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Red Sox Need a Closer

June 21, 2013

The Red Sox are in need of a closer. Andrew Bailey is out after blowing his second straight save, and there is no definitive option to replace him. What are the Sox to do?

Perhaps Mariano Rivera would be willing to allow us to clone him?  If the Yankees take issue, we can make two.

I fear mastering human replication in the next month or so may be the only chance the Red Sox have of getting a reliable closer.

When Bailey entered the game on Thursday, I had a bad feeling.  One run wasn’t going to cut it. John Farrell apparently had the same feeling, because he had Andrew Miller warming up behind him. Not exactly a vote of confidence.

Confidence. That is the problem. It’s been the overall problem for Sox closers this season. Hanrahan never looked confident on the mound, perhaps because of his hamstring or impending elbow injury. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Bailey had a bit when he saw the opportunity to win his job back and help the team when Hanrahan went down, but he has since come unraveled.

June has been a bad month for Bailey.  He has surrendered four home runs, including Jhonny Peralta’s walk-off, and has only struck out three.

Worse, he doesn’t have the look.

Jonathan Papelbon, love him or hate him, had the look. Even when he was struggling, he still looked like he could get you out with a pitch that, even if you swung, you would have no chance of hitting.  The Red Sox need someone who exudes confidence like Pap.

One option would be the man himself.

Rumors have been flying that the Red Sox might make a move to bring the steely-eyed closer back to Boston.

I’m not sure how fans would react if this happened. I may have been the only person happy to see Jonathan when he trotted out of the visiting bullpen a few weeks ago at Fenway. I was at that game, and the boos far outweighed the cheers.

Sometimes though, the more fans boo, the more they love you. I believe Pap even said something to that effect.  Plus, if he came back and became the guy we could rely on again, he would quickly win back the hearts of The Nation. His presence and steadiness could also provide a valuable spark.

Or, the plan could backfire—big time.  As much as I love Jonathan Papelbon, I’m not sure if bringing him back or getting anyone new—short of a Rivera clone—is worth what the Sox would have to give up in return.

I would hate to lose anyone currently on the team. Prospects are an option of course.  The obvious pluses are that the chemistry of the team wouldn’t be disrupted and fans have little to no emotional attachment to these guys, but losing some of our top players-of-the-future may not be the best long-term strategy for the team.

The Red Sox could try to solve the problem internally with Tazawa, Miller or Uehara.  One of them may have the potential to take over. I love Uehara’s spirit. He’s got the type of fire we need, but he might take blown saves too personally.  Miller can strike batters out, which would be an immediate improvement. He can also get a bit wild.

Hopefully, these guys can at least hold down the fort, while Bailey attempts to fix his issues or the Red Sox decide go in another direction.

The Sox have a real chance this season, but not being able to close out tight games could be their Achilles’ heel. That would really be a shame.

What do you think the Sox should do?  Should they make a trade to get a closer—maybe Papelbon—or look within for the solution?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2013 11:49 am

    They don’t need a closer.They need another starter.If its not broke,dont fix it.The other night,
    Lackey could have gone 1 more inning.Forget about a closer.

    • June 22, 2013 1:13 pm

      Thanks for your comment, John! I agree that getting another starter certainly wouldn’t hurt, but unless all the starters are going to pitch complete games (or the offense can produce 3-plus run leads) then the Sox will need someone to close games out. Right now, that guy is Uehara. Will see how he does.

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