oh, yeah, and there's no way smoltz closes. i'm pretty sure there was a verbal agreement between him and management that he would start for this year and next, and that is part of the reason he signed the new contract.
also, he claims that closing is more taxing on his arm than starting, FWIW.
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Considering the way almost all teams use their closer, it is kind of a waste to make your best pitcher be your closer. Come in in the 9th inning to protect a 3 run lead? I'd rather bring my best pitcher in with a tie score in the 8th inning with men on base and less than two outs, when you really need your best pitcher in there. That being said, I don't think they should make Smoltz the closer unless he has some durability problem, which I don't really see him having at this time.
Pedantic wrote:Smoltz's pitching is the reason they were in line for the win today in the first place. I think his place is as a starter. Bullpen arms can be found. Good starters, not so much. And starting is less stressful on his arm.
i heard a quote from bobby cox saying something like getting the first 24 outs is more important than getting the final three, and for this season they see smoltz as more valuable getting those first 24.
smoltz won't go back into the bullpen because that'll breakup one of the best rotations in baseball. they'll figure something out with kolb/reitsma or acquire a closer via trade if/when desperate.
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No way Smoltz closes. And he is way more valuable as a starter IRL (counting the post-season). The Braves aren't just thinking about the regular season. They got Hudson and moved Smoltz to starter for the post-season as well as the regular season. Starters win playoff games, not closers. As a Braves fan and Kolb owner, I hope Kolb turns it around. Picked up Reitsma in case he gets a temp demotion.
Kolb has had 2 games where he had problems finding the strike zoneearly in the season and one game where they just hit him hard. His other 7 appearances were good. I would be very surprised if they made a move just yet. The braves won't trade for a new closer, they won't move smoltz back to closer, they'll either stick with kolb or go with a young guy.
Smoltz doesn't want to close, feels that closing is harder on his arm than starting, and, outside of opening day, has pitched well as a starter. I just can't see any way he becomes the closer again.
As for Kolb, he may not be great, be he's not an 8 ERA pitcher either. Mesa has shown you can close with a 4 ERA. As of now, Kolb has only blown 1 save - though he sure hasn't looked good, that's for sure.
As for trades, just like with their corner OF, I just can't see the Braves making any moves before June. Cox and Schuerholz have shown that they will give a player plenty of time before making a move. I honestly can't remember them making a big trade before mid-June during their run. I think Kolb, Jordan and Mondesi all will be given at least until then to prove they don't belong - and only then would a move be made.
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