Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Is Fields Astros closer in 2014?
By AJ Mass
For the season, Houston Astros reliever Josh Fields has a very unimpressive 5.91 ERA and that kind of performance isn't exactly going to strike fear in the hearts of opposing hitters. That said, he does appear to be settling into his new role as the "closer by default" in Houston.
Since the team sent Jose Veras to Detroit at the July trade deadline, Fields and Chia-Jen Lo have been in the mix to handle those rare save opportunities that do come the last place Astros' way. Lo has struggled, going 0-3 with a 10.57 ERA in his last eight appearances. Fields has shined of late, with three saves and three holds in his last ten outings, posting a 2.53 ERA and a .194 BAA in the process.
The Astros have plenty of money to spend in the off-season, if they saw fit to do so, but even if they decided to splurge, the closer would be the last piece of the puzzle they'd pursue - not the first. Houston is going to have to be in a position to actually have leads to protect long before they worry about spending big bucks on a free agent like Grant Balfour or Edward Mujica - even if they could get someone like that to agree to join their team.
With the 2014 closer most likely coming form within, a strong finish to the season would put Fields well on his way to walking into spring training with the job to lose.