Paps to the Pen
No it wasn’t a rash decision brought about by uncertainty. I can promise you there were many meetings involving many people that occurred before this took place.
Paps wanted to close because that’s where he felt he helped the team best, but he had no issues or problems being a starter either. He was going to do whatever role they asked of him.
I think the most important aspect, and what will be the most talked about part of this move is his health. One of the important points to note here is just how much smarter, and stronger he is, than he was last year.
Since he was hurt last year, like any smart athlete, he has taken the time to get educated on exactly how his shoulder works, and how best to address it and take care of it. The great part about that is that in my experience it’s always taken a major surgery to get young pitchers with unhealthy shoulders to see the light, and that’s not the case here.
That to me is the most important aspect or the major turning point in any young players career. When you get hurt that first time, and you get educated about your arm, things change dramatically if you are someone that has an inner desire to be great, which he does. You get an education that not only allows you to get healthy, but get stronger.
The other important thing to note is that he’s got a year plus in the big leagues now. After what happened last year, and after talking to some veteran players along the way, he knows that it’s not now, nor will it ever be, a bad thing to tell the manager that you don’t feel ‘right’ that night. Your value comes in being available all year, which for that to happen means you have to be smart about your body.
We’ve got a phenomenal training and medical staff that has put every possible measure in place to keep our arms as healthy and fresh as possible, and because of that I think we’re better today than we were yesterday as a staff, and as a team.
The other major impact this will have is allowing everyone down in the pen to fall into their ‘slot’ and be used in roles they’ve all had success in.
This wasn’t done because we have ‘too much starting pitching’, or because anyone was panicked about who would do what in the pen, it was done because John has worked his ass off to be where he needs to be, to close in the big leagues again. His shoulder feels great, which is priority number one, and him closing for us makes this staff look entirely different for the long haul. Whoever ends up in the 5th spot will be just fine. Julian can do it, Kyle can certainly do it and Johnny is not far from being ready to do it, so there are many options, even though you hope you don’t have to exhaust them all to find the right fit (which I don’t think will be the case).
P.S. Just an FYI, the story wasn’t “Broke” here, whether you heard it here first or not, it was broken by ESPN. “Breaking news” is not a goal here, hell there isn’t any goal here other than to talk baseball, 38 Studios and do some cool stuff for the Charities that are linked as well as legitimate charities that bloggers who post here are involved in. So put away the conspiracy theories, as fun as they may be.