Pete Mackanin wasn’t wrong to award the job in spring training, but the experiment has failed
Jeanmar Gomez was the Phillies unexpected hero last season who was snubbed from the All-Star game despite leading the league in saves for most of the first half. Fatigue set in for Gomez, who recorded 24 saves and a 2.59 ERA at the mid-point of the season.
Despite Gomez’s late season struggles and the acquisitions of Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit Gomez was named the closer early in spring training.
Many were surprised the job was awarded in February, but the 29-year-old earned the right to close last year.
However, just a handful of shaky appearances made by Gomez have proven he no longer deserves the prestigious closer job.
After sneaking a save on opening day against Cincinnati Gomez blew a three-run lead on Sunday by laying up a three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman.
In three innings this year Gomez has already given up two home runs and six earned runs. He’s now 1-2 in save opportunities, but did receive credit for the win Sunday.
Teams have apparently written the book on Gomez and know how to beat the journeyman. With early failures this season Hector Neris deserves an opportunity to compete as the closer.
Through 3.1 innings Neris has four strikeouts while not allowing a run. His stuff is eons stronger than Gomez, and he proved in 2016 he can be a quality closer.
Benoit and Neshek could also get the opportunities as veterans who could garner trade value at the deadline. Both have been impressive in their young Phillie careers, and have done more to earn the job compared to Gomez.
While Cesar Hernandez recorded a RBI single to walk off in the ninth inning the Phillies should be concerned with Gomez being their closer going forward. Pete Mackanin likely won’t make the change this early in the year, but Gomez should be put on notice.