Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/13/13
For nine months it has been apparent that the Detroit Tigers need a closer. Yet, during this period, Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski has unsuccessfully tried to reassure us that the Tigers lack of a proven closer wasnt as critical as most of us perceived. First, Dombrowski tried to sell raw rookie Bruce Rondon as the answer - only to have that experiment blow up during spring training. Then we were subject to the bullpen-by-committee fiasco, which unsettled the whole team. And finally the Tigers GM turned to the exiled Jose Valverde. The same Valverde that Dombrowski banished to the free agent market after last seasons playoff meltdown. This, however, is not about Valverde, honestly, even Papa Grandes most ardent supporters knew (deep down) that it was more wishful thinking, than common sense that Papa would reclaim his closer throne. There is only one man that Tiger fans should be holding accountable for a situation that should have been adequately addressed months ago: Dave Dombrowski. And quite frankly, I just dont get it. Dombrowski has been a very good GM for the Tigers. He quickly turned around the fortunes of a 119-loss team and has made Detroit baseball competitive and relevant again. Todays Tigers are a powerhouse club that has baseballs best hitter and the games best starting pitching. The Tigers are primed to win with all the pieces in place except for that one essential ingredient: a proven closer. How could Dombrowski let this linger for so long? Maybe his lack of urgency is based on Detroits weak division or perhaps he really believed that Rondon was ready to fill the closer role. After all, Dombrowski wouldnt be the first GM to fall in love with the talent of one of their draft picks. Whatever the reason, time is beginning to run out on Detroits GM. Each day the Tigers keep trotting out Valverde or try a piecemeal approach to the closer dilemma, is a day that frustrates the players, the coaching staff and the fans. Nobody on the Tigers can be confident that they have a surefire talent to close out games. Its shocking that a quality team like Detroit is in this disturbing predicament. The Tigers will have to make a pricy deal that brings a proven closer to town; a deal that gets more expensive with each passing minute. Throughout this ordeal, it appears that Dombrowski has been reluctant to part with Detroits top-tier prospects. I understand his hesitance because closers are like yo-yos. Plus, the ghost of the John Smoltz trade is still lurking in the organization's memory banks. However, Dombrowski is backed into an ugly corner and has nobody to blame but himself.
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