Monday, June 2, 2008

Closers Close; Starters Start

By Josh Elwell

It seems like a relatively simple concept: closer close games, and starters start games. Yesterday, Padre fans found out it’s actually not that simple; Trevor Hoffman & Mark Prior made it very clear.

For the third time this year, at 40 years of age, Trevor Hoffman showed us he’s incapable of closing a game. At the same time, the Padres showed us their incapable of consistently winning baseball games…because of Trevor Hoffman. These 3 blown saves are coupled with 2 individual losses that have resulted in a beautiful ERA closing in on 6. Rally killer, sweep stopper, dream hater – call Trevor whatever you want, just don’t call him a lights out closer, because he officially ended that era when he let Tony Gwynn, Jr. ruin our 2007. (Another reason why the Gwynn’s hate San Diego.)

Okay, to take a break for a second, I want to write about a dream I had last night. It involved me being at work, injuring every bone in my body, and being fired. Afterwards, I got hired by another company for one million dollars to come hang out and have surgeries. It was awesome. I woke up and realized - THIS IS MARK PRIOR’S LIFE. The Cubs released him because his body is weaker than Hoffman’s reliability on the mound, and in true Friar fashion, KT signed him for a million dollars. Yesterday, it was announced he’d have season ending surgery. Beautiful, that’s just fucking beautiful. He’s being made a millionaire for sitting at home (figuratively) and watching games that are instead being started by guys who belong in AAA, or the bullpen.

Back to Hoffman: Do I think he should be released? No. I can’t sit here and ignore what he’s done for the team, and what he’s capable of as a normal reliever. He’s still being paid $10,000,000 and it’s not like an Edmonds-style collapse he’s going through. With the new-look bullpen giving me fond memories of last year’s solid ragtag team, there must be someone who gives us reliability. And no, I’m not convinced Heath Bell is any better in high-pressure situations. Push Trevor back to 5th inning clean up and call it a day. How great would it be to hear Hell’s Bells when Randy Wolf can’t get out of the 5th inning because he just gave up 4 runs and Trevor needs to come in to get a single out? I want that.

For Mark Prior, it isn’t so simple. San Diego owes him shit. My vote for our new mayor will be given solely on whoever extradites Prior to Fresno. “It’s not his fault.” “How could he know?” “He tried his best.” Blah, blah, blah. God clearly hates him, and that’s good enough for me.

Not that he’s even taking up space on the roster, being on the 60 day DL, but I still want him released. Save the dignity for guys like Trevor and simply release this hack. I’m sure he’ll go onto a lucrative career elsewhere…because that’s what non-Padre baseball players do.
There it is. Trevor’s a closer who can’t close - so don’t let him. Prior’s a starter who doesn’t start – get him out of San Diego. Two problems, two solutions. My work is done.

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