Dear God... I love Leyland, but this situation just infuriates me...
OT: Valverde in the game for the Tigers
It seems the 2 guys he goes to in pressure situations most often - Valverde and Coke - are our 2 least reliable options in the bullpen!
I still don't understand why they haven't tried Benoit in the closer spot.... There is no need to have a set up guy if you don't have a closer.
I agree with you 100%. Benoit as the closer and I'd have Smyly as my setup man in that situation.
You don't get to the 9th inning if you don't get through the 8th, it's not a simple solution but I think Rondon needs to be called up at least. He doesn't have to close right away he just needs to be available in the late innings, because they don't have many opetions.
On a more encouraging note Rick Porcello is starting to live up to his potential and he's really upped his K/9 while also lowing his BB/9 so he's really becoming more than just an innings eater in the rotation.
Granted it's limited in limited appearances but the guy has a 42.00 ERA and and 19.3 H/9. Yes he has been very good in AAA but sometimes guys just can't make that jump. I think he's relied on a 100mph fastball in the minors and at the major league level it is "very straight"
On a side note, watching on the Minnesota Twins broadcast tonight they seemed pretty confident spreading the rumor of Jonathan Papelbon to Tigers happening.
The sample size for Rondon is very limited in the Bigs (as you pointed out) but he's been on a solid streak in Toledo, now obviously he needs to cut his walks a bit but his problems in May seemed more of his lack of confidence. I'm not knocking the kid, it just seemed like when someone got on base he went bizarro world and just lost control and feel, he's got the stuff to close at the Major League level it's just when he figures out how to put it all together.
The closer spot is not the only weakness in the bullpen, right now they have only 2 guys that can be counted on to get outs in Benoit, and Smyly so they need another arm in there to help if our starters somehow don't start getting to the 7th inning (seriously this rotation is pitching at a historic level right now.)
I'd stay away from Papelbon if we could because I don't want to pay a closer $13 million for the next 3 years, on top of giving up high end prospects. DD needs to try and swing a deal for Luke Gregerson, Casey Jannsen, or Jesse Crain.
*More info on how amazing the rotation has been*
I agree on most points, especially the Papelbon comments (I actually think the number is $15-16 million per season).
As for Rondon, the walks situation still scares me. Even in AAA he seems to really struggle with runners on base. Also, he is a young guy who most likely needs to develop a secondary pitch to be an effective MLB pitcher. Now the question is do you let him do that development in AAA or bring him up now and use him in spacific situations where you can try and build confidence? Honestly, I don't know that there is a right answer for this.
You're right to question what's the best way to develop him I just don't see why he wouldn't be better than say a Luke Putkonen or an Evan Reed. These guys aren't long term help and Luke in particular would be lost if he didn't pitch in the confines of Comerica Park. A walk rate of 4.44/9 is certainly scary but the way the pen has been I guess I'm more of a "let's see if he sinks or swins."
Rondon does need to be called up... He has dominated in Toledo and is definitely ready to at least get quality experience in the bigs. And yes, Porcello's emergence over the past couple of starts has been very encouraging.
Look I dislike Valverde as much as the next sensible Tigers fan but I don't think you can put this blame on Leyland. He has 25 men and only a few late inning relief pitchers. You can't have Smyly and Benoit throwing every day so we have to rely on Jose and Phil.
Hopefully Al can come back soon with the control he showed last year.
It's obvious this team needs some bullpen help and I have a sneaky suspension that we may be shipping Porcello to Philly for Papelbon
Edit: I should read through all the replies before I reply. The Papelbon money issue in interesting. I assume that Mike Illitch is all in and would be willling to pay the remaider of Papelbon's contract. Wouldn't be the full 13 million.
He's due to be paid $13 mill through 2015, I just don't see us locking him up to that kind of money before giving Cabrera an extension. The thought of throwing away a useful and cost controlled effective innings eater in Porcello for the rager Papelbon might be too much for me to handle, there are cheaper options out there that can be explored.
Thats a good point, I'm hoping you are right. Locking Miggy up before he can even smell free agency is most important.
I honestly think the real blame here is not on Leyland but on DD for going into this season without a backup plan if Rondon wasn't ready. I think Dave is slapping himself in the face for not pulling the triger on the Hanaran Bosech trade as we obviously ended up getting nothing for that bum and Joel was pitching well for the Sox until he got hurt.
It's obvious that Jose isn't the long term goal, but I also don't think we see much movement via a trade till closer to the deadline. I would assume that with this crappy division that the Tigers feel like they will be ok running with Jose as they wait to see if someone emerges in house. If Dotel comes off the 60 day DL and can show to pitch the 8th they could move Benoit. Or if Rondon or alburquerque can start throwing strikes they will probably give them both shots before a big move is made. If none of that works they pull something off at the deadline and get some help.
Hell, with the Tiger's 4 man playoff rotation set without Porcello they may give him a few relief apperaces and see if he could close for them in the playoffs (just random thoughts about the Tigers to get me through the day)
I know he is coming off his 2nd Tommy John surgery but they may be able to go out and sign Brian Wilson cheap and give him a shot. I know I read that he won't tryout for teams until he is 100% ready but It has been about a year since his injury so I would assume he is getting close.
Did the Pirates want Boesch in that deal? I had only heard of Porcello or Garcia for the Hammer which would have been a steep price to pay. Oh and absolutely this is 110% Dombrowski's fault, he rolled the dice on Rondon and ended up losing big, at least up to this point.
They probably didn't, I have no idea. I just know his name was floating around as part of a deal the Tigers were rumored to offer.
Supposedly Dombroski was trying to trade for one. I know off the top of my head that he offered Porcello for Huston Street
And I doubt he did that. Theyve always thought highly of porcellos potential
the tigers are 4 1/2 games in first.
Heard he wants 10 million but I don't have a link to confirm this.
DD is doing the right thing in waiting to get a top notch closer. why pay a guy for all of 2013 when you can win the division as is. get the closer at or after the trade deadline. if it's papelbon, you save 2/3 of that $13M salary for 2013. and he's been one of the most consistent closers in the game the last 5 years. i wouldn't mind having him around 2 more. i don't think illich would mind either.
People are way too crazy when it comes to the Valverde criticism. Yeah he has been extremely inconsistent and is a bit of a headcase, but some people act like he's a walking blown save when he really isn't THAT bad.
He's frustrating to watch and we definitely need another closer before the playoffs, but he's still servicable in the short term.
Dude I grew up watching Todd Jones. It really can me much much much worse.
Prior to today he had given up 5 HRs in 5 and 1/3 innings. Pretty clos to a walking blown save as you can get in the last 2 weeks.
remember jones when he was in the last couple years of his career? he'd still get the save, but it was always with two guys on and someone making a great play to save his bacon. i called him 'calamity jones' at the time. well, we now have 'calamity valverde'. he looks like he might get out of this one okay, but two games in a row he gives up 2 dingers/inning, and then the abomination two days ago in k.c. u-g-l-y!
This also happened pretty much every save opportunity that Valverde had in 2011 when he was somehow "perfect." Baseball has a funny way of eventually averaging out though.
and i was telling my buddies about it back then. thats what made his record setting year that much more remarkable - it was like a toad crossing the I-75 at rush hour. somehow he made it...
My dad called him warning track Jones because it seemed like every game someone would crush the ball all the way to the fences before flying out. He's lucky that he was playing in Comerica.
If leyland is so risky by putting valverde in why wil he not give rondon a shot. granted he is young and doest have a 40 plus save season. However imop the risk/reward with him is far higher being the fact that he could develop into something nice rather than watching valverde stumble through the swan song of his career and giving us all hear attacks in the process.
I mean he can close out the 8th, but that's it? He's just the 8th inning guy?
I think tonight was a "two batters and see what happens" type of night for Valverde. Just so happens he rolled a double play on a well struck ball.
I don't understand why they continue to throw him out there. His confidence is shot and his own teammates have seemed to lose any faith they had in him. I think it's stupid you need a setup man and closer. Benoit threw a great eight inning; just leave him out there for the ninth. Smyly has been consistent enough. Give him a couple opportunities to close one out.
his foot on the top step, it was kind of funny.
is anyone willing to lose Castellanos or Garcia for this guy?
If not, you're probably stuck with Valverde or whatever patchwork operation they come up with when it finally becomes clear to management he's not a MLB level closer anymore.
No. What makes you think he's any better than Valverde? He's had a spotty history.
I don't know if I've ever seen a fanbase have such a love-hate relationship with a player. Seems like everyone wants Valverde to succeed but he regularly just infuriates everyone
I am of the mindset I want Valverde to fail the point of blowing save opportunities to a tie game and having Coke and the 3-4-5 hitters save his bacon.
anyone that loves Valverde. Of course, they want him to succeed, because if he fails, the Tigers lose. That doesn't mean that anyone loves him.
I wish we would have kept Fernando. He was a little erratic but he had more than one pitch.
Two flaws in your statement. When Valverde was re-signed he had more than one pitch (forkball, fastball). Also some of the best closers in MLB history had 1-2 pitches, Eckersley, Rivera, Gossage, Billy Wagner, etc. It's not like you are facing guys 2-3 times so if you have a dominante pitch (like Valverde forkball cerca 2011) you can be an elite closer.
That may be true but what is remembered is what you do in the postseason. I saw him throwing a flat fastball that was getting tagged. Don't wanna trash a Tiger just stating my preference.
for a Verlander or a Cabrera to finally pull someone aside and say, "You've gotta get this guy out of here. I'm tired of wasting myself only to see this bum pitch like that."