Who will (and who should/could) be the Colorado Rockies closer

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DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO - JULY 03: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the Houston Astros at Coors Field on July 03, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 10: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the St Louis Cardinals at Coors Field on September 10, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, COLORADO – SEPTEMBER 10: Pitcher Jairo Diaz #37 of the Colorado Rockies throws in the eighth inning against the St Louis Cardinals at Coors Field on September 10, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The long shot

For all the talk about Davis and Oberg, one could make the case that the pitcher who actually holds the job is Jairo Diaz. Diaz, after all, is the guy who got five of the team’s last seven saves.

Diaz had a solid enough 2019, with a seemingly pedestrian 4.53 ERA, but strong peripherals like a 3.70 FIP and 19/63 BB/K in his 57.2 innings. He’s unlikely to retain that role if all other players are healthy, but there are multiple timelines out there where 2020 ends with Diaz as the guy with the most total saves for the Rox.

So who’s the guy in 2020?

The Rox have sunk way too much money into this bullpen for it to be as bad as it was in 2019. Whether it’s Davis that gets the job, or Oberg, Diaz, Carlos Estevez, Bryan Shaw, Jesus Tinoco, or the ghost of Jose Jimenez, if the Rockies are going to return to the playoffs in 2020, they need to do a better job of locking down close games than they did in 2019. Too many wins slipped from Colorado’s grasp in the final innings last year, especially for a scrappy team like the Rockies that can’t afford to paper over bullpen holes like some of the bigger market teams out there.

Ultimately, I believe Bud Black when he says that he’s going to let things play out. I expect a closer battle in spring training with the job going to whoever Black decides pitched best. The Rockies may be best off if Davis wins the traditional role, though that does require a significant return to form from the ex-closer.

Next. 5 interesting Winter Meetings quotes from Colorado's GM. dark

Oberg is the better pitcher at this point in their respective careers. However, regardless of their roles, the team is better off with both men pitching well. This may not be the only fix that the Rockies need to make in order to return to contender status, but they certainly won’t be getting back there if it isn’t resolved.

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