If Coffee is for Closers, the Blue Jays are Drinking Decaf

Image courtesy of Daylife via AP

Alec Baldwin arguably had the best scene of his entire career in Glengarry Glen Ross where he chewed out salesman in attempt to motivate them. The infamous line that stemmed from this scene was “coffee is for closers”.

It’s true the Blue Jays haven’t had somebody who could grab the pot of coffee and run with it, but by no means does that warrant them going out to spend money on a closer.

As with most late-inning relievers, it’s been a rollercoaster ride with Frank Francisco this season. He’s held the closer’s reins a few times this year, and perhaps lost them for good after last night’s epic collapse in Cleveland.


The frustrating part with Francisco is just when it appears he has things on lock, he completely implodes. To the point where it’s not just a regular blown save, it’s an obliterated beyond all recognition.

There were droves on folks on Twitter last night who demanded the Blue Jays need to go after a big name closer to bring some stability to the closer’s role. While I would be stoked to see somebody like Heath Bell closing out games for the Blue Jays, it’s not something they need right now.

The closer’s position is arguably the biggest revolving door position on a Major League roster. Look at how many have lost their job due to injury or ineffectiveness this season alone: Jonathan Broxton, Ryan Franklin, Matt Thornton, Brandon Lyon, and even Matt Capps is on the ropes in Minnesota.

Just because the Blue Jays would be willing to pay closer’s type money for somebody, doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll even be a closer for that entire contract. Need I remind anyone about B.J. Ryan?

Not that I’m blaming the Beej for this own demise, but ownership was more to blame for giving B.J. Ryan that contract. Ryan only had one year’s experience as closer in Baltimore, there were worries about his delivery, and of course the absurdity of signing a closer to five years.

There are never any guarantees when you sign a big name closer, and there is no such thing as closer immunity. Despite what the Yankees are hoping for, there will indeed be a day when Mariano Rivera will have to be removed from his role either on his own accord or otherwise.

Judging how contract extensions and free agent signings have gone the past few years for the Blue Jays, I’m sure the last thing Alex Anthopoulos wants to spend big money on is somebody who only tosses 70 innings a season.

As we’ve seen around the league, virtually almost any reliever can be shoehorned into the closer’s position. Not all closers are created equally, however it makes the most sense financially to promote from within.

It’s a position that comes with a lot of cache, and as Frank Francisco can attest to, it also comes with a great deal of criticism when things go awry. It’s not something that every pitcher, but it’s not a position that requires tiger blood to be coursing through your veins either.


There’s no question it’s been a revolving door of closers for the Blue Jays ever since B.J. Ryan was cut loose in early 2009. I totally get that the fans have been long yearning since then for a closer who can shut the door.

Trust me, it’s just not worth overpaying for.

As deflating as losses like last night were, remember that they happen to even the best of relievers. And at the end of the day, I’d rather be paying $4 million a year for blown saves than $10 million.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

5 thoughts on “If Coffee is for Closers, the Blue Jays are Drinking Decaf

  • July 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    We're paying $16M this year for blown saves.

  • July 8, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Torgen, where are you getting the 16 million from? Francisco + Rauch + Dotel + Frasor? Or do you mean the entire salary of the bullpen?

  • July 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    BlueJaynator, first place is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second place is a set of steak knives. Third place is you're fired.

  • July 9, 2011 at 2:59 am

    A. B. C. Always Be Closing.

Comments are closed.