Categorized | Mark Timmons

A Closers Persona

A Closers Persona

Please note that I am writing this after TWO (count ‘em, 2) successful relief outings by Jon Broxton.  I don’t just pile one when he is bad! I have consistently said for over three years that J-Brox is not a closer.

When I think of closers, I think about guys like Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, Rollie Fingers, Dennis Eckersley, Phil Regan, Al Hrabosky, Mariano Rivera, Mike Marshall, Lee Smith and many others.  The fact that they were pretty good pitchers is understood. Something that may not be quite as understood is that they had a closers’ persona.  Now, there is not just one type of “persona” for a closer but good closers have “IT” – whatever “IT” is.  Mike Fetters, Goose Gossage, Lee Smith and Al Hrabosky had the “glare.”  Fingers, Sutter, Eck and Regan were highly confident and pitched with purpose.  Marshall just wore you down, and Rivera was/is a freak.

But when J-Brox gets on the mound, he’s none of that! Yestserday, when he walked by me, not 3 feet away and I took his picture, I felt no fear.  Even if he knows what I write about him (and I doubt he does), I was not in fear of him kicking my butt!  Now, when Kenley Jansen walked by, I had to do a quick mental survey to remember if I had written anything bad about him, because he is intimidating, imposing, huge and scary-looking.  He carries himself in a way that J-Brox doesn’t.  I know he could mop the floor with me.

Kenley Jansen gets the ball back from the catcher and acts like it’s a grenade that he can’t wait to throw again.  Broxton acts like it’s a little kitten that he’s afraid to let go of.  I would fear Jansen if I were a hitter.  Broxton?  Not so much.  I’m not saying he’s a bad guy – I’m just saying here’s not a closer.  He’s not mean enough.  He’s not a stone-cold killer!

Who do you want as your closer? I know who I want – Kenley Jansen and Hong-Chih Kuo!  The Texas Rangers have made it known that they will pay half of Michael Young’s salary.  The Texas Rangers need a closer.  I exhort Ned to trade Jon Broxton, Casey Blake, Chris Withrow and Kyle Russell (two Texas Legends) for Michael Young.  That should be just about right.  I fully realize that 3 more years of Michael Young might not be good, but I believe that in 2011, he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder.  He could play 3B or 2B (whichever makes the most sense and I don’t know which one it is), and I believe he would hit .310 with 15 HR and 85 RBI from the #2 spot!

This lineup would be effective:

  1. Furcal  SS
  2. Young  3B
  3. Ethier  RF
  4. Kemp  CF
  5. Loney 1B
  6. Uribe 2B
  7. Thames  LF
  8. Barajas C

That lineup is capable of 140 HR!   I’ll give you that in a year or two, Mike Young will be a bad contract, but the Dodgers can win now.  It’s a risk worth taking.

P.S. I hope to God I am wrong about Broxton.

DODGER NOTES:

  • I have a feeling that Juan Castro is at a crossroads – does he want to retire as a Dodger and be a front-office executive with responsibility for Latin American Scouting and stuff like that, or does he want to move to another team where he can make the Major League Roster?  Well, he’s taking a personal day off today.  Is it to contemplate that, or something else?
  • Aaron Miles has “hit his way” onto this team.  He’s not a favorite of some in the front office who would pick Castro over him, but I am of the opinion that he could be a very valuable piece to the puzzle.  His laser surgery seems to have him seeing the ball much better and he could have a career year.
  • Mike MacDougal has made the team – Book It!
  • I can see the Dodgers going with eleven pitchers for the first two weeks of the season.  That leaves 14 position players.
    1. Barajas
    2. Loney
    3. Uribe
    4. Furcal
    5. Carroll
    6. Miles
    7. Ethier
    8. Kemp
    9. Navarro
    10. Thames
    11. Gwynn, Jr.
    12. Paul
    13. Giminez (he deserves a shot)
    14. Blake (DL?) or Kapler or Gibbons (one and only one)
  • I would love to see IDJ2 make the team… and he’s still in the running.
  • Matt Kemp looked like a cleanup hitter yesterday.
  • Forget all the HR”s by non-roster players yesterday.  The game meant nothing.  You have to look at the “game inside the game.”
  • We are headed to see two games today and if things go right, we will have an interview with Logan White.

 

 

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

43 Responses to “A Closers Persona”

  1. Ely's Coming, Better Hide Your Haeger says:

    You’re stuff on Broxton is the usual stuff I don’t agree with. I’d like to see your medical license for psychology. It’s interesting how you consider your self an expert on someone’s persona when you’ve never met or talked to the person. If you say you only go on what you’ve seen…. well that’s no excuse. It’s like all those crackpot psychologists on television, who sell their “expertise” on television shows for the highest $$$$. See, I can do it too.

    Mark, you’re a egomaniac with delusions of grandeur, who only listens to people who agree with him and ridicules and dismisses those who don’t. You think just because you’ve overcome difficult things in your past, you are the shining light and expert of what life is about. You love the Dodgers, but I think you’d rather Broxton fail and be right about what you said than Broxton succeed and you’d be wrong. I think when you were wrong about Ethier being clutch, a little part of you died inside.

    Look at me. I did that with no degree in psychology and the only class I took was in high school 23 years ago. Get me my own show!

    What’s even worse than your same old boring Broxton opinion… is that Michael Young trade. Giving up way to much for a player that statistically and based on time, age, and injuries is on the downside of his career. I wouldn’t trade for Young unless the Rangers ate everything but 1 million of his salary…. and even then I’d have to think about it.

    So, there’s my take. I’m sure because it doesn’t agree with what you say, you think it’ll probably suck.

    I normally like what you have to write, but this Broxon thing is getting old and tiresome. Give it a rest.

  2. Mark says:

    This is nonsense. If Broxton’s role as closer is taken away, it should be because of poor performance, ineffectiveness, loss of velocity/movement, etc. If that happens, fine.

    It should not because he lacks intangible characteristics that you can’t even describe. Persona/heart/intimidation mean NOTHING.

  3. Bill Russell says:

    Wow, Navarro and Giminez both on the opening day roster? Interesting. I would love to see X Paul make it but now that Gibbons is hitting the ball hard again, it could be a long shot. Ethier and Kemp look like they are ready for opening day. Barajas impressed me over the few days I was around camp and Broxton. Well the last few outtings Broxton is getting outs by hard hit Adam balls. (Hit right at them) I’m still not a believer that he’s right but we will see. It sucked leaving Camelback as I could have spent a few more days there.

  4. Bobby says:

    thats a horrible trade mark.

    brox and MAYBE russell is enough for young, but thats it. no way i throw in one of our top pitching prospects, especially if he’s not a centerpiece, for a 36 yr old who will be just solid for 1 yr, avg for 1 yr, and probably useless for 1 yr. not only that, you effectively remove IDJ from any equation for the next 3 yrs, so he might as well be part of that deal.

    i’d rather keep everybody, and have IDJ play 2b.

  5. the truth hurts says:

    apparently you were not watching the same games mark and I were last season, his performance is the basis for what I very much agree with mark, he doesnt have “it”…..heart, confidence, whatever you want to call it.

    forget stats, forget degrees, this guy has proven he can not be trusted with the game on the line….

    LET ME HERE YOU SAY, HEY HEY HO HO, JON BROXTONS GOT TO GO!

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    Ely said:

    “You’re stuff on Broxton is the usual stuff I don’t agree with. I’d like to see your medical license for psychology. It’s interesting how you consider your self an expert on someone’s persona when you’ve never met or talked to the person.”

    (Well, I have met and talked to him)

    The he turns around and says the same type of thing he accuses me of:

    “Mark, you’re a egomaniac with delusions of grandeur, who only listens to people who agree with him and ridicules and dismisses those who don’t. You think just because you’ve overcome difficult things in your past, you are the shining light and expert of what life is about. You love the Dodgers, but I think you’d rather Broxton fail and be right about what you said than Broxton succeed and you’d be wrong. I think when you were wrong about Ethier being clutch, a little part of you died inside.”

    Gee, Ely, how can you say that without meeting me? See, I have met J-Brox and that’s what I say based upon what I see and hear. You have made your assumptions without even meeting me.

    OK, you are entitled to a double-standard.

    And, I wasn’t wrong about Ethier – he WAS soft! That changed and I am happy for that. I cheer Andre every time he hits one. I also hope that Brox changes. He can change, but so far he is a choke artist. If he changes, then I will be his biggest fan.

    If you think I don’t like it when a Dodger player proves me wrong and does better than I suggest, you have no clue who I am and what I am about.

    On the Mike Young trade: You may be right. I may be right. Only time will tell, but if you watched Broxton in the past, you would know that he is what I have accused him of being… and it’s not just MY opinion.

    I wanted to write it so that I can’t be accused of doing it just when he pitches poorly. I have said this BEFORE he was a closer and I say it now.

    If you are right, I will apologize and if I am, I will accept your apology! History will dictate.

  7. Ely's Coming says:

    As far as my psychological impression of you. It was an example of someone making judgments without knowing someone. See how bad it makes me look. It’s the same with you and Broxton. You dont know the first thing about him. I don’t either.

  8. Ely's Coming says:

    So you let the results be your guide. With the exception of the end of last year, Broxton has been a dominant closer. He deserves a chance to redeem himself. If he doesn’t, it won’t be because he’s not effective

  9. Ely's Coming says:

    Because he’s mentally weak, it’ll be because he’s not effective

  10. “I exhort Ned to trade Jon Broxton, Casey Blake, Chris Withrow and Kyle Russell (two Texas Legends) for Michael Young.”

    One thousand times no.

  11. Willie Mays says:

    The fat guy can’t pitch on my team.

  12. Mark_Timmons says:

    Ely,

    I am going to have to disagree with your characterization that \”So you let the results be your guide. With the exception of the end of last year, Broxton has been a dominant closer.\”

    Here ARE the results:

    2006 – 3 for 7 in save situations

    2007 – 2 for 8 in save situations

    2008 – 14 for 22 in save situations

    2009 – 36 for 42 in save situations

    2010 – 22 for 29 in save situations

    Now, I am going to steal your argument that those were not all \”real save situations\” by saying that they were times late in a game where he gave up the lead. Regardless of whether it is a save situation, he gave up the lead in a tight spot and has always shown that proclivity!

    How do you explain that?

  13. Lindsay C says:

    that’s a bad trade where I come from, to me, it smells like Carlos Santana for Casey Blake all over again, all Broxton needs is to learn to throw another pitch, and if we trade him that low, I guarantee it’s going to come back and haunt us…we have to be optimistic, that’s all we can do…

  14. RogerCraig says:

    How long are we willing to wait?

  15. troyfromwv says:

    I’m sure Gibbons is on the team. Once we get into that 2nd week where we need a 5th starter (12 man staff), and assuming Blake’s healthy…. there’s just no place for X Paul and Gimenez.

    I don’t see us with a bench of 3 outfielders, 1 catcher, and 1 utility infielder. Therefore, it looks to me as though Miles is on the team.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Gimenez on the team to see what he can do, but there’s not enough room, barring injury.

  16. Ely's Coming says:

    Well in 2006-2008 Saito was the closer. So the save situations were few and far between. How many holds did he have?

    2009 36-42. That’s a great stat. That’s pretty good.

    2010 we’ve already talked about. His second half was horrible. I just think you’re making light of how good he was. Has he been perfect? No. But he’s been a lot better than you’ve made him out to be.

  17. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Mark,

    Clearly, based on previous comments I’ve made concerning Broxton, I disagree with your characterization of him. But there are still things that he has to prove after last year’s second half blow-up, so the jury is still out on how effective a closer he is. However, given that we have Jansen and Kuo, and what I consider a relatively deep bullpen, I’d be willing to trade Broxton, just not for the package you suggest. Given Texas’ desire to move Neftali Feliz into their starting rotation, I would think that they are more than a little desperate to get their hands on an experienced closer. And since they may view Broxton a lot differently than you do, then the price needs to be higher to pry him away.

    Young is 34, and will turn 35 in October. He may well have some more productive years left in him (and maybe not), but at even half of the $48 million he’s owed over the next 3 years, he won’t be cheap. For me, the trade has to bring back more than just Young, and include nothing more than marginal Dodger prospects. I’ve heard some good things about Chris Davis, but I know precious little about him, and his stats from last year in Texas were less than inspiring. Maybe he has the potential to provide us the power we’re currently lacking at 1B (although I still have some hope that Loney might eventually surprise–but when is eventually?).

    Losing Broxton’s $7 million salary this year can’t hurt, and there’s no guarantee he’s coming back next year, when he will be a free agent. So my bottom line is this: Don’t give Broxton away for an expensive player who could prove to be a bust, or maybe a boon (same can be said for Broxton) without getting more in return in the way of another player who could be useful now, or good prospects with a chance to be productive for the Dodgers, be it now or in the near future.

    And if the Dodgers think that IDJ2 is their future at 2B, then it also has to be asked what Young might be worth on the trade market (during or after the season) if he managed to have a good year in LA.

  18. Michael says:

    Don’t take it so seriously folks. This is all make believe. It’s called fantasy baseball and you are the GM.
    It’s OK to disagree but if your whole agenda is personnal attacks on Mark then that is crossing the line. It is his site and you can do what he does when someone is talking out their ass, IGNORE it.
    I’m with Brooklyn on a possible trade with Texas and was checking out Chris Davis this morning. Lefthand hitting 3B/1B man with power and an upside. I never like to trade prospects, my motto is “grow your own”, but if you do get someone with an upside in return.
    By the way, Young will be a 10 year veteran in May and will get the power to veto any trade, in case anybody is thinking about trying to get him for this year and then trying to trade him in which case he would be a year older and much harder to move.

  19. jWerthFan says:

    Young’s worth on the trade market, during or after the season? Even less than it is now.

    Haven’t we had enough of expensive players using LA as a final resting place? We’ve got to carry Lilly and Uribe for 3 years, and you want to add Young? Pure insanity, unless you plan to spend 2012 and 2013 on the Kansas City Royals’ bandwagon.

    Wanna deal with Texas? Make it Loney, Paul and Navarro for Chris Davis and a solid low level catching or pitching prospect, which would add roster room for Gimenez and Oeltjen.

  20. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Isn’t the 10 year thing really a 10-5 rule, 10 years in the majors and the last 5 years with the same team? If so, Young going to LA now would apparently not trigger the 10-5 rule. Not even sure it would be in effect after he was acquired by a team other than Texas, since he wouldn’t have been with that team for 5 years. And since he’s asked to be traded from Texas, it won’t get in the way of a deal in May or later. And yes, Young might be nigh untradeable after this year. But if he has a good year, that might not be the case, especially since the acquiring team would only be responsible for 2 years, not 3.

    I’m not necessarily advocating a trade, but I’m not utterly opposed to one. If Broxton could bring back value, it would be something that I believe should be considered. The fact that Broxton will be a free agent after this year makes it that much more palatable for me. However, in no way would I favor a deal that just gave him away, nor one that included any of our top prospects without return in kind.

    The other factor in a deal involves how the Dodgers’ talent evaluators view our so-called top prospects. They know those players a lot better than we do, and take into account factors that would never occur to any of us. Maybe they perceive Chris Withrow and Kyle Russell a lot differently than we do. And maybe there’s a hidden gem or two (like RDLR a year ago) that we know nothing about, but who might be in management’s long term plans. Or maybe they would even consider RDLR a in bullpen role for the time being. It’s all speculation based on incomplete information (at least for us).

  21. Gilmore Field says:

    I agree with Mark 100% about Brox. Brox doesn’t inspire confidence. He’s no closer, in my book. Just ask Matt Stairs.

  22. Joe says:

    Wow, say the name Broxton and it really brings out a debate. I agree a closer is a different breed, some pitchers don’t handle the pressure well to be good at it. I think the main mantra of today’s baseball commentators is the good closers ability to forget a bad outing. I can’t say wherever OX has it or not, but if he doesn’t have it then it speaks to his talent to be an all star closer without the mentality of one. The nature of a closer doesn’t allow a manager to keep putting a struggling pitcher out there because the game is on the line probably 90% of the time where as a starter can be allowed more leave way to work through issues as long as they aren’t getting pummeled. Also with today’s market it is not economical to put a guy making a high salary as a middle reliever if they do then only for a short time. I agree with having OX start the year as the closer, if he succeeds great if he continues to struggle then the Dodgers need to move on.

  23. Ely's Coming, Better Hide your Heart says:

    That’s all I’m saying. Give him a chance to overcome his bad second half. If he doesn’t pitch well, then move on.

    All I’m saying is that if Broxton doesn’t succeed as a closer, it has little to do with his psyche and more to do with his pitching ability. That’s my main issue with this thread.

    there’s plenty of pitchers with a closers mentality who failed as a closer as well.

  24. Kevin says:

    hahaha….this coming from a guy who just the other day said Marcus Thames would be the everday RF!!!!!

  25. Bill Russell says:

    My only issue with waiting is if you wait too long with Broxton, you have lost all your trade value. Right now some teams are probably thinking they can fix him. The Dodger coaches need to be able to pick up signs early rather than later to avoid a total meltdown and a total value loss. He was getting a few stikeouts while I was at Camelback which was an encouraging sign to me, but his outs were hard hit liners right at the fielders. The batters appear to be squaring him up rather easy. Making the All Star team was the worst thing that could of happened to J-Brox. He’s clearly not an All Star.

  26. Michael says:

    All we can do is instill confidence in Big Bad Jon, because that is where the real game of baseball is played; between the ears, and hope for the best.

    I, in no way feel comfortable about it because a blown save or two might be the difference in the end but as much as I love Kenley, that would be a pretty big load and gamble to thrust upon him.

    To reduce the glare and get rid of that “deer in the headlights look” I would highly recommend some Oakley goggles. I honestly feel it would add an intimidating factor and do wonders for his psyche.

    Anytime you can gave a Hector on the team, jump on it!

  27. Mark_Timmons says:

    I will be rooting for Big Jon and I hope to eat a bunch of crow! He is supposed to be pitching tonight… if it doesn\’t get rained out!

    Willie,

    Don\’t be so hard on the guys – they live to find something wrong with what I write. I could go back and change it, but why? My 11 year-old could figure out that I made a typo – so I\’m not perfect….

  28. Roger Dodger says:

    There is nothing wrong with being a great 7th and or 8th inning reliever for a career. Heck there are hundreds of them in the majors today.

    Maybe his pay is a little high, but maybe that is his comfort zone.

  29. Bill Russell says:

    At 7 mil per year Roger, he can pitch the 7th inning in NY, Bos, Chi, Phil, or Texas. That’s too high for Dodger Blue Money these days. Maybe Jon just needs the glasses that one of the high stake poker players wear. The glasses that shows someone else’s eyes on the lens. Now that would be classic. Batters might laugh as they swing.

  30. Mark_Timmons says:

    Billy,

    Even in NY and Boston, they don\’t pay that for middle relievers.

  31. Bill Russell says:

    Well then what do you think about the chance of him wearing those glasses?

  32. Mark_Timmons says:

    The ones with the eyeballs on springs?

  33. Mark_Timmons says:

    I’ve been pondering this statement for a while: “it has little to do with his psyche and more to do with his pitching ability.”

    I have no clue how you can rationalize that. Broxton’s stuff is amazing. How can you say that? Did Steve Blass’ or Steve Sax’s problems with throwing stem from lack of ability or a problem with their psyche? Both say it was mental. Why can’t Broxton’s be mental? I happen to believe that the mental part of the game is more important than the physical part.

    That statement does not fly!

  34. Mark_Timmons says:

    I also can tell you this – The Dodgers Brass think it is mental.

  35. Dodger Fan RY says:

    Why doesn’t Broxton try working out in the off-season ala Brian Wilson. He hasn’t been in shape since he’s been with the team. Unless it’s the shape of a overripe pear. As it is now you know if he has to get 4 outs vs a good team it’s a loss for the Dodgers. He looks gassed after 2 hitters.

  36. I think most of us fully realize you have never liked Broxton, which is admirable.

    The only problem is that you’ve said Broxton isn’t a closer for three years, and you’ve been wrong for the first 2 1/2 years, and now that he has finally struggled for an elongated period of time, you claim you’re right…even though the main issue is that he has lost 5-8 MPH off his fastball.

    Just my observation.

  37. Michael says:

    Thank you very much for your expert analysis Chad, I always tend to trust your opinions because I know you do your homework first.

    This is the first that I have heard of this loss of velocity. Is this a spring training pacing himself thing or was this evident in the second half last season?

    If there is nothing physically wrong with him doesn’t that say it’s between the ears?

    Just wondering

    Really dude, you’re the man. Drop in more often

  38. Mark_Timmons says:

    Broxton lost 5 or so MPH off his fastball last year. Mattingly claims that he is throwing 94-95 right now, which is where he was in 2009 at this same time.

    Honeycutt, Mattingly and the rest of the staff frequently proclaim that he was sound last year and is sound now, and Chad is right, I have always said he was not a closer – I never stopped saying it, even when he doing well.

    If it is true that he was/is healthy, then his struggles have to be

    1. Mechanical;

    2. Mental; or

    3. Both

    I guess we will soon know and I would really love to eat crow on this. ;)

  39. Dodger Dave says:

    I am going to go with Mark on this one. Broxton appears to be introverted, a man who looks away when he passes you. He does not seek out conversations with strangers. He is reluctant to talk and embarrasses easily. Introverts are fine in situations where everyone is watching them as long as they succeed. If they don’t, their performance deteriorates quickly. I am an introvert, a university counselor. Most counselors are introverts because we tend to handle one-on-one situations well. Extroverts want the spotlight, like on a pitcher’s mound with the game on the line. I can give a speech to 500 people and be fine, but I kick myself for things I said for days afterward. Extroverts don’t tend to overanalyze their performance. They just say “Give me the ball and I’ll kick some butts.” Broxton does fine most of the time, but he has never performed well in the postseason (3 saves, 2 blown saves). The last performance in Philly in 2009 was a killer and he had all off season to get down on himself. In 2010, he was okay until he ran into the Yankees. I think his conditioning is poor and his mental attitude is not conducive to the closer’s spotlight. Whether he is or not, he appears bothered by the attention. I have watched Goose Gossage and other good closers. Goose looked like he would prefer to beat the crap out of hitters rather than pitch to them. The hitters got the message. Last, Broxton is only 26 years old. Introverts get better with age. They learn to handle situations where the spotlight demands it. If the Dodgers give up on him and send him away, be ready to see him perform at a high level 5 years from now. Of course, that assumes he finds the 5 mph he has lost off his fastball.

  40. Bill Russell says:

    Dodger Dave, I could not have said it better. Thanks for your insight.

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