Mariners trying Wilhelmsen at closer for the time being
The Seattle Mariners have been using young right-hander Carson Smith as their closer for much of the season, especially after (now DFA’d) option Fernando Rodney lost his ninth-inning duties.
That’s not the case anymore, as the club used Smith for the eighth inning and right-hander Tom Wilhelmsen as the closer for two wins earlier this week.
As manager Lloyd McClendon told Shannon Drayer of ESPN Seattle, that’s how things are going to be for the time being as the team tries to find a reliable bullpen situation for the future. Said McClendon: "As we speak, yes. He’s done a nice job. Sometimes when you take a step back you learn from your past. He seems very comfortable, he’s not overwhelmed. His breathing, his pace out there, ability to execute pitches has been very impressive."
Wilhelmsen has experience as a closer, having picked up 58 saves over the course of his five-year career in the Seattle ‘pen. If he sticks there, and Smith does well as a setup option, the Mariners could have a nice one-two punch for the late innings next season and beyond.