Kyle McClellan and closing?

by on January 15, 2009 · 1 comment

…and we continue.

It’s no secret that I’m against (and on the record as such) attempting to make Kyle McClellan a starting pitcher.

If the Cardinals want to do anything with McClellan other than the middle relief role he seems so well-suited for, why not this suggestion from my post McClellan to the rotation? Why??

If you want to impress me by moving McClellan somewhere, name him your closer for 2009 this winter. THAT would be a productive move.

I said it then and I would stand by it now.  If Chris Perez and Jason Motte aren’t battle-tested enough for Tony LaRussa’s liking, is McClellan?  Kyle pitched an entire season in the bigs in 2008, competing every step of the way after skipping double-A ball altogether.

Who knows exactly what Tony is looking for in a closer, but McClellan allowed a fewer percentage of inherited runners to score than in-house “option” Ryan Franklin and free agent targets Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes.  Obviously, this is not a singular stat to be used to choose a closer, but it’s important nonetheless (for the record, Perez and Motte allowed 27% and 20% of inherited runners to score, respectively).

McClellan has seen what it takes to get big league hitters out.  He’s done it in pressure situations.  He has a solid repertoire of pitches, he strikes out far more hitters than he walks, and he has an out pitch.

Why not let him have the chance at closing?

I would still be concerned about who would fill the middle relief role.  Josh Kinney will likely be back in the bullpen, but will he be effective for a whole season?  How does Franklin fit in to the Cardinal bullpen this year?

In the context of McClellan’s history with durability, arm strength, short-inning success?  He seems like a perfect fit for the role.

Anyone else thought about this as a possibility?

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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