At this point, whether Perez or Motte are ready is immaterial. LaRussa has spoken and his word is that Fuentes is our number one priority. It is imperative that a manager trust his closer. It makes a huge difference on how he manages the game. Look at last year when he continually left a starter in too long, or stuck with Villone or Franklin long enough to lose. That's because he had no confidence in the closer, whoever that was at the time. A legitimate veteran closer also makes a psychological difference in the entire pitching staff. Starters are more confident, relievers don't feel that they can't make a mistake, and because they can be pulled earlier they are somewhat protected from falsely blown up stats. So the staff pitches with more confidence and that usually turns into more wins.
And as Gordo says, signing Fuentes would allow McClellan to move into the starting rotation. I think McClellan has the potential to be a very good three or four starter.
But if Mo insists on playing his waiting game with Fuentes, he should spend the mean time going strong after Ohman or a good, dependable lefty to fill out the pen. We will still need an extra piece in the pen with Mac moving to the rotation.
For the fifth starter, there should be a good pool available right before spring training or Mo could trade outfielders for a starter. Ank and another piece might bring Hughes or Kennedy from the Yanks, particularly if the cards would take Kei Igawa and a portion of his ridiculous salary. He did pitch well at AAA though. But I stray.
I think you see where I'm going with this. LaRussa had made no bones about it, he wants a veteran closer. So we either find a closer equal to or sign Fuentes, or find another manager. Thoughts?