What have you been most impressed by this season … away from the diamond? To me, it’s easy. Pelfrey to the street and Sanchez to the pen. Two moves I never thought the Tigers organization had the guts to make.
It signaled a sense of urgency. This was no time to hand players jobs they hadn’t earned. Money didn’t win. Money didn’t influence their decisions.
But this season is unlike any other. In fact, it’s the end of the line for so many things in Detroit. No more hockey will be played at Joe Louis Arena. No more basketball will be played at The Palace. And this year’s version of the Tigers is sure to see many changes; either before the end of the year or at season’s end.
So there is a sense of urgency. Brad Ausmus has been managing, not watching. Quicker hooks with the pen are nothing like we have seen. Brad is finally noticing when a pitcher just doesn’t have it.
And so far over the last week, already on too many occasions, we have seen relievers who just don’t have it. Late collapses have already put games at risk or lost them altogether. And it’s mostly been Bruce Rondon. After a poor outing for Rondon the other day, Ausmus was correct in running him back out there on Sunday. But again, it was a quick exit.
All the concerns we had about the bullpen heading into the season have been reinforced already in the first week. Brad himself said he was concerned about Rondon. For good reason. We were all concerned about KRod heading into the year. For good reason. And these are guys we are supposed to hang our hats on to close out games.
So how long do you wait to adjust? Normally, I would reinforce how incredibly early in the season it is to panic. But the early returns are not good and in this particular year, the Tigers should not wait in trying other things, trying other people in the all-important late inning roles. KRod is one thing; he’s going to get more rope. But guys like Rondon have taken us on such a whirlwind tour, I’m getting pretty dizzy.
Take the centerfield situation for instance. The off-season was spent waiting and wondering when the Tigers would make a deal for a player to replace Cam Maybin. But the Tigers ended up doing what I had hoped; looking to the future. Get moving on getting younger. JaCoby Jones offers a lot of hope and encouragement for the future and he should be given every opportunity to slowly but surely grab a hold of the position full time.
And just as JaCoby Jones looks to have the potential to take the reins in centerfield, the Tigers shouldn’t wait too long in auditioning more young talent; this time in late relief.
Yes, it’s a pivotal year. Yes, younger and leaner could go into motion as soon as July 31st. But there are opportunities to address trouble with youth; and soon. Sure, you want guys with experience, but if our experience is taking us on a rollercoaster ride, well maybe some guy named Joe in Toledo should make his way to Detroit.
Rondon’s act is getting old. And the Tigers continue to give him every opportunity to sink or swim. But he is running out of time and taking on water.
We all know how much time this team has invested in Rondon. They have given him more chances than a lot of people have recommended. It’s been a long, sometimes up, but mostly down, road to nowhere.
If you look at the kind of physical shape Bruce is in, how much effort has he really dedicated to getting better? In return, how much more time should the team dedicate to him?
It depends on their sense of urgency.
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– Tons of video on all the top Tigers
– In the batting cage with Nick(olas)
– More CF shopping rumors
– Good news on Bruce Rondon
– Jones imitating Kinsler
– Updates on all the news and injuries hours before the newspapers report it
– JV’s killer commercial
– What JV and Lolich have in common
– The New Kaline mural
– Bat flips have been replaced with ????
– McCann’s interview evaluating all the young pitching talent