Like many Rockies fans (I think), I was irked when the team signed Hawkins. I had longed for the days that Brothers would finally be the closer because there just have not been many Rockies’ relievers with his kind of plus-plus stuff over the years.
But with some time to consider it and to hear manager Walt Weiss talk about it, I am starting to think the team might dispatch Brothers in a manner to maximize his contributions to the team’s success. Weiss says the team will look at match-ups starting in about the 7th inning and decide who will be used when. If nothing else, it sounds like bullpen roles will not be set in stone, and that is a good thing.
People tend to balk at the words “closer by committee,” but that is the wrong way to look at this. Brothers is the best option the Rockies have to get out the other team’s best hitters, left-handed or right-handed. If that happens in the 7th inning, then that’s when the team should use Brothers. If that happens in the 9th inning and comes with a save opportunity, then that is where the team should use Brothers.
What I fear, and what I don’t know, is if the team will stick to this flexible plan or if they will fall back into old habits once competitive baseball is happening. If they do, Brothers would pair with a right-handed reliever (Matt Belisle or Adam Ottavino or Wilton Lopez) as the set-up men for Hawkins the closer.
In that scenario Brothers will be one of the best left-handed set-up guys in the game, but it will be a tremendous waste.