Why we shouldn't "slot" our bullpen (except for Trevor Hoffman)

My father-in-law tells me semi-regularly that one of the biggest mistakes that the Houston Astros ever made was to erect statues of Biggio and Bagwell outside of Minute Maid park while they still wore Astros uniforms as players. His reasoning seems good enough for me: Once you set up a statue for a guy, you have to do whatever the hell that guy wants. Not that these aren't great players, but if Jeff Bagwell really wanted to still be playing right now, he would be. Similarly, if Craig Biggio wanted to go for 4,000 hits, then he'll be given the opportunity.

Being given these sorts of honors before it's really appropriate (*cough* #6 *cough*) is like getting tattoos in TJ. Yeah, it may seem really cool and it's possible that it'll turn out just like you want it to, but it's also possible that you're eating horse meat.

Somewhere along the line, Scott Linebrink was given the title "setup man". I suspect that KT will leak these sorts of titles just to increase the trade value of a player. A good setup-man can be traded to another team to potentially be a closer. We've moved lots of guys that way, Aki Otsuka being the most recent.

I think the value of defining your setup-man is great for trade value, but when it comes to actual in game use, I don't think it should be so cut and dry.

Scott Linebrink, at this point, is not our best reliever. He's not top two. He's not top three. I was perfectly willing to go along with the idea that he could be another team's closer to help sell him that way as long as it wasn't costing us games. Last night, it cost us a game.

After a rest day, against a dangerous Marlins team, the best man in the 8th would have been Cla Meredith. I don't think there's even any question. Now, of course, Bud Black may have other reasons for not going to Meredith and that's understandable. I don't pretend to know exactly what goes on in the dugout. Maybe Cla's nursing a cut on his hand. Maybe he looked a little tired. I don't know.

One thing I do know, if Black put Linebrink in because of his marketing... If he put Linebrink in because he believes the hype, then it's time we started looking in another direction.

P.S. I really like Linebrink and it kills me to write this post, but setting him up to get killed is painful cause I hate to boo the guy.

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