Print and Go Back ESPN.com: SweetSpot [Print without images]

Thursday, March 24, 2011
Podcast: Greatest active pitcher and more

By David Schoenfield

Eric Karabell and Mark Simon tackle the issues of the day in Thursday's Baseball Today podcast , including:

  • Buck Showalter's comments: Much ado about nothing?
  • Brian Wilson and the Giants' bullpen.
  • Brandon Webb's injury status and what the Rangers should do with Neftali Feliz.
  • Brandon Morrow to start the season on the DL.
  • Players who've never received an MVP vote: Who will get one this year?
  • Greatest active pitcher: Halladay or Rivera?


  • I'm going to weigh in on that last question: The answer is not Mariano Rivera. Look, Rivera has been unbelievable, a dominating closer, a class act, clutch in the postseason (although also the possessor of a few vital postseason blown saves that nobody likes to mention) ... but he's a closer. He's thrown 1150 innings in his career, most of them in one-inning stints. Roy Halladay has thrown 2297 innings in his career.

    How many starters would become dominant closers? Random example: Justin Verlander, very good, top-shelf starter. Imagine him throwing 100-mph heat for ONE inning at a time. You don't think he'd be as dominant as Rivera? This isn't meant to belittle Rivera's accomplishments, but to point out that the best closers aren't closers: they're starting pitchers.