Closer by committee

From BR Bullpen

A closer by committee refers to a situation in which a team does not have a designated "closer" to handle the work of finishing out victories in the 9th inning, especially in a save situation, but instead turns to a variety of short relievers who are given a chance to do the job in turn, according to the circumstances of the game at hand.

This was the normal practice for most bullpens until the late 1960s and early 1970s, as a team having a designated closer or a bullpen ace was the exception. This changed as a generation of closers became big stars, with future Hall of Famers Bruce Sutter and Rich Gossage leading the way. Most teams wanted to have such a reliable pitcher to finish games, simplifying the work of the manager, and the idea of working without one became anomalous.

In contemporary baseball, a team using a closer by committee is usually the result of the manager throwing up his hands and recognizing that he does not have on his staff a pitcher effective enough to be designated as a closer. One rare instance in recent years of a team adopting the approach deliberately was the 2003 Boston Red Sox, who announced at the start of the year that they would be using the approach for sabermetric reasons. This did not last long, however, as a number of early counter-performances by the bullpen led the team brass to abandon the idea quickly as the notoriously impatient Red Sox fans (this was before they had broken the so-called Curse of the Bambino) began to tear out their hair and rend their clothing in despair at the unusual strategy, forcing the team's hand. The Red Sox came back to this approach almost two decades later, in 2019, following a World Series win and a decision not to re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel; once again, results were mixed.