Man, a girl can take it pretty hard when her baseball BF has what looks like it might be a season ending injury. I’m pretty darn loyal in my love of my favorite baseball players but even I have to look at my team and try to picture what this season might look like without Joe Nathan.
photo courtesy of Corey Sauer
For me this is just not a question that stats alone can answer. Twitchy fills a very special role with this team that can’t be filled by whoever is in the room. I think for some, it’s easier to look outside our little team family for backup possibilities because they feel like they already know everyone on the team and they would require a lot of investment to get them ready to fill the role. I’m in the group that sees SO many options available to us internally, that I couldn’t even DREAM of looking outside the players we already have.
I certainly have the highest hopes that Joe Nathan will be back with us, giving me the shivers, and delivering nasty fastballs and filthy sliders. I just LOVE me a dirty pitcher! But every role should have a backup so here’s what I consider my top 3 backup options to be:
1) Sideshow, ie Pat Neshek, has LONG been a favorite of mine. It started out of pure entertainment value and then I realized how devastating he could be to opposing batters and my love deepened. Do I think he has the ability? yes. Do I think he’s ready to step into that role? I’m not sure. I don’t think he’s had the pressure of that kind of attention before and it would would require some adaptation not to mention the job can be exhausting.
2) Shaggy, ie. Matty Guerrier, is DEFINITELY a possibility and one I honestly had never really considered for this kind of role in the past. He’s done a very good job for this team but somehow he’s always been in the shadow of more spectacular players and has done well in whatever role assigned but never shined. This could be his opportunity to take the spotlight and I think it’s my job to take another look!
3) Blacky, ie Nick Blackburn, is probably the most obvious of my choices simply because he’s been making me drool ever since his first late season callup when he got SHELLED but took one for the team and stayed out with more composure than I could have imagined possible for a rookie pitcher. Now that he’s with the team full time, he’s put together seasons that surprised everyone with how solid he could be – even some applying the term “ACE” far too liberally (IMHO) last year – and has been at the core of a young but dependable starting rotation.
What do you mean he’s not a relief pitcher??? well, duh! OH WAIT?! You thought I was talking about who would be the new CLOSER??!?!?!?! oh good grief, no.
I meant who is my backup BF if Nathan has to be away from us for awhile! I’ll leave assigning the closer responsibilities to the team staff. They most certainly have a lot to choose from and I look forward to the season. I still hope we get to see Nathan making opposing pitchers look ridiculous but if not, we have great guys out there willing to step up.