bolkonsky wrote:Some of us at the cafe won't like the simplicity of this reason, but here goes:
He is a lefty.
Go do some research before you flame away and you will find the number of successful left handed closers in the history of baseball is closer to 0 than it is to 20.
That's not the reason. The reason is not that they can't be successful, it's that they're a. more valuable on the field used elsewhere in the game and b. cheaper as long as they remain in a setup/middle relief role.
A. because they are more effective vs. lefties than other right handed pitchers, they can be used at the best point in the game...mostly when the other team's best lefty(ies) are up. In this case, the left-handed batters that otherwise would've presented a larger matchup problem are neutralized. Saving the lefty for the ninth inning whether or not lefties are due up will not maximize his potential use. It's not about what the lefty pitcher can or cannot do, it's about what he does better than righty relievers. This is kind of consistent with how relievers were used in yesteryear. They were put into the game at the BEST time that the manager saw fit. For example, if 3-4-5 was due up in the 8th, the manager wouldn't hesitate to put his best reliever in, because 3-4-5 in the 8th will be harder than 6-7-8 in the 9th. However, now, the closer is always saved for the 9th, or part of the 8th and the 9th, at times.
B. closers are overpaid in this industry over setup men, even if setup men contribute more to the team. Like that little annoying girl preached in the ESPN Radio commercial (anybody who watched 18 hours of the NFL Draft coverage like myself can testify that they almost threw their remote at the TV due to the sheer times this commercial was played), setup men are underappreciated. For example, Braden Looper is paid $5.3 million this year. Damaso Marte is paid $1.25 million. Who's the better pitcher and who contributes more to their team?