The recent stories regarding former Detroit Tigers Closer Jose Valverde have some fans asking: can Bruce Rondon really get the job done? Considering the current payroll already dedicated to the bullpen and the other options at closer, the Rondon gamble is a good bet. The young closer had an tiny 1.53 ERA with 29 saves. He also fanned 66 batters over 53 innings so he has a ton of upside. And if he can’t handle the bright lights of the show then Joaquin Beniot, Phil Coke or even Al Albuquerque can be called on to shut the door.
It has been suggested recently on Motor City Bengals that the Tigers invest some resources on former San Fransico Giants closer Brian Wilson to add bull-pen depth. I couldn’t disagree more. The Tigers greatest need is up the middle. Currently they have one player on the bench that can handle the glove work in the middle of the diamond, Ramon Santiago. The managements lack of confidence in Santiago is well documented and if the merry-go-round of 4-A players during last years stretch run is any indication of whats on the farm; the Detroit Tigers are in desperate need of a glove man. Infield defense was a serious problem for the Motor City Kitties last year, spending some of those resources up the middle would help the entire pitching staff, bull-pen included.
There are a few possibilities for infield depth on the free agent market. Ceaser Izturis and Ryan Theriot both have solid gloves, speed and can swing the bat. If the Tigers had an injury they could depend on either of these players to play anywhere on the diamond. They could also contribute offensively on a part-time basis as a batter or pinch runner. Best of all they can be had at a great price. This fills a serious need at a discount.
The Detroit Tigers need infield depth not closer help. Currently the Tigers are one injury away from having to depend on minor league journeyman to back up our expensive pitching staff. If Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland were to dedicate resources or make a trade they need to obtain more defense up the middle. If they don’t, and they continue with the current roster, they risk the entire season be derailed by an injury to either Omar Infante or Jhonny Peralta. If the past seasons have taught our Detroit Tigers anything it is that depth wins championships.