Colorado Rockies New Closer: Committee

Daniel DaytonContributor IJune 23, 2010

DENVER - APRIL 10:  Relief pitcher Manuel Corpas #60 of the Colorado Rockies delivers against the San Diego Padres during MLB action at Coors Field on April 10, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Corpas collected the loss as the Padres defeated the Rockies 5-4 in 14 innings.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Huston Street is back.  Sort of.  Street was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday as Juan Rincon was designated for assignment, making room on the roster.

I assume the Rockies hopes Rincon passes through waivers, but I doubt he will, as several teams, including the Marlins, are struggling with their bullpens. However, Rincon has passed through waivers once, and his latest stint with the Rockies didn't exactly increase his value, as he only appeared in two big league games.  Additionally, in 24 appearances in AAA Colorado Springs, he had an ERA of 7.25.

So the Rockies finally have their closer back.  Hip hip Jorge! 

Wait...not so fast there.

With Manuel (don't call him Manny, damn it!) Corpas struggling over this weekend, giving up eight runs in two appearances and only recording two outs, the Rockies now have an opening and a need for a closer.

But the Rockies won't be throwing Huston Street to the wolves, just yet. His shoulder is still tender, and he hasn't built up arm strength yet.  In fact in his last outing at the Springs on Saturday, Street gave up three runs in 1.1 innings, and during his rehab stint, Street had an ERA of 10.29. Those stats clearly show that he's not ready to take over the closing role for the Rockies.

So who will be the Rockies closer?

Eventually it will be Street. 

Even Rockies manager Jim Tracy has said so.  Street is getting paid a lot of money ($7.2 million in 2010), and he's not going to be a sixth or seventh inning guy with that kind of a salary. 

But that time isn't now. 

Right now, the game plan has the Rockies using Street in the setup role, as he gets use to the Major League game speed and builds his arm up.  

Jim Tracy said that the closer will be a "mix and match" situation right now.  You will notice that Tracy didn't use the dreaded "C" word.  But that is what it is. 

Committee.....I said it!  Can you say, "Closer by Committee"?  Yeah, I knew you could, and I know you don't like it any more then I do.

"Closer by committee" means the Rockies don't have one closer, and if you don't have one closer, you don't have a closer. We'll see Matt Belisle, Manuel (he really does hate being called Manny!) Corpas, and even Franklin Morales in the ninth.

I can't think of any team, especially one with playoff hopes and aspirations, that successfully handled a closer by committee situation. Players, including bullpen pitchers, want to know their role.  Mentally they need to know how and when they are going to be used to be at their best.

Until Huston Street is ready, Corpas should be the closer.  He's not lights out, that's for sure.  But before this weekend, Corpas had recorded six straight appearances with out giving up a run, recording four saves in that span.  

Jim Tracy though will now go nuts, with another area of the game with which he can tinker and micro-manage with his "mixing and matching", but he will be wrong. 

Tracy needs to name a closer and  that closer should be Manuel Corpas.

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