One of the biggest questions facing the Colorado Rockies coming into spring training has been answered.
Manager Clint Hurdle will announce this afternoon that Huston Street has beat out Manny Corpas for the club’s closer role.
The decision brings much controversy among Rockies’ fans.
After Street’s slow start to spring training, many believed Corpas would claim the spot.
Street’s spring stat line is not impressive. In 10.1 innings pitched, the former Oakland Athletic has allowed 11 hits, seven runs (six earned), surrendered two home runs and walked two in addition to a hit batsman.
Corpas, the Rockies’ opening day closer in 2008 until losing the role to Brian Fuentes partway through the season, pitched 9.0 innings this spring, allowing seven hits and just one run.
Many fans believe Corpas deserved the ninth inning position. In roughly the same amount of innings pitched, Corpas allowed fewer hits (seven to 11), fewer earned runs (one to six), more strikeouts (five to four), and a lower ERA (1.00 to 5.23).
One theory of why Street was given the position is to make the controversial offseason trade sending Matt Holliday to the Athletics look better.
The three players the Rockies received in return for Holliday include Street, starting pitcher Greg Smith and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Smith and Gonzalez will both be starting the year in Colorado Springs playing Triple-A ball, while some say that Street was given the closer role so that at least one of the players featured in the trade would be seen as a major factor in 2009.
I don’t buy the theory, and believe that both Street and Corpas will be valuable assets whether pitching in the eighth or ninth inning.
In addition, Street’s statistics can be read misleadingly due to the fact that he was still overcoming a quadriceps injury in early March. Take away Street’s first two appearances, and in his final eight, he gave up just one run, a single hit, and zero walks.
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