With a week remaining until opening day the Florida Marlins have finally found who their closer will be. He is 28-year old flame thrower Jorge Julio who was acquired by the Fish this afternoon from Arizona. In return, the Diamondbacks receive 22-year old right hander Yusmeiro Petit.
While Julio has not enjoyed great success in the majors [13-28, 4.20 ERA in six seasons], he does come to South Florida with some upside. The right-hander saved 15 games last season and posted a career-best 3.83 ERA in 44 games for the D-backs.
Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest confirmed the trade by saying Julio ''is our closer.'' Beinfest went on to say that ''we love the arm, we have for a for years.'' While Julio might have a great arm he is also very erratic at times and can quickly lose control of the game. Trust me I saw him pitch with the Mets and in the 21.1 innings he pitched for the Amazinzs he posted a 5.06 ERA. After pitching for the first five years in Baltimore Julio will now be on his third team in the last two seasons.
Luckily, Julio will be a major upgrade over the likes of Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Henry Owens and Randy Messenger. I was at Marlins camp last month and it seemed that the leading candidate to take over the closers role would be Taylor Tankersley. The young lefty looked impressive, but the fish envision him as the set up man, not the closer.
Over the past three seasons Florida has been very fortunate in finding the perfect late inning relief. Veterans Armando Benitez, Todd Jones and Joe Borowski all pitched great baseball in their one-year stints in South Florida. Each man recorded at least 36 saves and Benitez saved a team-record 47 back in 04'.
While Julio will not attain the success these men had, he will be a quality reliever down the stretch for the Marlins. Only time will tell if he can contend with the high octane bats the NL East has to offer.