Without warning, Closing Thoughts arrives early this week. Sorry to disturb those of you who plan your lives around it. Please try to be flexible.
We begin with an update on the George Sherrill(notes) bidding
frenzy war situation. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Orioles are asking for a pair of top prospects. It seems like a lot to demand, but recall that the O's extracted Adam Jones(notes), Chris Tillman(notes), Sherrill, Kam Mickolio(notes) and Tony Butler from Seattle in exchange for Erik Bedard(notes) back in '08. It never hurts to ask. But understandably, the Angels are dealing with sticker shock:
Sherrill, 32, has converted 20 saves in 23 opportunities, with a 2.35 earned-run average. He would earn $915,000 for the final two months this season and would not be eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season.
The Orioles are clearly seeking closer-value for Sherrill, while nearly all contending teams view him as middle relief/situational help. That'd be your sticking point right there. The one franchise that might throw Sherrill into the closing mix is Florida, and they have a few pieces that interest the O's front office.
Jim Johnson(notes) figures to be next in line for saves in Baltimore. Newly acquired Cla Meredith(notes) shouldn't enter the equation, though the swap with San Diego could very well be a first-domino-falling sort of move.
• Other closers who could move, in no particular order (preferred handcuff in parentheses): Matt Capps(notes) (John Grabow(notes), but he's also a trade chip), Heath Bell(notes) (Edward Mujica(notes)), Chad Qualls(notes) (Jon Rauch(notes)), Jose Valverde(notes) (LaTroy Hawkins(notes), also a candidate to move), Kerry Wood(notes) (c'mon, no way they can move that contract. Anyway: Chris Perez(notes)).
• Under Jim Riggleman, the Nats are going closer-by-committee. This from MLB.com's Bill Ladson:
Riggleman is looking at a closer-by-committee with MacDougal and Joe Beimel(notes) pitching in the late innings. Riggleman hasn't ruled out putting Sean Burnett(notes) in the late innings against quality left-handed hitters. "I don't think we really have a situation where we anoint someone as the closer," Riggleman said.
Mike MacDougal(notes) has a 2.37 ERA in 19.0 innings with Washington, but that ratio is just a house of cards. He's allowed three unearned runs, his WHIP is 1.68, and he's allowed 15 walks while recording only eight Ks. And by installing Beimel as a co-closer, the Nats aren't exactly hurting his trade value.
Every team's closing situation matters in competitive leagues, but, well...Washington is 26-65 on the year and 3-12 this month. The Nats have nearly as many blown saves (20) as wins.
• Jonathan Broxton(notes) (toe) has recorded saves in back-to-back games and Sunday's effort was particularly useful: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Keep Ramon Troncoso(notes) close, Broxton owners. Recall what Joe Torre had to say about the toe injury: "It's something that he's going to have to deal with, and we're going to have to deal with, looks like for the rest of the year."
Detroit Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said today that reliever Joel Zumaya has "re-aggravated the stress fracture of the right coracoid" in his right shoulder that occurred last season. He did not know how long Zumaya, 24, will be out, but said arthroscopic surgery is a possibility.
• Matt Lindstrom(notes) tested the full arsenal in a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday and there's a chance -- best-case scenario, but still a chance -- that he could return in early August. There's no official timetable. The Marlins' last save belongs to Dan Meyer(notes), but he picked it up 12 games ago, on July 4. Neither Meyer nor Leo Nunez(notes) has had an opportunity to run off with Lindstrom's job yet. Surely a save chance will present itself in this week's three-game series at San Diego.