The Danys Baez Saga: To Close or Not To Close?
By Todd Farino, http://www.thecloserreport.com/
There are a lot of rumors floating around the web that the Philllies signed Danys Baez as insurance for the surgically repaired Brad Lidge. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm sure Baez's 5.40 ERA and 4.4 K/9 impressed the Phillies enough to sign him, but not for closer. Baez is there as a body in a rapidly shrinking bullpen. This is the current Phillies bullpen:
Brad Lidge—Likely will miss the first week or two after having surgery.
J.C. Romero—Likely won't be ready for the start of the season because of elbow surgery.
Sergio Escalona—Lefty rookie with decent stuff.
Andrew Carpenter—He's pitched in four total games over two years with a 9.45 ERA.
Mike Zagurski—Lefty that hasn't pitched in the majors since 2007.
Chad Durbin—Reliable middle relief pitcher.
Ryan Madson—Reliable setup man and closer.
So now you can see why the desperate Phillies added Danys Baez. They need depth and experience in the bullpen, and they found that with Baez. Of course, everything will depend on how spring training goes for Baez and Madson. It is conceivable that Baez could outperform Madson, but it doesn't matter how good Baez pitches. It only matters how Madson pitches as to who will close for the Phillies while Lidge is on the mend.
Madson is a very good pitcher, and the Phillies would be silly to choose Baez over him for closer. Baez would be better served as the setup man to Madson. Danys Baez is reliable but highly inconsistent. Madson will stay the setup man and closer for the Phillies.
Consider this question: Once Lidge comes back, will Baez be the setup man? No. He will slide into a seventh inning role at best.
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