Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 6/13/13
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For nine months, it's been pretty obvious the Detroit Tigers need a closer. Yet, during this period, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has unsuccessfully tried to reassure us that the Tigers' lack of a proven closer isnt as critical as most of us perceive. 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, Dombrowski turned to the exiled Jose Valverde -- the same Valverde that Dombrowski banished to the free-agent market after last seasons playoff meltdown. This, however, isn't about Valverde. Honestly, even Papa Grandes most-ardent supporters knew -- deep down -- that it's more wishful thinking than common sense that he would reclaim his closer throne. There's only one man that Tigers fans should hold 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 terrific 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. They're primed to win now, 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. Dombrowski wouldnt be the first GM to fall in love with the talent of one of his draft picks. Whatever the reason, time is beginning to run out on Dombrowski. Each day the Tigers trot out Valverde or try a piece-meal approach to the closer dilemma, is a day that frustrates the players, coaching staff and fans. Nobody on the Tigers can be confident that they have a sure-fire talent to close out games. Its shocking that a quality team such as Detroit is in this disturbing predicament. Now the Tigers will have to make a pricey deal to bring 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 him being hesitant because closers are like yo-yos, plus the ghost of the John Smoltz trade is still lurking in the organizations memory banks. But Dombrowski is backed into an ugly corner now. And he has nobody to blame but himself.
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