Opening year with closing thoughts
Happy New Year everyone!
As we start 2007, the Red Sox have one burning issue left on their Hot Stove plate. No, not the J.D. Drew contract situation. We all know that will get resolved with a handshake between Scott Boras and Theo Epstein.
The issue, as you know, is that this team does not have a closer. This internal idea is a little scary. Julian Tavarez? Loved the guy as a starter late last season. He brings energy when he starts. But I don’t think he’s a closer. If he was, wouldn’t someone have already made him a closer aside from that cameo he had with the Pirates all those years ago?
Timlin? When he’s right, he’s a terrific setup man. At best, he’s an average closer. Keep him as a setup man and hope that he gets back to 2003-2005 form.
Donnelly? He’s always been a setup man so I’m not sure why that would change all of a sudden.
Hansack? He can throw five no-hit innings in a rain-shortened game. We know that about him. But what else do we know about him? Not enough.
Delcarmen? Nice kid, but just doesn’t have the makeup to be a closer. I’ve heard that from people in and out of the organization.
Hansen? The hope is that he is the future closer. Can the future be the immediate future? We won’t know the answer to that question until Spring Training at the earliest.
So where does that leave the Sox? In a precarious spot, that’s where. We remember what happened in 2003 when they didn’t have a closer. They won 95 games by bashing the ball and getting decent starting pitching. That generally isn’t a formula for getting deep into October.
So who will the closer be in 2007? It doesn’t seem as if anyone is any closer to knowing that now than when the 2006 season closed down.