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Should Hanson Be Closer


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With Hudson back, should Hanson become a closer?

4:43 pm November 5, 2009, by Mark Bradley

I’m just throwing it out there, OK? So don’t all scream at once. (If you do choose to scream, please take turns.) So here goes:

With the re-signing of Tim Hudson, the Braves have six starting pitchers under contract for 2010. The baseball truism holds that a team can never have too much pitching, but this one just might. The obvious solution would be to make Kenshin Kawakami a reliever, except for a couple of things: He makes too much money (around $8 million) to slot into middle relief and he generates too many baserunners to close. So …. what about this?

Tommy Hanson as closer.

I know, I know. Would any organization in its right mind redeploy its best pitching prospect in a generation so soon? And the answer would ordinarily be a resounding “Heck, no!’ Except that one organization has done pretty well with a redeployed starter as its closer.

The organization: The Boston Red Sox. The starter-turned-closer: Jonathan Papelbon.

Papelbon worked in 58 minor-league games, starting 48 of them. But then the Red Sox needed a closer to replace Keith Foulke and he got reassigned. And he has been, in the main, great — 151 saves over four seasons.

Think of it this way: The Braves have roughly $68 million sunk into nine players (the six starting pitchers plus Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Nate McLouth). Their payroll last season was $96 million. So that leaves $38 million to spend on 16 roster spots, and the Braves at the moment have no first baseman — Adam LaRoche is a free agent — no proven corner outfielder (Jason Heyward looks good but hasn’t yet had a big-league at-bat) and no closer.

Rather than spend $5 million to re-up Rafael Soriano or Mike Gonzalez, neither of whom is among the game’s 10 best relievers, or spend even more on someone who is among the 10 best, mightn’t it be prudent, both philosophically and fiscally, to give Hanson a look? He has the stuff to do it, and he has the temperament.

OK, OK. I hear you. I’m not saying I’d do it, either. But I’d give it some thought. Because the Braves are going to have to pay big to get the big bat they lacked this summer, and a penny saved is a penny to spend elsewhere. (Get it? Saved? As in relief pitching?)

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I would be on the hill screaming **** no!!!! I agree with many on the blog that said they would have him for 200 innings rather that 60. He has good stuff and can go through a line up 3 times while a closer does not go but once. I also think that Jaba is a good example of why you do not switch him. Jaba did well as a RP then worked back to a SP and did well then the switch him again and he was garbage.

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Papelbon was a middle-of-the-road starting prospect before he was "redeployed" as a closer. Hanson's impact as a closer, even if he turned into a great one which would not be a guarantee, would be far less that if he developed into a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Like most everything Bradley writes, this can be dismissed out of hand.

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I think that Hudson should be looked at as a possible closer. We did it with Smoltz.

I think that Hudson's elbow is still on the mend and that the Braves should consider making him the closer for one season.

The difference between Hudson and Smoltz is that Smoltz was a power pitcher and he came back to soon from his surgery and had a set back and they made him closer because that was the only way he could be useful. Hudson came back strong last year and showed no signs of ever having been hurt.

What the **** kind of article is that? Hanson as a closer? I don't think so. Stud starting pitcher over stud closer ANY day of the week.

He won't weigh anything. Proctor sucks.

Proctor had some very good years with the Yankees before Joe Torre made his arm fall off.

Papelbon was a middle-of-the-road starting prospect before he was "redeployed" as a closer. Hanson's impact as a closer, even if he turned into a great one which would not be a guarantee, would be far less that if he developed into a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Like most everything Bradley writes, this can be dismissed out of hand.

Right.

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