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Is Izzy worth it?

Everyone is seemingly in agreement that the 9th inning is different from all the other innings and that a team needs a special pitcher for the 9th... The Closer...

According to Tony LaRussa: "There's no doubt in my mind that... one closer is better for your team, for your bullpen, for the psyche of your ballclub. The other side is more intimidated by a true closer than they are by a bullpen-by-committee."

To date Jason Isringhausen has pitched 291.1 innings for the Cards, and has posted a 1.13 WHIP and an ERA of 2.59. For this the Cards have paid $31.65 million, and are on the hook for another $10 million... and they've actually gotten their money's worth given the market.

So what's the best approach to the 9th inning? The high-end BJ Ryan, Izzy approach; a low-end Todd Jones-type every year or two; drafting a college kid and praying for Huston Street; the strict bullpen by committee...

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