First Pitch

First Pitch: Is the “Proven Closer” Era Over?

First Pitch: Is the “Proven Closer” Era Over?

Mark Melancon is the latest reliever to derail the "Proven Closer" theory. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

This morning Mike Petriello of ESPN Insider wrote an article about how the closer myth is dying. Petriello pointed out that a lot of top teams this year have gone the cheap route with their closers. Atlanta and Los Angeles are using closers brought up through the farm system. Boston, Detroit, and Oakland are using free agent relievers who weren't signed as closers, although Boston definitely tried to add "Proven Closers" in each of the last two years before being forced to make the switch to Koji Uehara. Then there's the Pirates, who currently have Mark Melancon from that trade with Boston over the off-season.

Outside of those six contenders, Petriello notes that three of the 15 pitchers with 25+ saves are signed to non-arbitration contracts of $5 M or more.

I think one flaw to this theory is looking at the current closers, rather than looking at who the teams intended to hav...

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Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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