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Who should close for the Orioles right now?

A few more days like Tuesday and we're going to have to build that outdoor crab deck after all.

I definitely would have had the funds if I had only left that $20 on Mine That Bird instead of pulling it at the window to get a couple extra beers. I was thirsty at the time.

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(I am kidding, of course. But I have a buddy who swears he was in line to see a band in a Pittsburgh bar years ago when two girls convinced him and his friend to drive them to a party. The girls ditched my friend once they got to the party and he never did see the little-known band, Nirvana, in that dive that night. Ouch.)

Anyway, what an incredible debate we had Tuesday. I didn't do the math (I'm a word person, people), but it seemed nearly divided between those who want to exhibit patience with Andy MacPhail and those who aren't buying the concept that a plan is in place.

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I am squarely in the middle. I think there is a plan. But I think it has obvious risks. I think MacPhail has done a much better job running the club than anyone I have covered (this is season nine of my bad baseball vigil).

But he is not without fault. I, for one, agree with some of the customers that MacPhail missed a golden opportunity to deal George Sherrill last July. Baseball whispers suggested he couldn't get closer value for Sherrill, so he didn't investigate aggressively.

Problem is Sherrill's value will never be higher than it was after his tremendous, gutsy performance in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. I was there, and Sherrill was the belle of the ball – everyone was talking about him.

This isn't an indictment on Sherrill; he is plenty useful as a big league pitcher. But if you are a rebuilding club and you have a 30-plus-year-old at the top of his value, deal him for a couple potential building blocks.

MacPhail didn't, and now Sherrill has been moved -- maybe temporarily, maybe not -- out of the closer's role. Orioles manager Dave Trembley says he doesn't have a specified closer right now. It's being assumed that it's a closer-by-committee, but I doubt that is the case. Trembley will use matchups, but my guess is he will settle on someone soon.

Sherrill is correct when he says closer committees don't work. Relievers are creatures of habit. They need to know what their roles are. I've been around plenty of closer controversies over the years, and all the guys say the same thing: I don't care where I pitch, but let me know when I am going to pitch.

Some fans dust off the old argument that on a bad team you don't need a good closer. But I disagree. Nothing is more deflating to a club – a good one or a bad one – than losing a game it should have won. It can affect a club's confidence and psyche for days.

My guess is that your new Orioles closer is either old closer Chris Ray or competent set-up man Jim Johnson. Danys Baez is pitching better than any reliever right now, but he is also coming off elbow surgery and excels when there is a little less pressure.

I'd probably give Ray the first shot, then move on to Johnson and maybe back to Sherrill if no one seizes the opportunity.

What's your call?

Daily Think Special: Who should close for the Orioles right now?

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