Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 4/9/13

In what is becoming an annual tradition, the anointed Proven CloserTM for more than a few ballclubs has found himself in hot water, inciting panic in their respective fan bases, dugouts and front offices. In Chicago, Carlos Marmol needed all of four appearances before he lost his job as closer to Kyuji Fujikawa. For John Axford, it only took three before his job security was put in jeopardy. The same goes for Greg Holland, even if his manager claims he still has his job, though the save Aaron Crow picked up yesterday afternoon would beg to differ. And then there is the whole closer mess in the back of Detroit's beleaguered bullpen. Gosh, for such a supposedly important role, it sure seems like teams are wildly reactionary and/or uncertain of what to do with their closer slot whenever things don't go exactly according to plan. Their distress is understandable because of the myth that teams need  a Proven CloserTM leading them to believe they are screwed without one. That may make sense on a logical level but, fortunately for the Brewers, Tigers, Cubs and Royals, history has shown that to not be the case. We aren't talking about ancient history here either, you only have to go way, way back to last season to see how an injured or underperforming closer is hardly a death knell for a team's hopes. In 2012, no less than 18 teams went a significant amount of time without their projected closer going into spring training. Be it injury or ineffectiveness, over half the teams in baseball lost their Proven CloserTM and didn't see their season fall to pieces. In fact, the Yankees, A's, Nationals, Reds and World Series champion Giants all had to cope with closer turnover and they all wound up making the playoffs. One could even argue that the Reds may not have been as successful had they not lost Ryan Madson, allowing Aroldis Chapman to step into a much more valuable role. One could also argue that the Nationals were actually better off when Drew Storen was sidelined with an injury. One could even argue that the Yankees lost the greatest closer of all-time and barely missed a beat. Those teams all had the benefit of having tremendous relief depth going into the season, so losing their closer was never a disaster in the making. But plenty of other teams had much more tenuous situations in their relief corps and still managed to land on their feet. The Angels fired Jordan Walden from closing in the first week of the season only to pull Ernesto Frieri out of obscurity in San Diego to become a dominant closer in an otherwise lousy bullpen. The Mariners demoted and eventually traded Brandon League so they could replace him with former bartender Tom Wilhelmsen who proved to be a clear upgrade over League. And then, of course, there is Fernando Rodney who was merely a scrapheap pick up by the Rays that went on to steal the closer gig from Kyle Farnsworth and set a record for the lowest ERA ever in the process. Not every team survived their closer loss (see the 2012 Boston Red Sox), but a vast majority of them weathered the storm and came out of it in just as good or better shape and most of them didn't need to have several high-priced relievers on the payroll to pull it off. Heck, some of them didn't even have any real bullpen depth and still managed just fine. So for the 2013 clubs that are experiencing some technical difficulties with their incumbent closer, the worry shouldn't be nearly as large. The Cubs look like they should be better off with Kyuji Fujikawa as closer and the Royals have enough talent in Kelvin Herrera, Aaron Crow and Tim Collins that they shouldn't have any trouble replacing Holland if they ultimately decide to do so. The Tigers and Brewers don't have the same kind of obvious in-house solutions but with a minor trade, converting a starter to a reliever, a scrapheap veteran signing or a promotion of some raw prospect, you never know what might fall into place for them. [follow]

This article first appeared on The Outside Corner and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Divac makes bold promise after trading DeMarcus Cousins

Popovich praises Magic, wishes him well with Lakers

Report: Andrew Bogut likely to join Cavs after buyout

Report: Broncos expected to 'at least discuss' Romo

Report: Raiders don't expect to keep Latavius Murray

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Josh Hamilton needs another knee operation

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Kim Mulkey gives awful post-game speech about Baylor scandal

Bill Walton goes shirtless during ESPN broadcast to the dismay of one woman

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker