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Money aside, would you rather have Jim Johnson or Grant Balfour as closer in 2014?

Money aside, would you rather have Balfour or JJ closing for the Orioles in 2014?  

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  1. 1. Money aside, would you rather have Balfour or JJ closing for the Orioles in 2014?



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I voted for JJ, though I think it's close. I just like his ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. When Balfour isn't striking guys out, some of those fly balls he allows are going to yield worse results than they did in Oakland (or Anaheim, or Seattle).

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I voted for JJ, though I think it's close. I just like his ability to keep the ball on the ground and in the ballpark. When Balfour isn't striking guys out, some of those fly balls he allows are going to yield worse results than they did in Oakland (or Anaheim, or Seattle).

Yup. Plus we've got Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and Toronto ballparks to worry about...not just OPACY.

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Yup. Plus we've got Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and Toronto ballparks to worry about...not just OPACY.

OPACY: 3.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1 HR and 21 K's in 18.1 IP

Yankee Stadium: 5.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4 HR and 10 K's in 12.1 IP

Fenway: 7.27 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 1 HR and 16 K's in 17.1 IP

Rogers Centre: 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 2 HR and 17 K's in 13.0 IP

Tropicana Field: 2.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4 HR and 126 K's in 105.2 IP

If he does that poorly in Yankee Stadium and Fenway this year, the OH closer lynch mob will be all over him. But these are small samples, so I don't assume he'll fare that poorly. I see him mostly as a RH version of George Sherrill who will be mostly successful but occasionally frustrate us by walking some guys and allowing some homers. Sherrill saved 51 games in 60 opportunities for us, which if you think about it, is pretty much what Jim Johnson did last year (50 of 59), except that Sherrill had fewer opportunities per season.

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OPACY: 3.44 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 1 HR and 21 K's in 18.1 IP

Yankee Stadium: 5.11 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4 HR and 10 K's in 12.1 IP

Fenway: 7.27 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 1 HR and 16 K's in 17.1 IP

Rogers Centre: 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 2 HR and 17 K's in 13.0 IP

Tropicana Field: 2.98 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 4 HR and 126 K's in 105.2 IP

If he does that poorly in Yankee Stadium and Fenway this year, the OH closer lynch mob will be all over him. But these are small samples, so I don't assume he'll fare that poorly. I see him mostly as a RH version of George Sherrill who will be mostly successful but occasionally frustrate us by walking some guys and allowing some homers. Sherrill saved 51 games in 60 opportunities for us, which if you think about it, is pretty much what Jim Johnson did last year (50 of 59), except that Sherrill had fewer opportunities per season.

Actually not that small a sample size for a closer

Signing a pitcher from Oakland is always risky

He will not be worth his contract, and of course JJ is not worth his... bottom line the O's should not have spent this money on a closer when they are at least two starters short of a competative starting rotation

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Simple question. And please, no answers like, "you can't ignore the money component" or "neither, I'd rather have spent the money somewhere else. Just a very basic question, who do you think would do a better job closing games for the Orioles in 2014? Forget about money or anything else.

Ona related note, I find it fascinating that Billy Beane would trade for Johnson, who will command maybe $10 mm or so this year, and let Balfour walk. Did he misjudge what the market for Balfour would be, or does he think Balfour is heading for a fall?

I voted Balfour.

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Simple question. And please, no answers like, "you can't ignore the money component" or "neither, I'd rather have spent the money somewhere else. Just a very basic question, who do you think would do a better job closing games for the Orioles in 2014? Forget about money or anything else.

Ona related note, I find it fascinating that Billy Beane would trade for Johnson, who will command maybe $10 mm or so this year, and let Balfour walk. Did he misjudge what the market for Balfour would be, or does he think Balfour is heading for a fall?

They talked about this yesterday on MLB Network and basically how the teams traded closers. Balfour had told Oakland he wanted a three-year deal. Beane wanted someone on a one-year deal. They have a couple closer candidates in the minors that they want to hold back for arbitration purposes. If I was Johnson, I'd rent, not buy, in Oakland.

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I will admit there were times I thought Johnson looked lost and had the deer in the headlight look to him. Balfour looks like he wants to shove it up your :cussing:.

Yes he does. I liked JJ a lot but Balfour is going to be great in Baltimore.

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As many times as I was in physical pain watching JJ warm up this year, knowing what was about to come... I couldnt handle having to go thru another season of that. For me it has to be Balfour just because he is not named Jim Johnson.

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I think it's worth noting that Benoit is getting 2 years $15 million with the Padres according to Jon Heyman, same as Balfour. So you could in theory add Benoit to this poll too since he was in our price range.

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Balfour is a better pitcher for OPACY. He's a strikeout pitcher' date=' which is what you ideally want in a closer.[/quote']

Isn't he a fly ball pitcher?

All thing$$$ being equal, I'd take Johnson, but I think the difference is small. What's not small is the difference between pitching in Oakland versus Baltimore.

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Isn't he a fly ball pitcher?

Guys who strike out 10.5 per nine allow less ground balls. And sometimes more fly balls.

They also strike a guy out when someone is on third.

They get more swings and misses.

He had a 2.45 ERA last year.

His effectiveness was not all about the Coliseum.

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For those who care about saves and save% (and you probably shouldn't), here are some stats:

When both were primary closers:

Jim Johnson, last two seasons: 101/113, 89.4%

Grant Balfour, last two seasons: 62/67, 92.3%

Over their full career, here's their (SV+HLD)/(SV+HLD+BS) - it gives a sort of modified SV% that includes their careers in middle relief:

Jim Johnson, 2006-2013: 184/212, 86.8%

Grant Balfour, 2003-2013: 168/187, 89.8%

Now, for those of you who like the more sabermetric numbers:

Jim Johnson, career: 6.0 K/9; 2.6 BB/9; .287 BABIP (last year: .327); 76.1% LOB%; 58% GB; 7.9% HR/FB

Grant Balfour, career: 9.8 K/9; 3.8 BB/9; .264 BABIP (last year: .263); 76.8% LOB%; 35% GB; 7.9% HR/FB

Johnson, of course, has that HR/FB number playing half his games at OPACY. Balfour has spent about half his career with Tampa and about half with Oakland.

The two pitchers are extremely similar in terms of results, though they've gotten there in different ways. After looking a little more that the stats, I still prefer Johnson since he's a groundball pitcher and I think that's better at Camden Yards, especially with the current Orioles infield. Still it's clearly very very close.

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Guys who strike out 10.5 per nine allow less ground balls. And sometimes more fly balls.

They also strike a guy out when someone is on third.

They get more swings and misses.

He had a 2.45 ERA last year.

His effectiveness was not all about the Coliseum.

It might have been said before but it bears repeating, there's a huge difference between pitching in Baltimore vs pitching in Oakland.

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I lost all confidence in Johnson, so I think these moves were necessary. I cringed every time the call to Johnson was made. He just couldn't handle pressure situations, especially towards the end of the season. And that's a shame because I really want to see our homegrown players succeed.

This is my take as well. Johnson might re-find his release point, but he was hanging on by a thread for the last 4ish months last year, and obviously the end of the 2012 season. Sometimes he was great, but most of the time he was far from great or even good, aided by coming in with 2-3 run leads and great defense.

I'm not sure JJ would have made Boston's post season bullpen by the end of last year. I think he was moved because he was an unsatisfactory closer, and Balfour will be better even if he only ends up as satisfactory.

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Now, for those of you who like the more sabermetric numbers:

Jim Johnson, career: 6.0 K/9; 2.6 BB/9; .287 BABIP (last year: .327); 76.1% LOB%; 58% GB; 7.9% HR/FB

Grant Balfour, career: 9.8 K/9; 3.8 BB/9; .264 BABIP (last year: .263); 76.8% LOB%; 35% GB; 7.9% HR/FB

Johnson, of course, has that HR/FB number playing half his games at OPACY. Balfour has spent about half his career with Tampa and about half with Oakland.

The two pitchers are extremely similar in terms of results, though they've gotten there in different ways. After looking a little more that the stats, I still prefer Johnson since he's a groundball pitcher and I think that's better at Camden Yards, especially with the current Orioles infield. Still it's clearly very very close.

SO when the control-ability and price is taken into account, Balfour is a HUGE win over Johnson for you?

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