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Rondon’s Struggles Continue For Tigers, Valverde And Wilson Rumors Emerge

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Saturday, March.09/2013

Bruce Rondon is 1-1 in Spring Training so far with a 5.79 ERA.  He has allowed 7 Hits (including 1 HR) and Walked 5 in 4.2 IP.  Not such a hot start for the rookie phenom.  With World Series Aspirations this year - can the Tigers afford to not enter the Regular Season with a proven Closer?

Bruce Rondon is 1-1 in Spring Training so far with a 5.79 ERA. He has allowed 7 Hits (including 1 HR) and Walked 5 in 4.2 IP. Not such a hot start for the rookie phenom. With World Series Aspirations this year – can the Tigers afford to not enter the Regular Season with a proven Closer?

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent)

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 4.2 IP, he has given up 7 Hits, 3 ER, 1 HR, and yielded 5 Walks..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?

Bruce Rondon hits 103 MPH!

Al Alburquerque, 26, has yet to surrender a HR in regular season play (56.2 IP).  He is one of the most dominant young relievers in the MLB - might he

Al Alburquerque, 26, has yet to surrender a HR in Regular Season play (56.2 IP). He is one of the most dominant young relievers in the MLB – so might he have his name in the mix for the Closers role at some point during the 2013 year?

We could very well see what we saw during the Post Season last year.

Tonight’s closer is “________”.  (  Phil Coke, or maybe Flame – Thrower Al Alburquerue??  others??? , )

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 this morning. His struggles towards the end of the 2012 campaign are not easily forgotten. Allowing 9 Earned Runs on 11 Hits in the Post Season doesn’t exactly help your cause and make you a fan favorite.

Jose Valverde has 277 Career Saves.  At this point, why not start the season with the guy - you can always demote or release him later.

Jose Valverde has 277 Career Saves. At this point, why not start the season with the guy as your 9th Inning man? You can always demote or release him later.

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.

Top 10 Active Saves Leaders (More like top 8 since Fuentes and Isringhausen are retired and K-Rod doesn’t have a team yet but should sign.)

Rank Player (yrs, age) Saves Throws
1. Mariano Rivera (18, 42) 608 R
2. Jason Isringhausen (16, 39) 300 R
3. Joe Nathan (12, 37) 298 R
4. Francisco Rodriguez (11, 30) 294 R
5. Jose Valverde (10, 34) 277 R
6. Jonathan Papelbon (8, 31) 257 R
7. Brian Fuentes (12, 36) 204 L
8. Huston Street (8, 28) 201 R
9. J.J. Putz (10, 35) 183 R
10. Brian Wilson (7, 30) 171 R

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 Post Season is remarkable. Something Tigers fans should envy.

In the 2010 Post Season, 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 campaign 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 winter.

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.

From 2008-2011, Brian Wilson was one of the top closer in the Majors with 163 Saves.  He Saved 48 Games with a 1.81 ERA only 3 years ago in  2010 for the World Champ Giants.  He went through TJ Surgery for a 2nd time in April of 2012 - who will give him a chance? Tigers fans are hoping he may opt to bring his talents to the Big D.

From 2008-2011, Brian Wilson was one of the top Closers in the Majors with 163 Saves. He Saved 48 Games with a 1.81 ERA only 3 years ago in 2010 for the World Champ Giants. He went through TJ Surgery for a 2nd time in April of 2012 – who will give him a chance? Tigers fans are hoping he may opt to bring his talents to the Big D in 2013.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Tigers Correspondent’ Matthew LaFave for preparing today’s featured article.  Matthew was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan. Growing up watching all of the Detroit sports with his father he began to enjoy writing about them in high school. At first started out as e-mails between his father turned into a Detroit Lions blog website titled ‘Hear Me Roar’. Matthew would go on to get a job as ‘Detroit Tigers Writer’ at the website http://www.examiner.com. He has been writing for them for over two seasons and regularly attends games as a credentialed media member. Be sure to follow him on Twitter

matthew lafave

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on March 9, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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