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.
Will Bruce Rondon pitch for the Detroit Tigers during the 2013 season?
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