After Jose Valverde’s postseason implosion, the Detroit Tigers looked to move on and hoped young rookie, Bruce Rondon, would run away with the closer’s gig in Spring Training. Much like a young Craig Kimbrel, Rondon has great stuff needing only to harness his control. Unfortunately, he has been unable to find the reigns and has five walks in just 3.2 spring innings. He’s also given up five hits and three earned runs.
These struggles have had ripple effects making for interesting news and speculation. We have reported that the Tigers may be considering making a move for Carlos Marmol, who is being once again shopped after remaining in Chicago despite a heavy flow of trade rumors last season. Yahoo Sports is speculating that Jose Valverde may end up back in Detroit after all, thanks to Bruce’s spring struggles. Recently Jim Leyland called the idea of young starting pitcher, Rick Porcello, moving to the closer’s role, not that “wild.” Last, but not least, the Tigers’ will have a healthy Al Albuquerque in the bullpen after appearing in only eight games last season. In 2011 he had 67 Ks in 43.1 IP and is only 26 years old. If he gets a shot, he could become a dominant 9th-inning stopper.
Fantasy drafters, don’t buy in on Bruce Rondon just yet. Consider him a speculative 4th closer at the moment, no better than Sergio Santos and Vinnie Pestano, and keep on eye on this one, as it is becoming one of the more interesting stories of Spring Training.
Ryan Kantor is an author at Reading Between the Seams. He is a life-long Yankees fan and a proud Clemson alumnus, residing in North Carolina, where he works in marketing research. For more stories like this, you can visit his personal blog at RyanKantor.com and follow him on Twitter at @Ryan_Kantor.
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