Toronto fire services

When the Jays signed Kevin Gregg, I didn’t think it was a very good move. Overspending on a reliever who’s been declining for a couple years — in the N.L. Central no less — and counting on that guy to be your closer in the A.L. East? Seems like questionable decision making at the very least.

Then I read Tao’s great post about the Jays’ closer carousel. It reminded me of some thing I’ve said in the past about what teams should be doing with their best relievers — use them when the game’s on the line, not just in the ninth when the most useless of counting stats is at stake. Taking this view, the signing of Gregg is still not a great one, but it’s not as bad as I once thought.

Scott Downs and Jason Frasor free to pitch in high leverage situations that aren’t the ninth inning? Sign me up!

Some other stuff

In case it wasn’t obvious from the above, I don’t have a whole lot to add to the discussion right now. So here are some links!

• Roundtable time and I’m in two of them! Mop Up Duty’s got the first part of their massive 2010 preview roundtable up and Cardinals blog C70 At the Bat has a Jays roundtable up as well. Check them out and marvel at my inconsistency in picking a breakout player for this year!

• Shaun Marcum gets the nod for opening day and the fan club rejoices.

• Star investigative reporting guru does a nice little feature on Toronto’s sabermetrics adviser Tom Tango. It’s a good read and includes the opinion that it’s not always the worst thing in the world if a batter lays down a sac bunt. Heresy!

• Deadspin heaps some disgusting love on Cito, highlights a video of a man in a Cito mask snorting coke and gives some much deserved and undisgusting love to GROF.

5 thoughts on “Toronto fire services

  1. I agree with the relative uselessness of the save stat, but, by its very definition, when a closer enters in a save situation, that is a high leverage situation when the game is on the line.

    Unless of course the Jays enter the 9th with a three-run lead, but more often it is a one or two-run lead, which is fairly high leverage.

    If Frasor and Downs are both better than Gregg overall (which could or could not be the case), then it would make more sense to have them in a spot that is a little more guaranteed to be high leverage and then you could use Mr. Gregg in spots where Toronto is either up or down 5 runs, etc.

    By the very nature, a closer is thrust into situations which are high leverage, whereas every other pitcher in the bullpen can have the severity of those situations controlled somewhat.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a left-handed and right-handed closer. Two lefties coming up in the 9th? Send Downs out. Two or three righties due up? Send Gregg or Frasor.

    I know it’s not altogether practically, but from a strictly mathematics/playing the numbers percentage, it works the best.

    • You’re right about the high leverage situations, but I was talking in relative terms. Should’ve explained that.

      An example of what I mean: Say it’s the 7th inning, Jays up by two, bases are loaded and nobody out.

      Should you not use your best reliever in that situation just because a counting stat is not on the line?

  2. He would get a hold, haha.

    I don’t know, the argument can go both ways, sure that’s an important part of the game, but what about when you pull your starter out of trouble in the 5th in a similarly pivotal spot, is the closer coming in then?

    In the 7th inning scenario there’s nothing to say it won’t be a one-run lead by the 9th or some equally as similar pivotal situation. Then who comes in? Johnny McCrap reliever?

    It’s not only a counting stat thing either, as only certain pictures have the right mindset and mental toughness to close games. I know that sounds like a lot of hokey BS, but it’s beared out in numbers at least a little bit.. some solid relievers haven’t had similar success when closing.

    • Personally, I’d bring in my top reliever to face the earlier situation. Yeah, I might be stuck with Johnny McCrap in the 9th, but there’s a better likelihood that the team will still be ahead at that. Use Johnny McCrap in the 7th and the closer might not get a chance to go in the 9th.

      I think we’re stuck with a philosophical disagreement here. The same kind Canada had at the WBC. Call it Richmond’s Dilemma or something.

  3. Pingback: Sausage King of the ‘pen « Infield fly

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