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Cleveland Closer

Update [2006-8-24 14:17:35 by Eric Hinz]: From Keith Law's chat at ESPN.com:

Do the Indians just need to fix the bullpen to be contenders next year? Is the rotation good enough? Keith Law: (1:53 PM ET ) I think they need to add at least one starter; Paul Byrd belongs in the NL, and Jake Westbrook isn't Chien-Ming Wang. I've heard that Cleveland is looking to spend some coin this winter, so I expect them to be in on all the major SP.

Finally!  The Indians bullpen has produced two consecutive saves by the same pitcher.  This hasn't occurred since the Indians dealt Bob Wickman to the Braves for a 21-year-old Low A catching prospect.

The default winner of the Indians closer job now belongs to rookie, 6'6 right-hander Tom Mastny.

A look at his numbers leads me to believe he can keep the job no other Indian reliever wants.  With 10 Ks in 7.1 IP and only four hits, his stuff is there.  This is consistent with his 2006 minor league totals (62.2 IP, 76 Ks, 40 hits allowed to go with 24 BBs.)

I do not see any reason to believe he will not keep the job for the remainder of the season.

2007?  That is a different story.  The Indians have unsuccessfully attempted to sign a big name closer the past two off-seasons.  If they believe they are legitimate play-off contenders going into next season, then I can see them signing a stop-gap closer a la the Tigers and Todd Jones with Mastny manning the vital 8th inning role.

While that would not be good for fantasy players, it will be good for the major league organization.  And a la the 2006 Tigers and Joel Zumaya, Tom Mastny's 2007 owners will be clamoring for a change in closers!