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Tigers option Bruce Rondon to Toledo, will go with a closer-by-committee

Mar 28, 2013, 8:49 AM EDT

Bruce Rondon AP

The Tigers’ clubhouse was closed this morning and that means cuts. One cut that is somewhat surprising: reliever Bruce Rondon, who the Tigers had given every opportunity to win the closer’s job this spring. But he’s headed to Toledo and the Tigers are going to go with a closer-by-committee setup.

Rondon is immensely talented, but he had an erratic spring. Rough going early, but then he righted the ship somewhat. Overall he struck out 18 batters in 11 and two-thirds innings this spring. But he walked nine and gave up 15 base hits. That’s a recipe for a lot of antacids for Jim Leyland in the ninth inning, and it seems he just didn’t want to deal with that yet.

Rondon will eventually be pitching in late innings in Detroit. For now, though, it’s going to be some mix of Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Al Albuquerque handling closing duties.

  1. 50milessouthofdetroit - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    After his performance in last year’s playoffs, I believe Coke deserves a chance to be the guy

    • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      That’s because you’re only looking at his performance during the playoffs. If you looked at it for the full season, you would not have that level of confidence.

    • aiede - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      Coke gets lit up by righties. Their line against him last season was .396/.446/.604/1.050.

      I like the guy, but he might as well have “LOOGY” tattooed on his forehead.

  2. 13arod - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:18 AM

    let phill coke do it not share it with benion

  3. alexo0 - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    Paging Mr. Valverde…

    • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      bite me

      • paperlions - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        José Tigre to the rescue!

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM

        Living dangerously in time for the Easter holiday I see.

    • Old Gator - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      I was thinking the same thing yesterday after watching Rondon get smacked around by the Feelies. If the Tiggers have an Achilles heel this season, it’s going to be the boolpen.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        For now…

        (ha ha dondada10)

      • dondada10 - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:31 AM

        You’re better than this…

        Out of curiosity, do you teach history? Is that the meaning behind your name?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        I do teach a little history, yes.

      • Old Gator - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Okay then, here’s a beeg local question for you: who won the Battle of the Bay of Peegs?

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        OG, that’s not a history question. That’s a litmus test. Chemistry — different subject.

      • Old Gator - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        Yeah, it is a bit like throwing a handful of granulated sodium into a pail of pondwater, isn’t it?

      • dondada10 - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        Histori, I just saw this. I teach as well.

  4. rbj1 - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Woo hoo, I’ll get to watch Rondon most of the year. Good thing beer is cheap in AAA.

    • dawgpoundmember - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:53 AM

      Since when was $7.50 for a tall draught cheap?

  5. unclemosesgreen - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    Phil Coke is not a closer, he’s a reverse closer. He’s the guy you put in during the 14th inning when you want the other team to win so you can go home.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 10:03 AM


      • Old Gator - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        What horrible sarcasm. Snort!

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        That wasn’t sarcasm. No sarcasm font at all. I liked it.

      • unclemosesgreen - Apr 3, 2013 at 7:22 PM

        RRRRRRReverse Close!

  6. js20011041 - Mar 28, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    They should go with closer by committee, but they won’t. They’ll take a few weeks before settling on someone. We see this almost every year. A team doesn’t have the one dominant, or perceived to be dominant reliever, so they say they’re going with bullpen by committee. They all eventually fall back in line with conventional thinking. I’m not sure you see this in any other sport, but the tactics involved in bullpen usage are essentially dictated by the save rule. There wasn’t any of this nonsense about how “the ninth inning is different” before the advent of this poorly conceived stat. One day, some organization is going to have the balls to use their best relievers in the appropriate situation, and they’ll be better for it.

  7. ss - Mar 28, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Al Albuquerque doesn’t have his own barbecue sauce and the world is a darker place because of that.

    • chill1184 - Mar 28, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      According to a certain overrated overweight radio host in NY Mr. Albuquerque doesnt exist

    • bjbroderick - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Al Albuquerque’s Quirky Goose Jerky.

  8. philliesblow - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    How long until Brian Wilson is healthy again?

    • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:04 PM


      • unclemosesgreen - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        I just wanted to make a Beach Boys reference.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:45 PM

        PC will appreciate that.

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Sorry, he just wasn’t meant for these times.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM


        /throws Albuquerque Jerky

    • unclemosesgreen - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      It typically takes about a year for a pitcher to recover from TJ, and like most recoveries, it gets a little harder the older you get. BWilson had surgery April 19th.

      The Beard has informed his agent that he does not wish to sign with any club until he’s ready to pitch again. This timeframe may well coincide with Detroit’s desperation deadline to have a real closer instead of this clown car stuffed with posers. I’d definitely start the betting odds of likely landing points for the Beard with Detroit, it only makes sense.

      • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 1:38 PM

        I’m glad you’ve come around to my prediction (even if we came to it from different views).

  9. hieronymous27 - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    The Tigers had no choice but to send Rondon to the minors. To have allowed Rondon to start the season in the majors would have ruined his confidence and maybe destroyed his career. That being said, Dave Dombrowski’s reputation for being able to evaluate raw baseball talent should be seriously questioned. The Tigers are a team designed to win NOW! Their owner doesn’t have many years left and he wants a world series trophy to go along with his Stanley Cups. Anointing a rookie (Rondon) to be the closer instead of signing Rafael Soriano was a serious lapse of judgment. If a bullpen by committee doesn’t work (and I believe it won’t) then you have to trade either Porcello or Nick Castellanos, the best player in the organization with MLB potential, or sign Brian, the wierd beard, Wilson to be your closer.

    • historiophiliac - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM

      Why do you think that’s not what the plan is? I think you read it completely wrong if you think they really passed on Soriano for Rondon.

  10. Detroit Michael - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    To be clear, Craig wrote this sentence: “For now, though, it’s going to be some mix of Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Al Albuquerque handling closing duties.” The Tigers said that they will start the season without an established closer, but that precise list of names didn’t come from the Tigers based on the Detroit News articles I just read.

  11. shepperoni - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Last year they used Coke or Dotel in the 7’th, Benoit in the 8’th and Valverde in the 9’th and if Dotel or Benoit was hot they still pulled them. It’s like they can only pitch in a certain inning. I say if they come in in the 7’th and get three outs let them pitch in the 8’th or 8’th and 9’th. This specialized inning to pitch in crap drives me nuts. If they’re getting the job done let them pitch.

  12. quizguy66 - Mar 28, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Fans of Mike Francesa are rooting for Al Albuquerque to win this job 😀


  13. dracko19 - Mar 28, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Downs=DET new closer. Watch

  14. ireportyoudecide - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Good for them, closers are the most overhyped overpriced thing in baseball right now.

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