Washington Nationals v New York Mets

Closers, man. Can’t win without a proven closer. Just like the Giants last year, who rode their established ninth inning stud Sergio Romo all the way to the World Series title. Romo leaned on the experience gained over his 17 career saves to lead the Giants to the title.

Or the Tigers, a veteran team built on leadership of their proven closer Jose Valverde Phil Coke, owner of a whopping six career saves before shutting things down for Detroit in the playoffs.

Hmm, wait this doesn’t quite add up.

As the song goes, until the arbitration system stops rewarding players for saves with more cash, the act of managing to the save is going nowhere.

Which makes the early spring paranoia over injured closers all the more ridiculous.

Yesterday we passed along the newsy tid bit that Angels would-be closer Ryan Madson got shutdown for 10 days after experiencing soreness in his newly reconstructed right elbow. Hot on the heels of that report came details of Mets closer Frank Francisco‘s elbow trouble, wherein the former Jays and Rangers 9th inning guy claimed to be at “zero percent.”

Add Casey Janssen to the “probably not ready for Opening Day saves” patrol, as he told Toronto shlock jock radio that while he isn’t “100%”, he feels Opening Day is still a possibility.

Whatever will these teams do…other than carry on as if nothing happened?

There is no doubting the value of a closer in as much as they’re a really good pitcher who appears generally unphased by late game pressure. The thing with closers is always that another comparable pitcher is waiting in the wings to take over. If not Madson, then Ernesto Frieri. If not Janssen, Sergio Santos is working his way back from injury. The Mets? I’m sure they’ll find somebody.

Bobby Parnell was instructed to “prepare as if he’s the closer”, which involves what, exactly? Eating nails? Listening to jock jams to find the perfect walkout song? Getting flame tattoos? One can only imagine.

And the rest

The Biogenesis case keeps chasing Gio Gonzalez [Federal Baseball]

Pursue him as it might, this scandal will not follow Gio to the World Baseball Classic, where he will compete for Team USA [Morosi]

New old Jays manager John Gibbons doesn’t want Brett Lawrie to change his style of play. [Davidi]

And for that, Giancarlo Stanton sends his regards.

Speaking of the Mets, things are so bad they’re targeting Jose Tabata as a trade candidate. Better days, Mr. Met. [Mets Today]

Everybody loves this XKCD strip today. Tell me what I’m missing [xkcd]

What the mythical 39 batters faced threshold meant in 2012 and what it means for the poor Rockies [Getting Blanked]

The Red Sox should of signed Josh Hamilton because David Ortiz needs protection. Should of. [Boston Clownshoes]

Kerry Wood is in Cubs camp, coaching up the Baby Bear hurlers [Chicago Tribune]

Gallows humor with the Astros beat writers: “Can Jose Altuve hit more than once in the order?” [Houston Chronicle]

You know the whole “best shape of his life” thing? Jason Heyward wins.

Courtesy of Hyosub Shin , Atlanta Journal-Constitution