John Axford started the year strong. He started the year with one scoreless game in March and then had seven saves in eight opportunities to go along with a 2.79 ERA in April. At one point he was leading the American League in saves. Then came May and with it a sudden loss of effectiveness for the Cleveland Indians’ newest closer. Axford currently has an 11.25 ERA in five games this month. He has blown one save opportunity, had to be taken out of another, and opponents are batting .333 against him in May after starting the year at .200. Yesterday Tribe Manager Terry Francona announced that Axford has been removed from his role as closer and that the Indians would go with a closer-by-committee approach. While Francona said that the goal is to get Axford back to pitching the way he was to start the year, one has to wonder whether or not the time is now for the Indians presumed closer of the future.
Cody Allen has been considered a possible option to end games for the Indians ever sense his debut with the team in 2012. While he was not a regular closer in the minors, Allen has the talent and seemingly the attitude to take the job and run with it. He also has had the results in setup roles to make one think he could be successful. Currently Allen is off to the best start of his career as he is 2-1 with a 1.84 ERA and leads the team with seven holds. He is also one-for-one in save opportunities. His 1.16 WHIP and the fact that he has held opponents to a .222 batting average this season show that his ERA is no fluke, and his twenty-two strikeouts in 14.2 innings show that he has electric stuff. Allen’s career numbers are solid as well as he sports a career ERA of 2.68 in what is roughly the equivalent in two seasons with the Indians. All of these signs point to the idea that the Indians’ closer-by committee (of which Allen is a part) should simply be a committee of one.
So how about it Tribe fans? Should Cody Allen be made the full time closer of the Cleveland Indians? Is he more valuable as a setup man who can be used at any point in the game? Does he need more experience, or are the Indians just delaying the inevitable? Let us know your thoughts below.