EARLY SENSE OF URGENCY

By:  Kurt Snyder

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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16 thoughts on “EARLY SENSE OF URGENCY

  1. A team should never play with a sense of urgency. Sometimes that put to much pressure on the team and that can cause mistakes. You want a team to play with a sense purpose, the purpose is to win and will do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.

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  2. Sanchez should be given the somewhat longer middle or later relief opportunities now, especially when the other arms are fatigued. The Tigers need to find out if he has some value other than 2nd–5th or 6th inning relief. Also, smash the WBC until it croaks. Cabrera is really out of whack, just like he was for quite a while after his injury last year.

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    • After watching the games this weekend I have concluded his back doesn’t allow him to reach very far. He looked pathetic. He seems to be swinging with his arms, not with the hips.

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  3. I would give Rondon a few more games and see. I doubt he has any more fast ball control than already displayed so far, but the alternative is keep him and exhaust all the other arms in the BP, or potentially less assurance from a younger J. Jimenez. But he is what I look forward to for sure.

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  4. Tiger Brass decided couldn’t get the trades they wanted over the winter so this season is a “blend..” Jones in CF is the right move after the “gaff.” The rest of the line up gives us a legit playoff chance. As does the starting pitchers. To stay in contention they must act with URGECY on the PEN though. I’d have the bus warmed up all season. First rider…Rondon.

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  5. Twelve runs & 16 hits in five games. We’re not going anywhere if that’s the best the pen has to offer. Rondon may be a lost cause. He’s been given more chances than he’s earned & continues to come up short.

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  6. Like I posted in here a couple of days ago, Justin Wilson needs to be the 8th inning guy right now! Then you can trade Bruce Rondon and bring up that fella named Joe from Toledo.

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  7. Sorry, Kurt, but there has been no change in Brad’s “managing” style. He is exactly what he has been for the past 3+ years. He has no feel for his starters and is clueless about what and who is in the BP. Granted, there may not be a lot there to work with but he appears to have no idea what the strengths and weaknesses are for those he has.

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  8. I think the time has come to dump Rondon. He keeps proving that he does not have what it takes to be a big league pitcher. His attitude is his biggest enemy, and he’s proven time and time again that it won’t change. How long will this Tigers’ failure continue?

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  9. Wow – the Tigers called up Joe Jimenez this morning and sent Rondon to Toledo! I think it’s the right move – Rondon has been given so many chances and he doesn’t seem to care. The last straw for me was the way he looked coming into spring traing. Obviously he couldn’t be bothered to eat healthily or work out in the offseason. Go Joe!

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  10. As for Bradley being “Captain Hook” this year, yesterday’s debacle by Rondon proves otherwise. After his previous performance the other day, where his fast ball did not find the plate, Brad should have been half way to the mound when ball four was called. He still plays by the manual that he’s my 7th inning, 8th inning, and closer.

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  11. Yes – I detect a more aggressive approach to managing at this point. In the past they would have given Rondon another month of pain before sending him down. They seem to be trending in the right direction and they have a winning record at this point.

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