren't shutting down opponents and hitters aren't scoring a lot of runs. You aren't going to win anything if you don't blow teams out either with stellar starting pitching combined with scoring 5 or more runs, or 8 or more runs with decent starting pitching.

 

Leaving it all on the pen day after day isn't going to get it done no matter who you have out there. You think the 82 Brewers relied on the pen 5 days a week? No they usually only needed Fingers a couple days a week. The rest of the time they blasted teams.

 

As for Gagne, he may have "blown" 5 saves in the record book, but he blew one game which happened to be the one he was in his 4th game in a row. In the 4 other "blown save" games, he left the game with the score tied. Three of those, they later won. Yesterday they lost. He's saved 9 others. I don't think you give up on him when you are paying him $10 million and there is 80% of the season left.

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WAY too early yet, even if he does lead the league in blown saves. we know he won't do well in the setup role from what happened in Boston, so if he's not closing, there's not a huge use for him and he basically becomes Turnbow. plus closer ego is fragile, so you really can't go fiddling around with his role unless you're going to make it a permanent move.

 

and Riske i thought was sort of being groomed to take the closers role, and i'd still give it to him if the Brewers wanted Gagne out. you never know sometimes if pitchers can step it up and do better under higher-pressure situations. or heck, i'd give it to Mota before i'd go and trade prospects for a closer.

 

plus the position is fragile enough as it is, and enough closers have come out of nowhere to do well that that's the last position i'd trade a prospect for. not to mention that a starting pitcher is far more pressing at the moment than a more reliable closer.

 

don't trade LaPorta for anyone! please!

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why don't we just make torres the closer?

 

Gagne has no value if he is not closing. Torres probably has more value, in my opinion, if he is used in important situations in the seventh or eighth inning.

 

And in response to "it's about time for a new closer", who would you like to get? Sure, it seems simple to just trade for Francisco Rodriguez or Joe Nathan. It doesn't happen.

 

I'd also like to have better starters and better defense and better offense.

 

You can't reasonably expect anyone to pitch a perfect inning every time out. If there was an easy way to upgrade, It should definitely be done. But there just isn't, and I don't think you're going to find any better "closer" available right now.

 

He's starting to sound like t-bow here. I think we trade him and see what we can get, move Stetter to the closer role and continue from there. Maybe Stetter can be a little B.J. Ryan-esque and get it done (minus the arm injury).

 

That's a pretty knee-jerk reaction. Basing a decision on 5 innings of Stetter- who, by the way, I do like- would be terrible management. Simply put, every member of the bullpen has an important role and you can't just expect an upgrade if you think one might be needed. I think Gagne just becomes a scape-goat for those who don't want to dig deep enough to find what the problems really are.

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I think the Brewers would be better off keeping Gagne as the "closer", and using guys like Torres and Mota to get out of tough jams in the 7th and 8th innings. Who would you rather have come into the game with the other team having runners on 2nd and 3rd and trailing by one? If Gagne keeps pitching the 9th, at least he starts the inning with no one on base.

"[baseball]'s a stupid game sometimes." -- Ryan Braun

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I wouldn't expect anyone to come out and get a perfect save (or any save for that matter) any time out. I don't find it acceptable, however, to blow multi-run leads with a $10 million contract. I am confident that we have someone (probably even someone in the minors) that can go in there are go 9/14 on save opportunities, squandering a few multi-run leads, while paying him substantially less. On a team with a fairly tight budget, a $10 million contract is HUGE and we should expect something substantial from this guy. I was an advocate for bringing him in, provided he could get results. This, however, he hasn't done.

 

Yes, this is speculative as well. I understand that we are only 1 month into a 6 month season, but it makes for fun conversation at least. Hopefully in the end, Gagne will end up doing great and I am sure we will get a chance to find out given Yost's track record of sticking with guys.

 

Brewjihad - I don't at all find it simple for us to trade for a guy like Francisco Rodriguez or Joe Nathan. Their respective GM's would want us to sell the farm to get them which is ridiculous and something that Melvin would never do. We just need to find one of these closers perennially seems to pop out of nowhere!

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I'm not ready to throw Gagne under the bus yet either, but I still think we need another arm in the pen. I know Nathan just resigned, but does he have a no trade clause? If not, I don't think you can assume he is not going anywhere. If you offered LaPorta, that might perk up their ears a bit.

The rumor that I've heard was that the deal Nathan signed made him more likely to be dealt because teams would be getting him for more than just the end of this year. It was Gammons who reported that there was still a decent chance that he'd be dealt, so just saying "he's not going anywhere" because he signed the contract may be a bit premature.

As far as dealing Gange, that's not going to happen. In part because he's not yet eligible to be dealt. In part because who's going to want him. And in part because if he doesn't figure it out, we're in a lot of trouble. We need him to. Who else can we put in there

Stetter? He's done really well, but it's just way to early to throw him into a role like that. I think what he's doing is really impressive, but it's still not likely to happen. He's a soft tossing left handed specialist. He's in a position right not that he can excel. But you do not throw a loogy into the closers role after less than a games worth of innings.

 


WAY too early yet, even if he does lead the league in blown saves. we know he won't do well in the setup role from what happened in Boston, so if he's not closing, there's not a huge use for him and he basically becomes Turnbow. plus closer ego is fragile, so you really can't go fiddling around with his role unless you're going to make it a permanent move

 

That's the story we were sold, but that's not the story that Gange sold. He said that had very little to do with it. He said that he just wasn't throwing the ball well, and that's why he got hit hard in Boston and that he would have been able to adjust to the SU role, but that he wanted to stay in the closers role.

 

 

 

 

The thing is, making Torres your closer sucks when you've got Parra or Villy out there only going 5 because he's usually the one who pitches innings 6 and 7. Having Mota as the closer would be alright, but again, I like him more in the 7th/8th innings, Riske's struggled, but I don't see him blowing anyone away anymore than Gange does or has.

 

We're going to live or die by Eric Gange as our closer.

 

 

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I was an advocate for bringing him in, provided he could get results. This, however, he hasn't done.

 

Wasn't everyone? I mean, of course nobody would be in favor of bringing him in if he didn't get the results.


I don't find it acceptable, however, to blow multi-run leads with a $10 million contract.

 

I guess I don't care what his contract is. That makes almost no difference to me. One of my biggest pet peeves in sport is the "This guy's getting paid ____ to pitch the 9th inning, or this guy's getting paid ____ to catch the ball. If I failed in my job, I'd be fired.

First of all, he's already on his team, so he's evaluated on his performance. What's more, in other jobs, someone's not working directly against you. I mean, show me a construction worker who can build a house while someone else is there with a wrecking ball trying to knock it down.

You saying that it's not acceptable to blow leads with a 10 million dollar contract is suggesting that it is for a guy who's making the league minimum. Why?

To me, his salary given that it's a one year deal, and you're not going to use it to try and unload him doesn't have anything to do with anything after it's signed. Right now, it's about how he's pitching, not how he's pitching relative to his contract.


I am confident that we have someone (probably even someone in the minors) that can go in there are go 9/14 on save opportunities,

 

At least one of those blown saves wasn't on him as Weeks booted an easy DP ball. In any event, so what? So we have someone else who can do the exact same thing as him? Wouldn't the point to be to find someone better? And I'm not sure who we have in the minors would be so much better. Pena doesn't look like he would be up till this point.

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I will agree with an earlier poster who pointed out part of the brewers' problem was their starting pitching. I read this past month that the Dodgers' goal for each of their starting pitchers is to pitch 7 innings every turn. If they do not pitch 7 innings, then people are upset. Just think how great our relief staff would be if all 5 starters could go out and pitch at least 7 innings each start. just think how great our relief staff would look if 3 of our 5 starters could pitch 7 innings.

 

or would it be greedy to ask for two of our starters to pitch 7 innings? is that two much to ask or expect?

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Sorry Mr. Briggs but in the end(not May 5th) I believe it will be the starting and relief pitching that will be our downfall, not the hitting. The Twins are in 1st, but it is May 5th; it is my opinion they will be nowhere near first in two months.....we'll see.....but I completely disagree that our relief pitching is sufficient.
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I'm not ready to throw Gagne under the bus yet either, but I still think we need another arm in the pen. I know Nathan just resigned, but does he have a no trade clause? If not, I don't think you can assume he is not going anywhere. If you offered LaPorta, that might perk up their ears a bit.

 

Am I right to assume we cant trade Laporta yet? Or did the date pass. I thought we had to wait until the next upcoming draft.
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You saying that it's not acceptable to blow leads with a 10 million dollar contract is suggesting that it is for a guy who's making the league minimum. Why?

 

In all reality, it shouldn't be, however we need to be honest about the Brewers. They are in the smallest market in Major League Baseball, and money will ALWAYS be an issue. If we could pay someone less, we need to do it. Look at the Twins. They are a notoriously good small-market team. The Brewers will never be a big free agent team simply because we don't and won't have the payroll to be. That being said, when we go out and sign a free agent for $10 million a season, he HAS to perform, no exceptions. A small market team like the Brewers dumping 1/8 of their payroll in a guy is huge.


In any event, so what? So we have someone else who can do the exact same thing as him?

 

We have someone else doing the same thing as him for less $$. We are only 4 or 5 years removed from a $23 million payroll, don't lose sight of that. Yes, different owners, however, times can repeat themselves. We need not lose sight of what the Brewers really are, even if the payroll has increased dramatically each year since Attanasio took over.

 

Wouldn't the point to be to find someone better?

 

Indeed. That is the point of this thread. I hope if Gagne continues to struggle, we can find someone better (but more than that I hope he figures it out). The only problem is that to get a proven closer, you need to sell the farm, which Melvin won't (and shouldn't) do. I was making my stipulation of someone in the minors based on the fact that nearly every year a quality closer seems to pop out of nowhere. There isn't one set mold for how a closer needs to pitch, and I would guess that most clubs have a guy somewhere that would make a good closer, they just might not realize it yet. We just need to find one of those guys (easier said than done, yes).\

 

Also, I brought $$ into it because if we can't find someone better, but can find someone equally as bad, why not pay them less $$?

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I'm not ready to throw Gagne under the bus yet either, but I still think we need another arm in the pen. I know Nathan just resigned, but does he have a no trade clause? If not, I don't think you can assume he is not going anywhere. If you offered LaPorta, that might perk up their ears a bit.
Am I right to assume we cant trade Laporta yet? Or did the date pass. I thought we had to wait until the next upcoming draft.

I know that you're not necessarily advocating trading LaPorta, merely mentioning the possibility, but I wouldn't part with him for a closer.

 

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Am I right to assume we cant trade Laporta yet? Or did the date pass. I thought we had to wait until the next upcoming draft.

I know that you're not necessarily advocating trading LaPorta, merely mentioning the possibility, but I wouldn't part with him for a closer.

 

 

I agree. I was just wondering if/when he would be available at all. Others had been bringing his name up and I wasnt sure if it was the full year or he would be available mid season(as peavy pointed out.) I also would not give up Laporta for a closer. Like others have mentioned, it costs alot to get a proven closer, we might have to find someone from within.
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