He’s not a closer. I don’t give a damn what his save count is, Todd Jones is not a Major League closer. At least not anymore.
This is a harsh reality the Detroit Tigers need to accept — and fast.
Closing pitchers — real closing pitchers — are mow down artists. They throw strikes with movement, they nip the corners, they overwhelm the tired batters who’ve been playing baseball for the past three hours with a fresh arm and an intimidating presence.
Even when he gets a “save,” Jones looks like he’s scared to be on the mound. He looks like a frightened child on the verge of hyperventilation. He knows that his stuff isn’t good enough to strike out a big league batsman, so he has to serve it up and hope it lands in one of his outfielders’ gloves. I’m sorry folks, but that’s not a closer.
And take his 18 saves this season. How many would you honestly consider to be bona fide saves?
Technically, a save is when a closer is able to hold a three run lead. But how many times has Jones given up one or two runs and put the go-ahead runs on base? How many times has he gotten lucky because a ball just fell short of being a home run? Or one of his teammates made a brilliant catch or play?
I find no joy in writing this, but those shouldn’t count as saves. Not in my book. Todd Jones is going to force Major League Baseball to rewrite the definition of “save” if the word is to have any real meaning.
Last night’s blown save should surprise no one. You can’t serve up a low 90s fastball with nothing on it to a big time slugger like Jermaine Dye and get away with it. But that’s all Jones has got.
If the Tigers are truly serious about making it to the post season, they have to accept the fact that Jones is not going to get them there. It’s time for a serious shakeup in the Tigers’ bullpen. We need a new closer — and fast.