Please don’t misunderstand me. I think Tony La Russa is a very good manager, someone certain to be in the Hall of Fame one day. But this quote is just plain silly.
“…I’ve always said I would rather have a closer than a No. 1 starter..”
I’m assuming by closer he means “shut-down closer”, not Ryan Franklin, someone who has enjoyed an immense amount of opportunity and luck for a pitcher of his skill set. Mariano Rivera is the Golden Standard for closers, so let’s use him for the sake of comparison. Mo’s average WAR over the past 8 seasons is 2.4. His best season during that span was worth 3.2 WAR, back in 2005. This is FanGraphs’ WAR I’m using, which factors in leverage, meaning Rivera is getting extra credit for pitching in lot of crucial innings.
Adam Wainwright’s WAR last season? 5.7. Chris Carpenter’s was 5.6, Joel Pineiro’s was 4.8. Starters that had 3.2 WAR last season were Paul Maholm, Jeff Niemann and Max Scherzer.
That is all.
(Glove slap, Fungoes.)