OT: Tigers Send Rondon to Minors

Submitted by nmumike on March 28th, 2013 at 10:22 AM

The Tigers will now have a closer by committee going into regular season play. I do not think that this is the best strategy for a potential World Series team.

Link: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130328/SPORTS0104/303280412/Flamethrower-Rondon-sent-down-Tigers-pick-mix-match-closer?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

Rondon had an ERA over 5 this spring and was inconsistent...



March 28th, 2013 at 10:27 AM ^

I wish the Tigers would stop hoping that guys in the minors will replace guys they choose not to sign or sign another player. They thought Scott Sizemore was the answer and didn't resign Polanco, that worked out well...


March 28th, 2013 at 12:03 PM ^

It actually did.

Or do you not realize that Polanco has been awful at the plate since he left?

In every season since the Tigers let Polanco walk, their 2B have outperformed Polanco offensively, for  fraction of the cost.

Letting Polanco walk was clearly the right move at the time, and looking back at it with hindsight it was still clearly the right move.

It's not like it's hard to replace an awful RP (Valverde).


March 28th, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

They're one of the most successful GM/Manager duos in the league.  They turned around arguably the worst team ever in the history of the MLB into a WS contender.  They went to the WS twice and is expected to contend for the WS title this season.  I would trust both of their judgement on what to do with their young players and they traditionally have been aggressive with their approach towards developing young players.


March 28th, 2013 at 10:37 AM ^

that is why they play the games.

rondon my still contribute this year but it looks unlikley that any proven closer is available for detroit at this time. hold out hope for help at trade deadline.


March 28th, 2013 at 10:40 AM ^

It's fine to start the season. They might find a diamond in the rough (like Phil Coke), but if they don't, they can always try to grab someone at the trade deadline.


March 28th, 2013 at 10:49 AM ^

I'm not all of that worried as long as they actually use the best guy for the situation, instead of trying to "experiment" with different closers.

I remember reading that even average relievers convert on 90% of their save opportunities.


March 28th, 2013 at 12:40 PM ^

is there are a lot of managers who are stuck in traditional way of using their closers at 9th innings.  You should use your best relief pitchers in a tight situation whether if it's 7th or 9th innings.  Saves are one of the more overrated statistics in baseball yet there are GMs who overpay for a mediocre closer because he has one shiny stats which is saves.

I do agree with you that closer by committee is the best way to do it.  Jim Leyland have done it with the Pirates.  He have some pitchers with closing experience like Dotel, Coke who have done well in playoff last year.  If that's the biggest problem for the Tigers, it's not so bad because they still have good hitting lineup with A-Jax, Hunter, Miggy, Prince and V-Mart plus the best starting pitching rotation in the league.


March 28th, 2013 at 1:10 PM ^

Al is a curious case, my assumption would be that he couldn't handle pitching in multiple games consecutively. His role right now really seems to be fire extinguisher, he can come in during high leverage situations to face either a lefty or a righty and can get a needed strikeout to stop a rally. I agree with you and think he has the necessary pitches to be a closer, but with his slider and injury history I'm just not sure he could be the full time closer.


March 28th, 2013 at 11:06 AM ^

To facilitate the discussion, here are Rondon's stats from the Tigers' MLB site:

ERA - 5.84

IP - 12.1

Oppoent BA - .327

17 hits, 8 runs (all earned), 2 HRs, 9 BBs and 19 strikeouts, good for a WHIP of 2.11, which was the 25th best among pitchers in camp. (LINK TO SORTABLE TABLE). There's not a lot of solid data to make any definitive judgment on Rondon really, and it seems like the hype makes this move seem more dramatic than it might otherwise be, but based on limited data, further development time might be the best thing for now. I imagine we'll see him at Comerica eventually anyway - the good side looks pretty good with Rondon. 

The schedule in April does not seem that stressful overall, I would think, looking at who we are playing, so I don't see a problem with starting this way. The Tigers may be the only team in the Central that can potentially afford to be in this position going into the season, given other strengths of the team. 



March 28th, 2013 at 11:32 AM ^

I actually think closer by committee is an option that more teams should employ. It sure beats overpaying for a mediocre closer. I've always felt having a set closer is overrated. Unless you have a pitcher that really is a shut down guy in your bullpen, closer by committee is the best approach. Play the matchups and go with the hot arm.


March 28th, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Dotel has been a closer (22 saves in 2010).  He's a little long in the tooth now, but knows the closer mentality - may at least be able to keep the seat warm until Rondon is ready.  Albuquerque was 1 for 3 in save opportunities this spring with a 4.5 ERA (18 strikeouts but 7 walks in 12 innings).  Villarreal, on the other hand, was 2 for 2, with a 2.79 ERA, 14 strikeouts and 3 walks in 12 innings.  Given how much Leland likes relievers to get the ball over the plate and challenge hitters, it wouldn't surprise me to see Villarreal either take the closer position or the setup.  Benoit is a candidate as well, although he wasn't put in save situations at all in spring training (1.80 ERA).  Ditto for Coke (4.09 ERA).


March 28th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

I agree with those who aren't too worried.  What Coke was able to do in last year's playoffs against the Yanks and A's helps alleviate a lot of worries I may have otherwise had if the team was "unsettled" in the bullpen. 


March 28th, 2013 at 1:04 PM ^

Have you seen Coke's numbers vs. right handed hitting? Righties had a .446 OBP off him with a .604 SLG. In other words, a legendary season if it was achieved by an individual player.

That is over 101 ABs, not a couple fluky innings in the AL playoffs. Coke is lucky to be on the roster, let alone trusted.


March 28th, 2013 at 1:22 PM ^

Gonna need to see way more than 1.2 innings of work in the ninth (which is what he had last postseason) to make that call.

History tells us that different roles can account for a slight performance difference but over the long term, someone with numbers as bad as Coke is bad no matter what you do with him.


March 28th, 2013 at 12:11 PM ^

At least we can focus on the strengths of our team and use the deadline this year to get those final peices.  Closers can be had in July - if Rondon doesn't get it together.  I'm awaiting a summer where we don't need help at 5 positions and can get a quality peice or two to put us over the top.


March 28th, 2013 at 6:18 PM ^

Shy of fielding an all-star team the Tigers are there. It would be theoretically possible to upgrade at SS, but not realistic in the market. LF too maybe, but that's pointless with very good young outfielders coming through the system and close to the bigs. Not many teams have stars throughout the rotation, and if Porcello's added pitch and good command continue from the Spring he'll be better than good enough for a fifth starter.

So basically we're missing a closer, but we have multiple players capable of handling the role and a guy who got sent to Triple A to start the year to fine tune mechanics and control.


March 28th, 2013 at 12:33 PM ^

I'm hoping the closer committee can do a good job and maybe Rondon will be ready by mid or late season or something. I think they have enough arms to accomplish the task. I had heard talks earlier of trading Porcello for a closer but that it probably wasn't going to happen because they had Rondon. I wonder now that Rondon isn't ready they will consider this? They had also suggested trading Porcello for a SS, which would make better sense.


March 28th, 2013 at 9:35 PM ^

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