It’s obvious Jesse Crain wants to close. He’s wanted to since his tenure in the minors.
But Joe Nathan, you say? Let’s be realistic. There is an incredibly low chance that Nathan will be physically ready, let alone fully recovered after his very recent elbow surgery. The velocity might not be back for a few years. Remember Francisco Liriano?
But what about Jon Rauch? He did well, saving 21 games out of 25 opportunities. In fact, he deserved more credit for his performance in 2010. With a 3.12 ERA last season, he seems almost too valuable to let go of. And with his successful time in Minnesota on top of a contract year, Jon Erich Rauch is likely to sign for more dinero elsewhere.
Along with Rauch; Crain, Guerrier and Fuentes were the only real work forces of last season’s bullpen.
But wait! You forgot…
Matty Capps! During his split year between the downtrodden Nationals and the playoff threat Twins, Capps converted 42 saves and posted a 2.47 ERA. Pretty good numbers for an American League closer. Matt Capps will definitely be around next season, but I’m hoping it’s in a setup roll to Mr…
Jesse Crain! The velocity, the location, the off-speed magic. It almost makes too much sense for the Twins to let Jesse close in 2011.
Crain posted 62 strikeouts in 68 innings in 2010, which isn’t particularly much for a closer type. But his WHIP (1.18) was the lowest since his breakout 2005 season, where it was 1.13. Along with a high nineties fastball, superb rejuvenated slider and great composure, Crain looks like a great candidate for the Twins’ closer role for the next couple of years.