OT_302057_CASS_rays_7According to Joe Smith, Joe Maddon commented on the closer situation and how he might handle the last inning of the game for the first few weeks of the regular season. It sure sounds like he wants to get Jason Isringhausen in the mix, but isn’t sure yet if he will be ready.

“I don’t want to just get [Troy Percival] out there and start pushing him on a daily basis,” he said. “If we were to get hot and then you’ve got 3-4 wins in a row that are close situations, that would be counterproductive to get him out there that many days in a row. If we were able to figure out how to get (Jason Isringhausen) within the mix, then of course you’d be able to bounce it back and forth, and obviously that’s been in the back of my mind.

So either Izzy is the “backup” closer or he isn’t on the opening day roster at all. That is a ton of experience in the back-end of the bullpen, but there is also a LOT of mileage on those guys.

Tampa Bay Rays newcomer Joyce feels “great” in first spring test of injured leg [St. Pete Times]



  1. KyleS says:

    Seems like that would require Nelson in AAA and Cormier being DFA, or someone going on the DL. Having one defined person as Percival's 'backup' seems a bit odd to me considering all the roster shuffling that would have to take place in order for it to occur.

  2. theraysparty says:

    I seems Maddon wants to go with Percy and Izzy rather than Balfour, Wheeler, and Howell. He might prefer the experienced closers because this might be Percy's last season pitching and Izzy could fizzle out if he does not stay healthy and effective.

    Either this is Maddon using those two before they lose they retire and lose that experience and clubhouse leadership OR Maddon is a nice dude giving these old guys one last chance at another World Series title.

  3. Rory says:

    More likely if you are going to have old arms, you also need quantity. Both are capable of being serviceable over short periods of time but will surely prove dodgy in the long run (that being defined as one whole season for this paragraph). Even with both being available, I still predict that Balfour or maybe even Niemann wind up closing before the season is done. Hopefully next year someone like is McGee is ready to take over and leave the geriatric element out of the equation. I think Bafour needs two plus pitches before Maddon will want to count on him in the closer role other than as an emergency fill-in.

  4. Dirtbag Fan says:

    With Benny-Boo being the epitome of a super-utility player (as outlined by Prof in one of Monday's entries), couldn't the Rays get away with one less bench player? Thus adding an extra spot for Izzy in the pen...
    Then if one of the old dudes breaks down (inevitable) then "no harm no foul"- they call up another bench player until he (the broken down reliever) is ready to return...

    Unorthodox, i know, but it would work in the short-term as a means of measuring how things will pan out in the pen.

    • Not that crazy. If Maddon was a manager that only used 4 starters in April as some do (lots of off-days) then maybe. But he doesn't like doing that. And I am not sure who he would drop unless you want Gross playing everyday in RF


Leave a Comment