Ryan Franklin's latest misadventure out of the St. Louis Cardinals' bullpen, in the team's 5-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, has led to renewed calls for his outright release from the team—a sign of just how fast a closer debate can escalate from "Is he a closer?" to "Is he a Major Leaguer?" The anger makes sense, but Saturday's game was difficult to situate as proof he shouldn't pitch in the Majors.
For one thing, the situation—coming cold into a game with the bases loaded and the score tied is something that is best done if you're the team's best reliever. We've established already that Franklin isn't the team's best reliever, and he failed, somewhat predictably, to stop the Cardinals' bleeding.
So Franklin was brought in to do something that wasn't his job, and he failed to do it. At some point the Cardinals will be forced by bullpen machinations, both necessary—the hard work the young right-handers had done over the last several games, which made them unavailable Saturday—and unnecessary—the intentional walk and the multiple pitching moves that inning in particular—to bring in their worst reliever to pitch in a high-leverage situation. Oftentimes it looks like this.
Franklin might be the Cardinals' worst reliever, but at this point it's difficult to say they could find a better worse reliever out of the pieces currently around.