Panic in Motown?
Not quite yet.
But the Tigers ‘chosen’ closer isn’t making things easy.
Bruce Rondon, 22-years-old, is expected to be the closer for this coming season and hopefully many more to follow. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland have both made it known that it’s his job to lose this spring.
Losing it is just the path he is on. Through 4 appearances, he has given up five hits, three earned runs, and five walks. His ERA is at a staggering 7.36. It’s early we know, but at what point does early become too late?
If he happens to pitch himself out of the closer spot then who will be our fearless closer?
We could very well see what we saw during the postseason last year.
Tonight’s closer is “________”.
The closer by committee, thanks largely to Phil Coke, was mostly successful for the Tigers down the stretch. Some say it gives you an edge against your opponent, letting the hitters wonder who they’ll see in the 9th inning isn’t all that bad.
Leyland has been known to love the numbers game but loves a certified closer for the game more.
An option that many refuse to hear is Jose Valverde, still unsigned as of Monday morning. His struggles towards the end of the 2012 season are not easily forgotten. Allowing nine earned runs on eleven hits in the postseason doesn’t exactly help your cause and make you a fan favorite.
But his success isn’t lost either. He was 49 for 49 in save attempts in 2011 and even finished 5th in the Cy Young voting.
To say he’s not capable is foolish. But the bigger question is what price will it cost to bring him back? The $9 million he earned in 2012 is foolish.
At the right price he does provide a little security in the bullpen, he does after all look like a bouncer at a club.
Another guy who looks like a bouncer is Brian Wilson. Nearly 11 months out from Tommy John surgery #2, is a candidate to come to Detroit.
This could be the biggest bust by the Tigers or one of the greatest signings. The risk is great but no one would be surprised to see him sign here.
Regardless of what you think about him, he is capable of rejuvenating his career. His composure towards end of season games and postseason is remarkable. Something Tigers fans should envy.
In the 2010 postseason, Wilson was 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA, 4 walks, and 16 strikeouts.
The question that comes into play again is price. He made $8.5 million in his injury full season last year.
Both Valverde and Wilson will likely require somewhere over $6 million. Joakim Soria and Ryan Madson, both off Tommy John surgery last year, signed new deals this off-season.
Soria went to the Rangers in a back loaded 2-year deal for $8 million. Madson to the Angels for 1-year/$3.25 million, but loaded with incentive payouts which could total $6.75 million.
But if you’re the Detroit Tigers, you are sitting there with arguably the best starting rotation in baseball, the best lineup in the majors, and leaving the end of your games in the hands of a 22-year-old rookie.
So would you pay $6 million for a little insurance at the closer spot?
Heck, I’d pay $10 million.
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