Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 3/14/13
Bruce Rondon is not ready to close games in Detroit. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said earlier this week that it was possible Rondon could begin the season as part of a closer-by-committee group. That made it clear that Leylands already decided that Rondon is not ready to shoulder the responsibility by himself. Leyland does not want to mix and match closers -- especially on a team for which anything short of a return to the World Series will be a major disappointment. Teams that take that approach do so for one reason: they do not have a closer and are making do. But it could be Leylands only option. The Tigers soon will either attempt to deal for a quality closer -- which will be extremely difficult at this time of the year -- or decide that the eventual closer already is on the roster and just needs to shake out. Though, the Washington Nationals could be a trade partner with two proven closers in Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard now likely pitching the seventh and eighth innings with free agent closer Rafael Soriano added. If Rondon is not ready to be the closer, he is not ready for the Detroit roster. He is no doubt the likely closer of the future, but keeping him in the bullpen for low-pressure situations doesnt really help him or the team. Send Rondon back to Triple-A Toledo, where hes only pitched nine games. Let Mud Hens pitching coach A.J. Sager, one of the top minor league instructors going, work with him on a daily basis. Hes only 22 years old, and has plenty of time to develop. Jamming him into the bullpen with no real role means that somebody who is ready to pitch in the majors and help win games -- Darin Downs, Brayan Villarreal or perhaps Drew Smyly -- is going to Toledo instead. That makes no sense. Now, Rondon looked pretty good Thursday against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie. He had his first 1-2-3 inning of the spring, but the only batter he faced who could make the Mets was center fielder Collin Cowgill. He threw strikes on eight of 12 pitches, had two first-pitch strikes, and got two of those swing-and-miss sliders Leyland has wanted to see. Rondon got a ground out, fly out and strikeout. But he also got away with a 95 mph fastball right down the pipe that Jamie Hoffmann swung at and missed. But, it was definitely an outing to build off for Rondon. He throws his fastball over 100 mph on a regular basis, and thats awesome. But its not enough. He had been hit hard all spring -- even after a four-day break between outings to work on a more fluid delivery with Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones. Using the slider to keep hitters off balance, commanding his heater to avoid fat pitches and getting ahead in the count had been problems for Rondon until Thursday. Keep him on the roster until the final spring game on March 30, and let Rondon pitch in that game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. It will be his first game in a major league park and another part of his maturation process. The comfort he is gaining with Leyland, his catchers, coaches and teammates during spring training will make him that much more ready when he does get the call. Rondon has the stuff, swagger and mentality to be a closer. His repertoire just isnt quite there yet, but his time almost surely will come. And I believe the Tigers already have the closer solution on this roster. What closer-by-committee would allow is for somebody like Al Alburquerque, Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit, or Villarreal to find a groove and become the closer. I dont think Leyland sees Octavio Dotel as a closer -- even though he was one earlier in his career. My choice for most likely to succeed is Alburquerque. Hes back from elbow surgery with that great fastball and killer slider -- that put-away pitch closers must have. Alburquerque pitches Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays, and has thrown seven innings while striking out 11 with one earned run this spring. Rondon will get his chance, but now is not the time to chance him as the closer. Its that simple.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker