Who should be the Orioles closer now and for the rest of 2010?
The Orioles have won one of their first six games this season.
That doesn’t seem particularly good to me.
If you want the Connolly Bar patented silver lining, here it is: The Orioles started 6-2 last year and ended up losing 98 games. So the first week of the season is just a blip that doesn’t necessarily dictate how the season will go.
Yeah, that’s the best I can do.
As I have told people heading into this season, I think the Orioles will be more competitive within games than they have been since 2005. That might not translate into a serious bump in the record/standings, but there should be fewer 11-2, 9-4 games in 2010.
We’ve seen that so far. In fact, the Orioles could very well be 5-1 instead of 1-5 at this point. A lot of that has to do with the uncertainty with the club’s closer situation.
Michael Gonzalez was anointed the guy this winter with a two-year, $12 million deal. But he has blown two of three chances and loaded the bases in the other one. He has been temporarily removed from the position until he can get his mechanics straight and throw strikes.
And, regardless, he won’t be closing the game tonight; he went to Arizona for the birth of his first child and is expected back Tuesday.
So who should get the lion’s share of closing opportunities in Gonzalez’s absence/struggles?
Jim Johnson is the obvious answer because he took on the job part of last season. But the club likes him better as a shutdown setup man in the eighth.
Matt Albers is probably next in line, with Cla Meredith and even lefty specialist Will Ohman possibly getting chances depending on the situation.
There’s also Kam Mickolio and Alberto Castillo at Triple A. And the Orioles paid a lot of money for Gonzalez, so eventually he gets another shot, right?
This isn’t an easy call. No one jumps out. And closers by committee rarely work.
So I am giving the managerial reins to you. Who do you trot out in the ninth with the game on the line right now? Should it change as the season progresses?
Daily Think Special: Who should be the Orioles closer now and for the rest of 2010?