Get rid of the closer

 | August 5, 2008 4:13 PM

This article sums up nicely what I have believed for awhile, that the closer position is the most overrated position in sports.  What is interesting to see is how the percentage of wins when a team has a lead in the ninth inning has not changed since 1900, even with the advent in the past two decades of the closer.

I think what baseball teams should do is have a strategy coordinator, not unlike the offensive/defensive coordinator in football.  This guy would set up in a booth and direct the defense or call plays for the offense.  He would be a true stats guy who would understand which play has the highest probability of success, not unlike a poker player.  He would bring in the closer at the most crucial point of the game, not just in the ninth inning.

One benefit of such a position is it would relieve the manager of this responsibility and the scrutiny that goes with it.  The manager’s primary job in my opinion is getting the most out of his players.  But fans often evaluate managers by their strategical decisions, which in some cases are nonsensical (e.g. batting Joe Carter third while John Olerud is hitting .400).

I should own a baseball team.

One Response to “Get rid of the closer”

essny wrote a comment on August 13, 2008

are the Giants or the A’s looking for a new GM?

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