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:
- Furcal SS
- Young 3B
- Ethier RF
- Kemp CF
- Loney 1B
- Uribe 2B
- Thames LF
- 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.
- 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.
- Gwynn, Jr.
- Giminez (he deserves a shot)
- 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.