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A’s choosing between Brian Fuentes and Grant Balfour for closer role

Mar 12, 2012, 1:49 PM EST

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A’s manager Bob Melvin revealed this morning that the closer battle is between left-hander Brian Fuentes and right-hander Grant Balfour.

Fuentes has far more closing experience, with 199 career saves and a league-high 48 saves for the Angels in 2009, but struggled when filling in for Andrew Bailey last season and famously quarreled with then-manager Bob Geren over his usage.

Balfour has more typical closer stuff and was excellent last season in a setup role, throwing 62 innings with a 2.47 ERA and 59/20 K/BB ratio, but the 33-year-old has never saved more than four games in a season.

Beyond the obvious on-field implications of choosing a closer there’s a decent chance the A’s will look to trade whichever reliever they allow to increase his perceived value by racking up saves.

  1. packerpride03 - Mar 12, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    That was 2009 for the angels. He lost the that big game in the alcs. I hope he is there closer because the angels will rock him

    • clydeserra - Mar 12, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      yup, don’t play well once three years ago and you suck forever.

      Fuentes is past his usefulness because of declinging talent, not because of some random game in 2009.

      More interesting is the performance enhancement in Fuentes’ contract that adds $100K for each 30, 40, 45, 50 games he finishes (more over 55)

  2. 4d3fect - Mar 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    FUENTES? hahaha….

  3. Chris K - Mar 12, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    They should move Fuentes as soon as the going gets good. Balfour seems to be the way of the future.

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