So the Oakland Athletics names Brian Fuentes closer last week. Yippie! First off, I thought that Balfour was a terrible call to start the season with the young guns Jordan Norberto, Ryan Cook, and Fautino De Los Santos ready to take a shot at the closer role. Then there is the aging veteran and pseudo-closer Brain Fuentes. The 36-year old relief pitcher is in his in his second season with the Athletics and taking the closer job for the second time as well. Last season, Fuentes finished 2-8 and after being named the started to begin the season, lost seven games with two blown saves before getting ousted.
Fuentes has never been a true closer. He instead is a left-handed specialist playing a closer on TV. Maybe a few years ago, Fuentes was a good closer, but he has never been more than that. In fact, he is lucky. Sure he saved 48 games for the Angels in 2009, but rookie Jordan Walden pulled out 32 last season, so big deal. And granted he has 201 career saves, his career as a closer ended three years ago. but Oakland refuses to believe that.
If you were one of the managers who ran out and picked up Fuentes because he was named the closer, than good luck. You may get 2-3 saves from the lefty specialist, but you’ll also get your ERA rocked. I’d rather be patient and pick up Jordan Norberto or Ryan Cook. Don’t be shocked when Fuentes gets pulled from a save opportunity for Norberto or Cook very soon.
Just don’t waste your time on Fuentes. Learn from history. It repeats itself all the time.