Detroit Tigers Make Right Moves with Closer by Committee and Bruce Rondon

Brett KaplanCorrespondent IIIMarch 28, 2013

March 26, 2013; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

MLB.com's Jason Beck tweeted on March 28 that the Detroit Tigers sent rookie pitcher Bruce Rondon to Triple-A and that they will be going with closer by committee.

Rondon optioned to Toledo. Tigers will go with closer by committee, as expected. Just without Rondon.

— Jason Beck (@beckjason) March 28, 2013


While Bruce Rondon was the heavy favorite to close for the Tigers heading into spring training, he had an up-and-down spring.

Rondon, who could use some more seasoning at Triple-A before being brought up to the Tigers, will benefit from being out of the spotlight.

Rondon finished spring training with a 5.84 earned run average in 12.1 innings of work. Rondon lived up to his hype as a strikeout pitcher with a 13.9 strikeouts-per-nine inning ratio, but unfortunately had a sub-par walks-per-nine innings ratio of 6.6.

If Rondon can master throwing his breaking ball for strikes, then he can find himself in Detroit by the summer and potentially as the closer. However, for now, the Tigers need to do what's best for themselves, which is win games.

With a strong bullpen, the Tigers can afford to wait until one of the relievers steps up and takes hold of the job. In the meantime, expect Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel and Al Alburquerque to get save opportunities.

Also, with ex-Tigers closer Jose Valverde still unsigned, there is always the possibility that he could find himself in a Tigers uniform later in the month if the bullpen struggles.

For now, the Tigers handled the closer situation correctly. They went with experienced pitchers and not a pitcher who might have been overwhelmed.

This won't be the end of the story for Rondon, but he should see the positives and understand that he could still have a huge role on this team by the end of the season.

*All statistics are as of March 25

**All statistics are from baseball-reference.com