Kansas City Royals: The Use of Closers in Major League Baseball Today

KC Royals (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
KC Royals (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Royals are pretty good at starting new trends in baseball. In fact, there has been an interesting movement that has picked up steam over the last few years. Whether that is good or bad is up for debate.

This could be something new the Kansas City Royals try after trades are all said and done. However, some teams seem to be heading in this direction anyway.

The role of a closer is to come in and shut the door in the ninth when the team has the lead, sealing the win. However, that role has now expanded. More and more, closers are being brought in to start the ninth in a tie game.

The philosophy behind the move is to bring in your stopper in order to get to extra innings or win it in the bottom of the ninth. But the results are mixed and it seems more often than not that the closer struggles in that role.

In a span of 24 hours earlier in the week, I saw Kansas City’s Kelvin Herrera come in and keep it scoreless to send it to extras. Then I saw former Royals closer Wade Davis get lit up in the same position with the Colorado Rockies.

It’s understandable that the manager would want to bring in his best in these situations. The bullpen pitching seems to be, for the most part, terrible in the major leagues. The plethora of high ERA’s in the pen when scrolling through the rosters, including the Royals, appear to back that up.

However, being a closer comes with a different mindset.

Taking the bump with the lead compared to a tie game, while it may not seem to be that much of a stretch, actually is. Closers have a tendency to struggle not only in this situation but also coming into games in a non-save situation.

So now the question could switch to whether the role of a major league closer is changing. With more and more of sabermetrics coming into play, matchups may be looked at differently compared to in the past when you sent out guys such as Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery the minute the Royals had the lead, whether that was during the eighth inning or to begin the ninth.

As the saying goes, “the game done changed”. It will be interesting to see if this current trend continues or something else comes on down the road.

As the Royals look to trade their teams closer, with what seems to be no one to take his spot, perhaps this is something the Royals take a look at.

What do you think Royals fans? Could this be the new trend in baseball? Could/should the Royals embrace this change with no closer in their system? Let us know below!