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Debates Round 1 Matchup 8


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Here's how it goes. Each side makes their opening argument. One side goes first. Once the other side goes, the first side may post again and defend his argument. You can only go again once the opposing side gets to speak. You've got about 48 hours.

 

ONLY the competitors of this specific debate, the judges and myself may post in this thread.

 

At the end the judges will privately vote on a winner.

 

This debate ends 7:00 PM Eastern on 2/12.

 

Topic: Who should the closer be in 05, Mota or Alfonseca?

 

Alfonseca - PhishPhan

 

Mota - Heckeroo

 

Either side may begin.

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Mota is a hands down premier set-up man, no doubt about it. But the man who should close games for the 2005 Marlins is ex-Marlin closer, and newly re-united Marlin, Antonio "6 finger" Alfonseca.

 

Mota finished ranked 5th in the majors in holds last year out of all the relief pitches in the league, with 30. Meaning he was given a lead 30 times late in the game, usually the 7th or 8th inning and held that lead. He finished only 6 behind Tom Gordon who lead all relievers in holds. However this understates the job Mota did. Don't forget Mota had 9 wins last year. Meaning he came into a tie game a number of times, kept the game tied long enough for his team to take the lead and win the game for him. To me that is just as good as a hold, if not better. So anyone could argue, quite effectively, Mota is the best late inning set-up man in the league. His hold numbers have been in the top 20 or 25 relievers over the last few years, showing just how commendable of a job he does. The hold numbers were so much higher last year because Quantrill who lead the league in holds in years past moved to those Bronx Bombers, pushing Mota into the set-up role where he flourished.

 

Antonio was used in more of a relief role last year, not as much of a set-up man, leading to his only 13 holds. But, don't let the small hold numbers fool you, last year was probably Alfonseca's best year of his career. He posted his 3rd highest inning total of his career (73.7 IP), he posted his best ERA of his career (2.57). Antonio is also a proven closer. In his original 3 year stint with the Marlins he had 94 saves, despite sharing the closer role with Looper and Mantei on occasion over that stint. In 2000, with the Marlins, Antonio posted the most saves of his career, 45. And its not like Antonio's better days are behind him, he is only 32 and Mota is 31. One is a proven closer and one is the best setup man in the league. And there is no reason to think just because Antonio hasn't been a closer for a couple of years that he won't be able to get right back on that bike and ride it. Just look at the two Antonio shared time with, Looper and Mantei. Looper who was just a reliever and a spot closer stepped right up and began to close a year after being a normal setup man without a problem. And Mantei who was a closer, then was hurt and missed basically two years was able to just right back into the closer role for the D'Backs and save 29 games with a 2.62 ERA. So once you know how to be a closer you can always go back to it, or so it seems.

 

However, Mota doesn't know how to be a closer. Look at last year for example. Last year Mota had 4 saves, but also 4 blown saves. Do you want a closer who only closes half the games he has a chance to? And in his career Mota has saved only 5 games while blowing 11. Some people will be quick to say he blew those saves because he was tired, that his arm can not take the pressure. Let's look at Mota's last month stats:

 

Sept. '04:

 

0-3 6.35 ERA 1 save/3 Blown saves/9 holds. During the month he pitched 17.0 inning and allowed 12 earned runs/

 

For the one save he pitched 2 innings and did not let up a run, but it was also against the enimic Expo offense.

 

For the 9 holds he pitched 12.1 innings only allowing 3 runs.

 

For the 3 blown saves he pitched 2.2 innings while allowing 9 runs.

 

He was exceptional in the hold situations, having 9 holds with about a 2.2 ERA. But, in the save situations he saved 1, blew 3 with about a 17.4 ERA. A tale of two pitchers perhaps?

 

Some may say he was so bad in the save situations because he was tired, but then how was he doing so good in the hold situations? Its not like all the save situations were back-to-back they were spread through the month. He blew his first save on 9-11, saved his only 9-12, blew his 2nd 3 holds later on 9-23 and blew his 3rd of the month 2 holds later on 9-30. So you can see the work was spread out, and its not like he just was doing bad. He was still getting his holds, its just when it came to save situations that he crashed and burned.

 

Not everyone is meant to save games. You have to be able to handle it mentally and it seems Mota may not just be able to do that. However, he is one of the best Set-up men in the league. He just can't save a game. He also has great stamina. He pitched 96.2 innings last year, still able to post 9 holds with a 2.2 ERA in the last month of the season. And in August 2003 he finished that month with a 0.4 ERA for that month and a total of 87 IP up to that point. In September he posted a 4.0 ERA pitching 105 innings for the year. Obviously he arm doesn't fall off. So those 4 save opportunities he had in September last year and posted a 17.4 ERA for them, were they because the iron man was tired on those days for no reason, or because he is a setup man and not a closer?

 

If you put Mota as a closer you lose his gift of being able to pitch 90-100 innings in hold situations flawlessly. Who wouldn't want Mota pitch perfect 7th and 8th innings 50 times?

 

So you have to choose between an Iron Man Set-up man and a proven closer, I go with the proven closer in Antonio Alfonseca.

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