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The O-Zone: Closing Thoughts
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 3/23/2007 10:34:00 AM
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A few thoughts as we ride the closer carousel Ö

* Philadelphiaís Tom Gordon has a sore elbow. Sore forearm, too. But he says itís nothing to worry about.

Sorry, Flash, but Iím worried. Significantly so.

When you consider Gordon is 39 years old, has always had trouble staying healthy and battled a sore shoulder last year, thereís reason for concern. Every ache and pain needs to be taken seriously. I donít think ďnormal spring training sorenessĒ applies to him.

Be careful when Gordonís name comes up at the draft table. If you do draft Gordon, consider nabbing Geoff Geary as insurance in the end game or reserve draft.

* Brian Wilson has received a lot of attention recently, as the Giants said heíll be the man if Armando Benitez gets traded, is ineffective, suffers an injury or spontaneously combusts. But be aware that Wilson isnít a sure thing to succeed as a closer -- at least not yet.

Wilson has a live arm, no doubt about that. He struck out 53 batters in 58 innings between Triple-A and the bigs last year, so heís got the stuff. Problem is, can he control that stuff? He issued 35 walks in those 58 innings. He needs to improve his control if heís going to be a big-time closer.

Iím not saying to avoid Wilson or anything like that. Just donít overvalue him.

* Six innings donít mean much, particularly when theyíre six spring-training innings. Nevertheless, itís encouraging to see what Kansas Cityís Octavio Dotel is doing: 10/1 K/BB, just two hits allowed.

Iíve been in a couple of drafts so far where Dotel sunk to the late rounds. I guess thatís not surprising, considering his recent injury history and the fact that he plays for the lousy Royals. Dotel certainly looks good now, though, and he could be something of a sleeper.


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