With Billy Wagner’s presumed retirement — and I say “presumed,” simply because he hasn’t filed his paperwork yet; he’s retiring — the assumption has been that Craig Kimbrel will take over the closer duties in Atlanta. He did so in the NLDS after Wagner’s injury, and he’s been groomed to close for a while now.
However, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez suggested today that Kimbrel and Jonny Venters might share closing duties this season.
With all apologies to fantasy baseball players in need of some saves from guys no one likely kept from last year’s league, I like the idea. Kimbrel has the stuff to close against anyone I think, but he is still young and is still likely to have some issues with control that have always been his biggest weakness. Venters, on the other hand, is not exactly a lefty specialist. He was even harder on righties last year than he was lefties and could easily close games himself.
Why put so much pressure on one young guy? Keep them both fresh. Have them both ready to setup or close depending on the matchups and how they’re throwing and how they’re feeling at any given time. Some people may squawk that there isn’t one anointed closer, but who cares?