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Tigers Ink Urbina to be Closer

I’m still not crazy about this deal, but at the time I wrote yesterday, I didn’t know about the deferals, so it’s not as much of a salary hit as I initially thought.

First off, the good. Urbina has 661 strikeouts and only 236 walks 563 2/3 career innings. That’s a pretty nice strikeout to walk ratio over a nine year career. But based on what I’m looking at on Baseball Prospectus, there has been a somewhat slight regression in both strikeouts per nine innings, and an increase in WHIP.

The bad news is, for a someone with the closer label, he lost 4 games last year, and blew 6 saves. That’s 8 games (two games he both blew the save and lost the game) where he was brought in to hold a lead, and didn’t. Fortunately in two of those blown saves, he also hung in there to pick up the win in the next inning.

The year before that, he lost six games, and blew six saves. Now I didn’t compare this to comparable relievers, but that’s a little disconcerting. I would have rather they went out and tried to spend this $3.5 million on an upgrade of a position player, as opposed to a pitcher who will probably pitcher somewhere around 60 innings this year.

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