The save is a pretty ridiculous stat. Managers tend to mismanage their bullpens because of it and General Managers throw insane multi-year deals at it. In practice though, it’s an antiquated stat that should only be cared about in fantasy circles. Jordan Walden might be ready to jump aboard the “save is stupid” bandwagon.
Despite a productive rookie campaign, 2.98 ERA and 2.79 FIP (fielding independent pitching), Walden’s season was tarnished thanks to a league leading 10 blown saves. LaTroy Hawkins and Jason Isringhausen were brought in to add veteran presence to the bullpen and help mentor the Angels young closer. I can say, for certain, those guys are definitely 39-years-old. Not convinced they are doing much else than being “veteran.”
Walden converted his only save opportunity entering Thursday’s series finale against the Rays but the four walks in 4.1 innings were a bit concerning. While Walden didn’t walk anyone Thursday, the single to B.J. Upton and walk-off home run to Brandon Allen did result in an Angels loss and Walden’s first blown save of the year. The Allen homer was of the no-doubt variety and Walden didn’t need to turn around to watch. It was a walk directly to the locker room, do not pass go and don’t collect $200.
It’s way too early to be concerned about Walden’s 8.31 ERA in 4.1 innings but the bullpen in general has been an eyesore. Let’s wait a few more weeks before we crack the glass casing with a tiny hammer on a chain and pull the panic lever. It is getting closer, though.