The Arizona Diamondbacks’ bullpen depth was hailed as a major asset prior to the season, its versatility seen as one of the strongest in baseball.
In the season’s first month, the former has been tested while the latter has been on display, and could continue for the foreseeable future.
Three relievers have recorded at least one save, with closer J.J. Putz leading the way with five.
However, after his most recent appearance, in which he blew his fourth save in nine chances, there is plenty of chatter -— be it from fans or media -— for manager Kirk Gibson to make a change.
“We going to have to talk about this every day,” Gibson answered when the question was asked about Putz’s availability and status prior to the series finale against San Francisco.
Three minutes later Gibson said “it’s possible, yes” Putz may not be available; and if needed, he has a number of options to turn to for the final out of a game.
“Anybody is available,” he said. “We closed with (Matt) Reynolds two games in San Francisco. We’ll go to anybody. Obviously, David’s (Hernandez) got closing experience. Heath Bell’s got closing experience. I think it could vary. I would close with (Josh) Collmenter. I’ve said that more than once. All of our guys are capable.”
In terms of experience, Bell, with 154 saves over a ten-year career, makes the most sense.
Some would argue Hernandez would be the most logical choice, considering his experience as the eighth inning setup guy.
Reynolds has been the most effective, albeit with only the two opportunities.
And then there’s Collmenter, who is a favorite of Gibson’s, but doesn’t have any closing experience in his career.
“I think what we have to do here is keep things in perspective,” Gibson said as he discussed the bullpen as a whole.
“I’m just going to have to be really alert to not pushing guys like J.J. or anybody else on this staff at this point. We’re at May 1st. Maybe in August it’s a little different, but this is May 1st.”