The Closer Situation -

The Closer Situation

Alright since Tony got the memo from my blog last night about Chris Duncan I figure I might as well push my luck and make my suggestions on what to do about the bullpen situation in general and more importantly the closer situation.

The Cardinals are obviously being mentioned in trade talks for relief pitchers and the names that have been popping up are George Sherill (Baltimore), Huston Street (Oakland) and Eddie Guardado (Texas). If those are the top three choices out there then here is my order and why.

#1 Eddie Guardado

He is not the closer in Texas this year but he has been a closer in the past. On top of having closer experience he has been terrific this season. He has an ERA of 2.72 with a WHIP (Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched) of 0.91. For a reliever WHIP is the more important stat. Guardado was not good in 2006 or 2007 but it looks like he has gotten it back together and would be a very good addition for the Cardinals. His contract is out at the end of the year so this would be a rental situation.

#2 Huston Street

I know Cardinals fans are hesitant to make another deal with Billy Beane and the A's after the Mark Mulder deal but it might be time to play let's make a deal again. The A's broke off contract talks with Street for extending him past 2010. That tells me that the price is too high for Oakland. Street's numbers are good with a 4.19 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. The concern I have is that the scouts are supposedly saying his speed is down. That is of concern. But if the Cardinals are looking for a longer term answer at the back of the rotation then that is a better deal than Guardado.

#3 George Sherill

It may seem odd that I would rate an All-Star behind two other relievers but when you delve into the numbers there are concerns. Sherill's ERA is 3.89 but his WHIP is a very high 1.42 that is scary high for a reliever. In comparison Ryan Franklin has a 1.53 WHIP this year. That is not too far off and we know the struggles Franklin has had. Sherill is arbitration eligible next season and after the season he has had you would expect he is in line for a big payday this Winter.

Something that was brought up last night on the game broadcast by Al Hrabosky and Dan McLaughlin was the question of moving Adam Wainwright back to the closer role if he returns and is healthy. I had not thought about that possibility but it does intrigue me. This of course is all based on him being healthy but I think the bullpen is in such disarray that a drastic measure like this makes a lot of sense. If you had a proven closer like Wainwright on the back end and add another reliever you got something going. Then you can get Franklin back to his correct role and put McClellan and Perez in the right spots and then you have a good bullpen.

The other thing moving Wainwright to the bullpen does is that it shortens the ramp up time for Wainwright to get him back at the major league level. The Cardinals are in a very dangerous portion of the season. This is the point of the season where teams fade away and the Cardinals I feel could be on the verge of doing that.

These are desperate times for the Cardinals and John Mozeliak is on the clock. Let's see what happens in the next 10 days. Those are my two cents.

Tim Klutsarits
KMOV Sports

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