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Rumors: Kerry Wood to be a closer???

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Postby Nails » Tue May 17, 2005 5:28 pm

Whether Wood or the Cubs want him to become a closer, I don't know if it would be a great idea or not. I really don't have any stats to back this statement up, and I am sure ya'll will let me know if I am wrong, but it seems that when Wood is pitching that he gets better as the game goes on. I can remember quite a few times watching him pitch in the first few innings, and kind of looking lost. But, as the game went on he became dominant. If that is true, I think that would hurt him being a closer. He would have to come in and be dominant in that one inning. I know that the warm-up and conditioning is different for relievers and starters, but it seems like it could cause a problem.
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Postby rlee » Tue May 17, 2005 5:56 pm

This makes no sense to me if he has a history of arm/elbow/shoulder problems. It would put more strain on him to get up and be used or just warm up 3 or 4 days in a row. :-?

Smoltz said that starting has been much less stressful on his arm. That's one reason he won't go back to closing.
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Postby TheYanks04 » Tue May 17, 2005 6:33 pm

Cubs followin gthe Kerrigan plan? I think not. Wood is an over-hyped, massively overrated starter who has proven to be just good enough to lose far too often, but he is still worth more as an above avg starting pitcher than as a closer.
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Postby Broncmet724 » Tue May 17, 2005 7:43 pm

I dont know how valuable Wood would be, I think I read somewhere that his first 30 pitches or so were the worst ERA wise from him. If he struggles early how well does that translate to closing? Not too well I think
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Postby CPHFighter1 » Tue May 17, 2005 7:57 pm

rlee wrote:This makes no sense to me if he has a history of arm/elbow/shoulder problems. It would put more strain on him to get up and be used or just warm up 3 or 4 days in a row. :-?

Smoltz said that starting has been much less stressful on his arm. That's one reason he won't go back to closing.


This is a great point, and I have often wondered the same thing. Is it really easier on a guy's arm to go out and throw as hard as you can for 1 to 1+ innings on limited warmup? As a starter you have plenty of time to get ready, do your long toss, and take as much time as you need. Then you're warm and you settle into a groove and just throw. As a closer, you have you to push your arm to the limit.
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Postby TheYanks04 » Tue May 17, 2005 8:05 pm

But you only have to do it for 1 inning...and never see the same hitter more than once in a game. Gagne was a pretty medicore at best starter who become a great closer because he could throw his best pitch as hard as he could and not have to worry about mixing things up, saving his energy or worrying about what to show a hitter the next time up.

Guys like Righetti in the 80's also. Not unheard of, but why the Cubs would do this instead of just go out and get a closer is a mystery. You could end up with a crummy closer and no SP just as easily.
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Postby CPHFighter1 » Tue May 17, 2005 8:16 pm

TheYanks04 wrote:But you only have to do it for 1 inning...and never see the same hitter more than once in a game. Gagne was a pretty medicore at best starter who become a great closer because he could throw his best pitch as hard as he could and not have to worry about mixing things up, saving his energy or worrying about what to show a hitter the next time up.

Guys like Righetti in the 80's also. Not unheard of, but why the Cubs would do this instead of just go out and get a closer is a mystery. You could end up with a crummy closer and no SP just as easily.


You are missing the point. I (and rlee) were not saying that starters cannot become good closers. The point is that maybe it is not the best idea for a guy with arm troubles.
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Postby SaintsOfTheDiamond » Tue May 17, 2005 8:34 pm

CPHFighter1 wrote:You are missing the point. I (and rlee) were not saying that starters cannot become good closers. The point is that maybe it is not the best idea for a guy with arm troubles.

I agree. This whole notion of moving to the pen saves a guy with arm trouble is about like the contract year theory, it's all bunk. Warming up 4-5 times a week then going out and throwing as hard as you can for an inning isn't any easier on your arm than only having to warm up once, maybe twice a week and having to pace yourself over 6-7 innings. Sure, you may officially pitch a third of the innings on paper, but it's just as much, if not more stress on your arm being a closer.
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Postby thehat » Wed May 18, 2005 3:29 am

bmcginni wrote:Apparently Wood is resistant to the idea of taking on the closer role. Additionally, w/ the Cubs rotation in the shambles that it finds itself in, I wouldn't look for Wood to close anytime soon. Zambrano has, cough, "tennis elbow," cough, Dempster is shite, and Prior is a question mark. If Wood is permanently out of the rotation, that likely gives you BOTH Dempster & Rusch as starters-not exactly a scary lineup. Will Ohman? Angel Guzman? Sergio Mitre? Let's hope not.


I'm sure Wood hates the idea. Interesting to note that Hermanson did as well when he first went from starter to closer, and it resurrected his career. Clearly, Wood and Hermanson are not in the same class as SP's, so it's apples and oranges, but worth mentioning nonetheless.

As for whether it's a good move or not, I don't know...I don't rule it out. Fact is, for all of Wood's domination when right, he's never been a big winner as he simply cannot stay healthy. Maybe it's worth exploring.
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