The Pirates have named Matt Capps their new closer. He'll replace Salomon Torres, who blew his fourth save last night. In my opinion, the Pirates could benefit from more ambiguity here - Jim Tracy only has maybe three relievers he can really rely on, and he's tying his own hand behind his back by assigning them fixed roles at all.
"I don't feel like Salomon did a bad job as closer," Tracy said. "But the flip side is that he has shown he can go greater distances, get multiple outs, and his resiliency is stronger than where Matt's would be. Let's face it: The problem getting through the seventh inning and getting back to those guys has been our biggest issue."This is probably basically true, so this move should help somewhat. But, again, if Tracy were willing to abandon his idea of a closer whose sole job is to get saves, he could have his cake and eat it too by simply using Capps and Torres however in whatever way the situation dictated. It's been said many times, but it bears repeating: saves are a stupid, arbitrary stat. They didn't exist until 1960 and the league didn't adopt them until 1969. Managers didn't abide by the concept of the one-inning closer until the last couple of decades. Managers don't have to use their relievers in this incredibly restrictive way, and it speaks very poorly of them that they do.