Monday, August 9, 2010

Marlins on the Verge of New Closer?

August 9, 2010

The Florida Marlins are number one, but in a statistic that no team ever is proud to lead in; blown saves. The Fish have blown a total of 21 saves this season, seven of which have come at the hands of Leo Nunez. While the Marlins experienced a stellar month of July, and Nunez benefited from Manager Edwin Rodriguez' pep talk, they find themselves back at square one and 10 games out of the division lead. 

At the brink of a season meltdown, Rodriguez had this to say about Nunez:
"We're trying to get him to use his fastball more," Rodriguez said. "We've been using the bullpen way too much, and that may be the reason he doesn't want to go with the fastball. For now, he's our closer, but if he doesn't make an adjustment, we may have to explore other options -- maybe do a closer by committee."

(Link to original article.)

With that said, our earlier suggestion that Nunez was unfit for the closer role seems to have substance now.

Unfortunately, the Marlins have not had a single reliable arm in the bullpen this season to depend on for a significant period of time; essentially destroying the concept of relief for the Fish in 2010. However, this idea of a "closer by committee" can stir up some competition in the pen and make players earn a spot as the team's go-to guy in the ninth inning.

To be in search of a closer at this stage of the season is no situation to take pride in, but changing course in the face of a failed rotation is absolutely necessary. Whether the eventual closer is an existing reliever or one brought up from the minors, the goal is to get the best out of what's available for the Marlins.

At day's end, the Marlins now officially have an undisputed number one priority entering this offseason: to revamp the bullpen from ceiling to floor.

It is time for Larry Beinfest to work some of his player personnel magic and for Jeffrey Loria to dish out a bit more dough to bolster his team's shot at contending. That is if the front office truly has an interest in placing a winning product on the field.

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