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The Tigers are going to go with Bruce Rondon as their closer

Nov 9, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Many of you are saying “who is Bruce Rondon?”  The most relevant answer to that question for you is that he’s the reason why the Tigers aren’t, according to Danny Knobler, going to be players for Rafael Soriano or any other established closer types:


Hard-throwing is right. He’s a big old hoss of a dude who strikes out a lot of guys. He pitched at three different levels last year, striking out 66 in 53 innings. He walks a fair number of guys, but he’s trending in a better direction with that.

A poor-man’s Craig Kimbrel?  The comp is crazy on the surface due to Kimbrel’s dominance in the bigs, but there were questions about calling him up and handing him a job too due to concerns about his control.  Rondon doesn’t strike out nearly as many guys per nine as Kimbrel did in the minors, thus the “poor-man’s” part of it, but Kimbrel walked more dudes.

The point, though, isn’t that Rondon be anything close to Kimbrel. The point is that he’s cheap and team controlled and is likely to be way better than Jose Valverde, and if we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that going big on free agent closers is a sucker’s game.  If I’m Detroit I hand Rondon the ball to see if he can do it. If that doesn’t work, try something else. They won the pennant with Valverde basically on the bench, so they can make it through a couple months of the season that way too.

  1. historiophiliac - Nov 9, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I think this acknowledges that the Tigers’ big interest right now is locking down Sanchez — and that they don’t think the FA closers available now are their cup of tea. It absolutely doesn’t hurt to give him a try early in the season and then work a trade later if you need to — the options might be better that way anyway. You don’t have to have everything set at the beginning of the season (as this one showed) and I think one of DD’s strengths is his (qualified) patience in working things out. Of course, that does not mean he’s not working on some secret bomb to drop either. He likes to do that too.

  2. danaking - Nov 9, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Closers are baseball’s equivalent to running backs. They can be a big deal if you have a good team and a great one (Yankees/Mariano Rivera, Cowboys/Emmitt Smith) but for mots teams they’re interchangeable parts that depend greatly on their surroundings (good set-up men, late leads/good offensive line).

  3. jarathen - Nov 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    The word “closer” gets more and more grotesque every time I hear it. It’s a stupid title created around a rule that is exploited by agents and certain types of pitchers to make more money, and most GM’s are too dumb not to pay for it.

  4. joerymi - Nov 9, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Was shocked he wasn’t placed on the expanded roster toward the end of the season. But I always support the conservative approach with pitching. If Castellanos is called up next season, and not used as trade bait, the Tigers might have a couple real nice rookies next season. Might being the operative word.

    And I agree with the comment section, stop denoting guys closers.

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