When the Seattle Mariners traded J.J. Putz last week, the immediate hole at closer became a matter of debate – who would work the ninth inning for them in 2009?
Turns out, pitchers now on the Mariners roster have a combined 68 career saves divided among nine men.
And you thought you didn’t have options.
Carlos Silva, for instance, has two career saves. Both came when he was breaking in with Philadelphia. Jarrod Washburn was a perfect one-for-one in save opportunities last season, nailing down the only save of his career.
Randy Messenger had both his career saves last year and Mark Lowe saved one game – the only one of his career – in 2008. Roy Corcoran has three saves, all last season, and Ryan Rowland-Smith had a pair of saves.
Newcomer Aaron Heilman, a 6-foot-five right-hander, saved three games for the Mets a year ago and has nine saves in his career. Brandon Morrow, closing for the injured Putz last season, has 10 saves.
And the leader in the clubhouse?
Miguel Batista has 38 career saves – one last year, the other 37 in 2005 with Toronto.
At the moment, the Mariners most realistic options to close are Batista, Morrow or Heilman, with everyone else in the ‘thinking outside the box’ category.
So, there are the men who have saved big-league games in their career.
Who do you trust the most? Which one do you want to see with a one-run lead in the ninth inning?
It’s a question manager Don Wakamatsu is no doubt pondering, too.