Rumor Mill: Jordan Walden our future closer?


I heard a rumor last week that our new acquisition, Jordan Walden might eventually take over as closer. Maybe not this year, but next year.

To me, this makes a ton of sense. Let Trevor Rosenthal close this year while grooming one of our electric young arms in the minors to be a setup man, then ship Rosenthal off in the off-season when he’s at peak value, possibly coming off of two straight 40 save seasons. Closers tend to be overvalued, so chances are we’ll get a decent prospect or two for him, thus allowing us to continue keeping the system full of good prospects while continuing to develop the ones we already have. Plus Rosie is up for arbitration in 2016, and with, in theory, two successful seasons as a closer in the books, he might make a decent amount there. All in all, moving him after the season makes sense.

Let’s check the numbers for both players:

Last year was Rosenthal’s first full season as well as his first as the full-time closer, having earned the job at the end of the season.

GamesInnings PitchedERASavesBlown Saves

While the saves total is good, of the 10 closers with the most saves, Rosenthal had the highest ERA.

Walden has been around a few more years than Rosenthal, so I’ll look at both last year’s stats and his career numbers.


GamesInnings PitchedERASavesBlown Saves


GamesInnings PitchedERASavesBlown Saves

Walden was a full time closer one year for the Angels, back in 2011, so he’s had experience as a closer. He saved 32 games that year while blowing 10. Not exactly the best ratio. On the other hand, last year he had his best year since 2011. If he builds on last year, I see no reason why he couldn’t be considered a viable candidate for closer next year. He’s also a good value, making less than three million this year and less than four million next year. He gets a little more expensive in 2018 with a 5,250,000 salary, but that’s a team option, and we have a 250,000 buyout, which, unless he blows us away, will probably be exercised. After all, by then, some of our young pitching prospects will have graduated to the big leagues or will be ready to do so. All in all he’s a good value for the Cards and gives us an option in the bullpen we didn’t have before.