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Monday October 4, 2010 3:42 am

Plethora of closers in Minnesota Twins bullpen




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Matt CappsNo Nathan? No problem. The Minnesota Twins thought they might have a problem when it was discovered before the season began that closer Joe Nathan needed Tommy John Surgery and was going to miss the entire year. The Twins record holder for saves in a single season was gone, and the organization was going to need a replacement quick if they wanted to keep stable one of the most solid bullpens in the game and return to the postseason.

Instead of one replacement, it’s been closer by committee for much of the Twins’ season. Jon Rauch solidified himself as Minnesota’s game finisher, putting a cap to 41 games this season and collecting 21 saves. But to put a larger emphasis on their finely developing season, they grabbed Brian Fuentes from the Angels and Matt Capps from the Nationals, who brought 23 and 26 saves, respectively. Capps took to the closing role in Minnesota and earned 16 more saves while Fuentes took a setup role.

On the strength of their triple threat of closers not named Joe Nathan, the Twins have earned the third-best record in the American League; fourth in baseball, and for a while, they were on pace to beat out the three teams that finished ahead of them. Now while they don’t have home field advantage in at least two of the three series if they make it so far, they certainly have earned the right to christen their new Target Field with playoff baseball.

Once the playoffs are over, the Twins will have some tough decisions to make. Will Nathan be ready for the 2011 season, and if so, will the Twins even need him? They certainly won’t need four closer-caliber pitchers and will likely let a few go. Rauch is a free agent and Capps is eligible for arbitration. Fuentes will be 35 years old. The Twins have a good problem on their hands and it will lead to good things in the future.

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