It’s not often we give props to a member of the MSM, but Verducci today knocked it out of the park with his article about closers. While the article had more to do about injuries and the specialization of bullpens, this was our favorite part of the piece:

Managers are motivated by the save statistic, throwing three-out save chances to their closer like bones to a dog. The game universally has embraced this idea that a closer can’t come in to a tie game on the roadbetter to lose the game with a lesser pitcher than run your closer out there without a save in hand.

In general, closers are inefficient investments. It’s not just that they break down; Wilson, Soria, Madson, Bailey and Farnsworth will earn $30.2 million combined this year, whether they pitch or not. It’s that paying a guy $12.5 million to throw 60 innings — but, good Lord, not when the game is tied on the road and only when about half the plate appearances against him are truly high leverage — is a waste of a great arm.

Thank you, Tom. The ‘slave to the save’ is probably the most ridiculous thing in baseball, and it’s refereshing to see a member of the MSM call this out. Saving the closer for save situations only is completely idiotic.