• Aug
    05

    Should Sherrill be replaced as the closer?

    I know it’s easy to jump off the George Sherrill bandwagon after a couple of bad outings, but after looking at his history and stats since June 29th, maybe it’s time for the Orioles to make a change at closer.

     

    Here's Sherrill the numbers: Since June 29th

    • Allowed a run or more in six of his last 12 outings
    • Has three blown saves and three losses (two were the blown save opportunities)
    • Allowed 22 base runners in 11.1 IP
    • 22 of the 42 batters he has faced have reached base


    It appears that Sherrill is either in a slump, tired or more likely has been a bit exposed as a "closer" when he really should be a Jamie Walker type guy. I can’t buy into the slump category because his peripheral numbers look a lot like his numbers in 2006 when he was LOOGY with Seattle. As for being tired, he’s on pace to throw 65 innings this year, but in 2004 Sherrill pitched 74 innings between Triple-A and the majors so being overworked shouldn’t be a factor. However, Sherrill is an owner of a career 5.83 ERA in 29.1 innings after August, so there is a history of him wearing down as the season wears on.

     

    That brings us back to his role and as a closer. Even when he was closing out games effectively early this season they were never easy for the most part and he never ever looked truly dominant.


    After the deadline came and went with Sherrill still in the black and orange, I think it's pretty obvious that no teams really look at Sherrill as a true closer. Even so, he does still hold value as a left-hander reliever who gets lefties out who can also fairly effectively get right-handers out at times.

    I love Sherrill's tenacity and the fact he wants the ball, but it's time for manager Dave Trembley to make sure he puts him in the right situation, and running him out there for 37 pitches, even when he asks to be out there and is working off of five days rest might not be the best plan.

     

    With no true closer on the roster, it might be time to mix and match the back end of that bullpen to the lineups coming up rather than going with a pure closer. Jim Johnson gives Trembley another late inning option and Randor Bierd might prove to be another valuable guy to be used in the 8th or even 9th if Johnson and Sherrill is unavailable.

     

    Sherrill cans till close out games when the situation calls for him, but I hope for the good of the team that Trembley will take Sherrill out when the situation suggests bringing in Johnson is the better course of action.

    On top of all this is the contract situation going forward. Sherrill will be in an arbitration year this offseason and even though it's highly doubtfull that he will be the closer next year with guys like Chris Ray, James Hoey, Bob McCrory and maybe even Hayden Penn  or Radhames Liz back in the equation, his agent will be smart to use the save category when trying to put in their arbitration number. With Jamie Walker due to make $4.5 million and Chad Brafford $3.5 million in 2009, Sherrill will be due a pretty big pay day and if he ends the year as the full time closer, that pay day can only be expected to be higher for the Orioles.


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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.

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