Indians' Joe Borowski Placed on DL; Who Will Fill-In?

Nino Colla@TheTribeDailySenior Writer IApril 15, 2008

Last night when Joe Borowski's 80 mile-per-hour gopher ball fluttered over the plate and was properly deposited in the right field bleachers, only one thought crossed my mind—besides ever-loving anger of course.

This guy is hurt.

Now, a Joe Borowski fast ball isn't really thrown hard to begin with. Joe himself will be the first to tell you he doesn't throw hard.

But 81 on the gun? 

No...I don't believe it. And it is quite obvious, as we sit here today, why he is on the disabled list.

Maybe the 15 days will give the rabid Cleveland fan base a chance to cool off on the guy and leave him alone. He hasn't looked right since the start of the season, even in the games he did successfully close out.

But for the next 15 days—or however long it takes Borowski to recover—the Indians better make the right decision as to their fill-in closer.

Yes, Tribe Fans, I said fill-in closer. Borowski does not deserve to lose his job because of an injury.

Eric Wedge has a tough decision on his hands. He needs to make a choice, and it is surely not an easy one.

He has two quality set-up men, two guys with closing experience, and a few younger options.

You can rule out newly called up Tom Mastny and Craig Breslow. Breslow has been impressive but he makes no sense at this point.

Here is where it gets tough: choosing between the next four in line.

Jorge Julio has closing experience and has been one of the bright spots in the bullpen so far. Maybe as a fill-in with no pressure at all, he can do a good job for a few weeks.

Then you have Masahide Kobayashi. While his stats look good, if you've seen him pitch this year, he has had his struggles.

Kobayashi is still getting used to the way things work here in the US and how the American game is different. He has the talent and the experience closing games, but he might not be the best option at this point in the season.

Next is Rafael Perez, who has no closing experience and isn't even the first option when setting up games. He is tough as nails though, and is used to coming into pressured situations and shutting the door.

There were several times last year when he came into bases-loaded situations and ended the inning without one run scoring. But inheriting base runners is far different than getting three outs to end a game.

Then there is the most obvious choice: Rafael Betancourt.

Betancourt has closer experience, but not a good track record. He hasn't had any long-term roles, and may not be up to the transition from the eighth inning to the ninth. Then add that to the fact that he hasn't gotten off to the greatest start.

When all is said and done, Eric Wedge might just choose Betancourt, but that move could be the wrong one.

Betancourt's previous track record doesn't make me feel good about him handling the load in the ninth inning.

Plus, he is more suited for the role he is in now. Why ruin a good thing?

This is why they need to insert Jorge Julio into the closers role while Borowski is out.

Julio has the experience and doesn't have a role in this bullpen. It makes the most sense and it doesn't disrupt anything else already in place.

Let's hope Wedge doesn't go with the consensus. Just because Betancourt puts up the numbers in his current role, doesn't mean that translates into a performance as a good closer. 


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