After weeks of debate over who would win the Marlins closer job, the answer was ďnone of the above.Ē Florida went out and made a deal, acquiring veteran reliever Jorge Julio from Arizona for Yusmeiro Petit.
What should we expect from Julio? Letís take a look.
The first thing I look for when evaluating closers is dominance, and Julio has plenty of that. He struck out an even 12 batters per nine innings last year, so thereís no doubt he has the strikeout power to get the job done.
When you look beyond the Kís, however, youíll see some problems:
* Julioís control stinks. He walked 35 batters in 66 innings last year. I suppose a pitcher can be an acceptable closer with control like that, but he certainly canít be an elite one.
* Compounding the walk problem is that Julio serves up more taters than Idaho. Last year, he gave up 10 dingers in 66 innings. Thatís obviously way too many. Julioís ground ball-to-fly ball ratio, 1.03, shows that he is definitely a fly-ball pitcher, so there wasnít anything fluky behind his homer-ific performance.
Of course, leaving Arizona for pitcher-friendly Florida could alleviate this problem somewhat. Iíd still expect the long ball to be an issue, though -- with all these fly balls, some are going to leave the yard.
* One of the things people like about Julio is his closer experience. Fair enough, but Julio also has plenty of experience failing as a closer. Look at 2003: 36 saves, but eight blown saves and a 4.38 ERA. Dennis Eckersley he ainít.
* Julioís the man now, but there are plenty of options should he struggle -- which he probably will at some point, given his control and gopheritis issues. Taylor Tankersley, Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens Ö if they pitch superbly and Julio scuffles, itís going to be hard for the Marlins not to make a change.
Saves are saves, so Julio is well worth acquiring. Heíll give your team plenty of strikeouts, too. Just donít expect elite results, and watch him very closely throughout the season.