With Opening Day less then 12 days away it's about time that SawxBlog re-addresses the issue of the Red Sox closer. Actually it may be more appropriate to talk about the closer the Sox don't have on their roster yet. As everyday goes by you get the sneaking suspicion that 2007 is starting to feel an awful lot like 2003, in some respects at least.
As we remember, if it wasn't for the steroid juicing Jason Giambi the Red Sox most likely would have won the 2003 ALCS and also beaten the Florida Marlins in the World Series. Grady Little wouldn't be the goat he's become in Boston, and Pedro Martinez would be nobody's Daddy.
The 2003 ALCS isn't the only memorable thing about that season for the Sox, there's also their controversial attempt at the closer by committee set-up. And honestly, I wouldn't be totally shocked if the Sox gave it another whirl.
I'll admit that it felt very, very good to have Papelbon come into games last year, because you felt like once he got in the game it was over. I also believe that Mariano Rivera is the main reason the Yankees have been so good for so long. They've had so much turnover in everything but S.S. and Closer, and I'd say Mo's been just as valuable as Jeter.
That all being said I see no reason why a committee wouldn't work. You have 27 outs in a nine inning baseball game. After the starter is done for the day/night, why not have the pitcher(s) who are most adept at getting the outs in that certain situation? A lot of time the most important outs don't come in the ninth inning but they come in the 6th, 7th, or 8th.
OK, now that that's out of my system I'll be realistic, that's not going to happen. At the beginning of Spring Training I chose Julian Tavarez as my dark horse candidate to win the job, and I'm still sticking with that. But as everyday passes it looks like Joel Pinero is the favorite to win the job. Timlin may take it over once he's healthy again, but I wouldn't count on him pulling a Todd Jones for us.
I guess what I wished most is that the Sox would make a decision sooner then later, so the everyone can know their role and be ready for the season. If no official closer or decision is made, then what I said above is very realistic, and the Red Sox management just isn't making the same mistake by giving it a name like in 2003.