Time to Rethink the Modern Bullpen

Time to Rethink the Modern Bullpen

The casualties keep mounting. Brian Wilson: done and headed for his second Tommy John surgery. Joakim Soria: done after his second Tommy John surgery. Ryan Madson: done after his first Tommy John surgery. The list of closers on the disabled list also includes Andrew Bailey, Kyle Farnsworth and Drew Storen.

No one wants to admit it, but the modern bullpen is a failure and the modern conventional wisdom of training pitchers is a failure. The modern specialized bullpen does no better job protecting leads than the pitching usage that preceded it. And though closers, like pitchers of all types, work less often, they break down more often. What industry would accept these failure rates -- the way baseball does?

• Sixty-six percent of 2011 Opening Day closers (20 of 30) are no longer closing for the same team 12 months later, with seven of them hurt.

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