When it comes to who should close for the Seattle Mariners this season, the team could do worse than listen to the man who closed for them the last three years – J.J. Putz.
Since he never played with newcomers Aaron Heilman or Tyler Walker, Putz couldn't evaluate them. But he has played alongside Brandon Morrow, Mark Lowe, Roy Corcoran and Miguel Batista.
"Stuff-wise, Mark has the fastball to close, but I don't know about his other pitches," Putz said from his home in Arizona. "And everyone knows Brandon can close, but I don't think he wants to. That's not a job you want to get if you're not ready."
"What's baffling about Miguel is he's got some of the nastiest stuff you'll ever see, and he throws a 93-97 mph fastball with movement – and he refuses to throw it," Putz said. "He wants to throw his other pitches to get you out. I mean, I've never seen him get beat with his fastball."
So, it's the ninth inning of the first game of the regular season, and the Mariners have a one-run lead. Putz, of course, is sitting in the New York Mets bullpen. Who does Seattle go to?
"If you're looking for the guy who's got it downstairs, Corcoran is best suited to close," Putz said. "Roy didn't care what his role was last year, when he came in, he was ready. I think if he knew the job was his, he'd be even better at it.
"To me, he's a right-handed Eddie Guardado with a better fastball. He's not afraid of anyone, and he can do the job."