Do the Mariners actually need a traditional closer?
Scott Servais announced on Tuesday that Edwin Diaz will no longer be filling the closer role for the Mariners. After a few shaky outings, Diaz even knew it was time for a new approach. The problem is, the Mariners don’t have a solid option for the closer role and that cost them a win Tuesday night. So maybe another option exists.
The Mariners have blown 10 saves this year. That means ten games where they were in a position to win and didn’t. At 18-22, Seattle can’t let more games get away from them, and that is what they will continue to do so long as they keep trying to fill the traditional closer role with an unqualified pitcher.
They fill the role with unqualified pitchers. Now you may be scratching your head because I just said they can’t fill the role with an unqualified pitcher, and then said they should do that exact same thing.
The difference is, when the game is on the line, Scott Servais should not be going to one pitcher. He should be going to a collection of the bullpen. Right now, the bullpen roles need to get tossed. They need to tear it down to build it back up.
There is no closer. There is no set-up man. Every pitcher can be used in any situation. If the ninth inning is conducive to hard throwers, toss Diaz. If the ninth inning is showing us an opportunity for LHP to thrive, throw Scrabble. Or, throw any combination of a few pitchers.
Servais said this last season about save situations:
"We asked him tonight to get three outs; he got three outs before they scored three runs. That’s what we asked him to do."
If the Mariners have that mentality every night, and throw any pitcher who they think can get three outs before the opposition scores too many runs, the Mariners will be a much better team.
A win is a win is a win. At the end of the day the run differential matters not, and a one-run win looks just as good in the books as a ten-run win.
Next: Mariners struggling mightily, but can you blame them?
Ultimately, if the Mariners can tag team their way to ninth inning victories. If they can minimize the blown saves, then this team has a legitimate future. Hopefully, this team will lose the traditional closer mentality and win some games in the process.