The Philadelphia Phillies have a number of questions heading into Spring Training 2016, including who will fill the closer role at the back end of the bullpen.
When new GM Matt Klentak traded away Ken Giles to the Houston Astros for a major package that included former #1 overall MLB Draft prospect pitcher Mark Appel, they traded their ‘Established Closer’ (trademark pending.)
Having a proven closer to lock down the end of a game is usually considered a luxury that a rebuilding team doesn’t need, because saves are expensive and there is little need in having money tied up in a closer. Giles was inexpensive, but that also helped place him at the very peak of his trade value. Having him spend another season in Philadelphia racking up Saves, getting a year older, and getting even more expensive, contract-wise would only have depleted that value.
However, with the trade, the team now lacks that lockdown, sure thing closer. There isn’t a proven commodity among the group assembled by Klentak and company to this point. But there are several options available for manager Pete Mackanin to sort through.
Some of these options have experience, having already spent a season or two closing out games. Others are interesting simply because of a skill set that appears to give them the ability to end games on a winning note. Let’s take a look at each of these options through a unique lens.
I’m a big Metallica fan. I love ’em. Ever since someone played “Enter Sandman” for me in summer camp, I’ve been drawn to everything about them – the sound, the way the songs just go on and on, everything about the band.
Of course, I also accept that some of their material isn’t up to Sandman levels. We could argue the merits of songs like “Where The Wild Things Are” and whether or not they belong in the catalog, but they are there nonetheless.
So, what I will do is look at the Phillies’ options for closer duties, and rank them according to a Metallica album – worst current option to best. Why? Well, it’s the middle of winter – do you have something better to do for the next few minutes? Plus, with each slide you get a song, so you can listen to some music if you like. Let’s call it a bonus.
To assist in this process, I’ll be using the current depth chart found on the team’s homepage, as well as several players who have been signed to minor league contracts.
Next: Phillies Pen Lacks Metal: SAINT ANGER