Coming into Spring Training, the Rays pretty much threw Orvella's name onto who they projected as the team's closer for the regular season. However, bats have found Orvella's pitches this spring and the closing job is pretty much up for grabs.
As most Rays fans can attest, we don't want Miceli as our closer. Not a chance, never, nuh uh....nyet.
Luckily for Rays fans, a non-roster invitee has quietly made a case for himself to get a job in the bullpen and a good case at being the Rays closer to starter the season.
Enter- Jason Childers
Sometimes a push, a chance and pretty much an invite to major league camp is all that is needed to awaken a monster inside a person. That, in my opinion is what happened with Jason.
He's been a minor league journeyman for the Brew Crew and Bravos, putting up solid numbers but never enough to get a "cup of coffee" or even a look in the majors.
That's where the Rays come in....the Rays, coming into Spring Training, knew that the biggest question mark for the team would be the bullpen. Hell, you lose your last 2 closers in 1 trade...you know that you're going to piece together a mish-mash bullpen.
Originally, we thought the closer competition would be a 4 man race....then bad outings, bad injuries and just plain old bad luck ravaged most of our FA bullpen signings. Harville has sucked, Camp is as bad as we expected, Mori only pitched against Rays hitters and Miller has been mediocre.
Out of the remaining candidates for the closing role, I'm guessing noone planned on Jason Childers to be the pitcher with the strongest numbers coming from the spring.