Jim Leyland spoke frankly about potential Detroit Tigers closer Bruce Rondon during Monday’s Fox Sports Detroit broadcast, saying that Rondon needs to develop more control and to harness another pitch.
Not surprisingly, given those words and Rondon’s continued struggles this spring, the Tigers reportedly are on the hunt for a closer. That’s according to CBSSports’ insider Danny Knobler:
With hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon already showing he can’t handle the job, and with no other good options available in their own camp, the Tigers are already pushing hard to find a closer on the trade market, according to major-league sources.
Rondon has been so bad that the Tigers decided this week to hold him out of spring training games to get extra work on the side. Manager Jim Leyland said at the start of camp that none of his other late-inning options (Joaquin Benoit, Octavio Dotel, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque) profiled as a full-time closer, and nothing has happened to change that opinion.
It’s a problem, one that was predictable when the Tigers decided not to pursue a closer last winter.
If there’s any cause for Tigers fans to be annoyed, it is in Knobler’s last statement there. Rondon’s 100 mile-per-hour fastball in the closer spot was a tantalizing idea, but Leyland has said for months that he wasn’t ready to hand Rondon the job. None of the other options really have showed that capability yet, either — save for maybe Coke, who did well as a replacement closer in the playoffs; Dotel and Benoit struggled mightily when handed that role briefly).
Knobler’s colleague at CBS, Matt Snyder, offered up one possible solution:
— Matt Snyder (@MattSnyder27) March 5, 2013
The Cubs reportedly inquired about Porcello earlier this offseason, and they made a run at Anibal Sanchez. Marmol, meanwhile, has been bumped from the closer’s role in Chicago — though he has his own control issues on the hill.
The Tigers still have a few weeks to solve this issue, but it makes you wonder what took them so long to get started.