Carlos Marmol or Kevin Gregg? Does It Even Matter?

Cubs will debate closer spot, but the debate should be open-ended

Closer. It's one of those funny positions that only baseball could really have, one of those idiosyncrasies of the game -- this idea that one guy, night-in and night-out, is the only qualified candidate on your baseball team to close games when the lead is in the balance. It's a psychological thing. There is a notion, passed down throughout the game's history, that certain people are hard-wired to do the job, and certain people aren't. There is no middle ground.

Whether or not that's true -- and we have our doubts that it is -- the bottom line should be production. Who's better as a closer? Who gets more strikeouts? Who walks fewer hitters? You get the point.

The Cubs appears to be unsure who will be their closer this year. Kevin Gregg had plenty of saves in Florida, but his rate numbers were merely OK. Carlos Marmol, on the other hand, has had great numbers but had a few scary outings last season, games that occasionally got away from him when he lost control of his nasty fastball/slider combo.

Here's a thought: Leave the closer position open. Let both guys close.

That likely sounds a little offbea and half-baked, but why not? At the beginning of the season, both will get plenty of opportunities to test their mettle as closers. Why not keep that competition open all season? Screw the psychological undertones, and screw the tradition that says you're only supposed to have one closer. Unless one player is clearly inferior to other, use a closer committee, and save the both of them for important situations in non-save innings.

Will this actually happen? Probably not. People would get anxious about knowing who the closer is, and all hell would break loose. But for the sake of the argument, it'd be nice to see the Cubs try. At the very least, it will be something we'll be thinking about far beyond this post. Food for thought, right?

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