Boras: Rookie closers a “philosophical cliff” (updated with stats)

While Tigers officials were meeting with the beat writers this afternoon, Scott Boras held his annual Winter Meetings gathering with media members this afternoon at the opposite end of the Opryland Hotel. The location differences might have been fitting.

Boras was asked about the market for top closer Rafael Soriano. He didn’t mention Bruce Rondon by name, but in talking about young closers in general, it wasn’t difficult to make the connection. Thanks to’s Matthew Leach for the transcription:

“It’s a philosophical cliff in baseball that you can bring Minor League talent to the big leagues and know what you’ve got,” Boras said. “The evidence says that there are many young players in our game that are 20, 21 that can hit 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs and they’re extraordinary talents. Or win 15 games. But there’s never been closers that can come in and get 30 saves. I think you count on one hand the number of closers under the age of 23 that have ever gone to the big leagues and at a young age put together 30 saves, let alone pitch in the postseason and be effective.

“Last year there were three or four teams that, if they had a 90 percent save opportunity ratio out of their bullpens, they would have been in the playoffs, and they weren’t: The White Sox, the Brewers, the Angels. So it really is a position in my mind that few men can do. I think there’s only been 13 men in modern times, in baseball history, that have had 40 saves and an above 90 percent save opportunity ratio twice. It’s a very hard thing to do and a very valued commodity. As time spins it out, I think teams have to evaluate.”

When asked if he was then disappointed in the Tigers’ position about Soriano, Boras said, “I think the Tigers’ position is one where they’re trying to put together their best team and they haven’t made those decisions yet.”

Just for the heck of it, I looked up the numbers on Ten pitchers in history have recorded 30 or more saves in their age 23 season or earlier, half of them since 2010. Just three have done it in their first full big-league seasons, but all of them have done it recently: Neftali Feliz (40 saves) in 2010, and Craig Kimbrel (46) and Jordan Walden (32) in 2011.


Atlanta closer Kimbrel, former Ranger closer Feliz, former KC closer Soria were all guys who closed effectively early in their careers. it is certainly possible that Rondon won’t prove to be ready. the Tigers, however, are not at a loss for other internal options.
more posturing by the super agent…he’s a master of offseason gamesmanship

Soriano is worth neither a draft pick nor 60/4.
He made the wrong decision, now he has to live with it..
I would go with Wilson first than Soriano. He struggled badly in 2011

Wilson sounds good if he’s cheap. 2 Tommy Johns. Caution advised.

Ramon Cabrera´s father, Alex hit 55 HR in a season tying the HR for a season in Japan.

Let the Tigers trade for that guy, if he can catch. The kid has little power and a questionable arm per BA/MLBTR.

He plays 1b. He played for DBacks in 2001 and refused the Yankees to go to Japan where he is a star

ElTigre, I was just joking about trading for the old man.

I know

Tigers missed the boat on Sean Burnett.

Oh Jim. This is not about the post-game questions you have to answer.
This is about winning ball games:
“When you’ve got to do it by committee, if you have to pick and choose, then you leave yourself open for second guessing,” he said. “It takes away a lot of questions after the game.”

From the report about Cabrera in Baseball America:” Cabrera’s short, stocky body and thick lower half turn off some scouts, but he moves well laterally and offers soft hands and solid arm strength. Despite that, he threw out just 20 percent of basestealers in the Eastern League as he struggled with inconsistent footwork. ”

Frank Kremblas his manager in the USA( former now) and ( current) Venezuela says he can call a game and is a good catcher

Check Baseball Moves for the “organizational depth” quote. Then check Hardball Talk, which noted Cabrera is “considered below average defensively…unlikely his bat would play well anywhere than catcher.” And then finish with MLBTR (Dierkes), who said BA wrote Cabrera has a “questionable arm.”

I checked Baseball America not an unfaithful quote.
He was converted to catcher by the Pirates. He is learning

20% rate throwing out runners in the Eastern League? Dierkes of MLBTR is an “unfaithful quote?” Corrobative reports from Hardball Talk and Baseball Moves about Cabrera’s lack of potential MLB impact? Cabrera sounds like organizational depth to me.

He quotes wrongly baseball america:”but he moves well laterally and offers soft hands and solid arm strength.”says BA

Yes,he will play in Toledo instead of Holaday. And will be a waste of a bat

We have three relief pitchers who will make between one and six million this coming season. Benoit, Coke, and Dotel better be in this competition. Rondon will join them.

beniot will not be. stamina and mental

Trout will be moved to LF to make room for Peter Bourjos

Yeah…That decision was announced weeks ago with the notice Wells would be the 4th OF. A major reason Hunter, as the odd man out, was available to the Tigers.

When I say announced, I mean I read it inthe Times (as I recall).

Rich, anyway The Nats might be intererested in Dirks and/or Peralta?
You think Morse might be a good fit for us?

Where did you hear that? The Nats have AS Ian Desmond at short and Ryan Zimmerman at third, and I don’t know why they’d need an outfielder. Morse, nickname The Beast, is a big dangerous hitter who doesn’t run or field. Yeah, he’d be a fit in the kind of team Leyland likes.

ElTigre… Beck indicated Cabrera is not a Tiger backup candidate. He will go to Toledo or Erie, depending on whether Holaday makes the varsity.

That was I said. He will sub Holaday at Toledo .But at Bless you Boys he is seen in a better light.

Regardless, the Tigers are still light in the catching ranks and don’t have a legitimate backup for Avila when (and he will) go down again. Certainly not wishing it on Avila, but given the amount of times he gets stung back there…

he will. the most amazing part of it all is JL will play him if he is hurt – and won’t even give him much rest. Truly Alex Avila can blame the pitchers he caught and the manager he had for his injuries – once he is out of the game. And i don’t expect that to be a real long ways off (2015 if i had to guess). Bonderman does not have a dissimilar story.

You make a real good point. Alex does not seem destined to have a long career as a catcher. He would extend his career considerably if he were to shift to a corner infield position. That of course would not be with the Tigers.
I don’t see them getting even 2 more years out of him given his physical issues.

KC is getting lots of attention for its interest in Sanchez. They could be scary if they get him. The Tigers need to rebut that move by either signing Sanchez or acquiring Lohse to counter their improvement.

If they get Lohse then they have to get themselves a superior shortstop. He is not a strikeout guy and they will need someone who can close that hole between 3rd and short and over the middle.
Where the heck is Valverde going to end up? I wonder if he is playing winter ball? (I kinda doubt it.) I have heard zilch about anybody being interested in him.

The Tigers need a quality backup catcher. Avila doesn’t play enough not to have one, and his performance history really hasn’t defined his ultimate role. Thus far, Avila requires too much “rest” to suit me. Since his arrival in MLB, he has played catcher in 25, 98, 133 and113 games over consecutive seasons. The Tigers’ “organiztional depth” is lacking guys who are ready.

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You actually created many fantastic items throughout your blog, “Boras:
Rookie closers a philosophical cliff (updated with stats) | Beck’s Blog”. I am going to remain returning to your page soon enough. Thanks ,Herman

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