That’s what I heard a lot on twitter last night. When Koji came into the game, there were actually questions. People were hoping he’d close it out…but were wondering if it would be better to just shut him down. Then, he gave up that first home run, and people were now pretty sure he should be shut down. Then along came the second home run. People weren’t pretty sure anymore. It was definite. Shut him down for the season. Sounds like the Sox are agreeing with them.
I have to wonder why.
Oh, sure, it’s pretty obvious that he’s struggling. It’s just an interesting dynamic since there’s just the month left in a lost season, and he’s a free agent.
What are they resting him for?
Sure, he’s a human. Not a piece of machinery you use up before you throw it away. But, by shutting him down, the Sox are basically making sure he’s in good shape for another team to use him, right? The way Sox consider closers, I can’t imagine they’d match any offer that another team would give Koji. Much like letting Papelbon walk, I’ve always assumed this was Koji’s last season. Since I assume there’s no injury, and he’s just exhausted, there’s probably no reason not to just use him up and see what you get out of him.
Unless, I suppose, the Sox just eliminated all other bidders. I doubt it was officially their game plan. But, it might have been a side benefit. Did they just cut all the offers in half for an old closer who struggled in his final appearances before needing to be shut down? Did they just emerge as the only team willing to even make him an offer?
Not that there aren’t other benefits to shutting him down this season. The Sox don’t need him. The loss yesterday didn’t mean a thing to their season. So, is this a chance to try some other guys out? With the bigger September roster, shutting down Koji means one fewer guy to try to find work for. Or, is this a chance to test out closers of the future? Are there any young guys who can close down a game for you?
So, I can understand why the Sox kept giving Koji a chance. There was no good reason not to. If they thought he could pitch, resting him was helping no one. Now?
That might not be true anymore.