By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning

Well, you know what’s coming, so let’s get on with it.

The story of the week? Francisco Rodriguez!

Everyone has an opinion on what the Tigers should do with their closer situation after the back-to-back nightmarish losses in Oakland over the weekend. But what’s the question you need answered by our writers? Well, keep reading.

As is the norm, Kurt and Holly have not shared their answers to the following question; the best way for our readers to get the best bang for their buck. So here we go.

Other than demoting KRod, what can or will the Tigers do to solve the newest holes and problems created within their BP?


Remember the task at hand. Remember what I believe this season represents. Winning is something that either goes along for the ride or falls by the way side on the way to the trade deadline.

KRod was re-signed because in the team’s collective minds, they had no other option. It was the one position in which they wanted experience. But the decision has backfired. KRod is on the downside of his career and sliding fast down the hill. Experience has degraded to erosion.

The obvious answer here is for KRod to be removed. Let’s get these minor leaguers up here and give them honest shots at restructuring this pen. Pick another closer, but be ready to change it up based on matchups. Call it bullpen-by-committee if you like, but I would rather describe it as having a dedicated closer, with someone else ready to pitch to a potential matchup problem due up later in the inning.

Don’t the Tigers constantly get stuck with their hands in their pockets when things go downhill in the ninth? Call me Captain Obvious, but closer is not a strength on this team. So they need to start acting like it and get 2 guys warm in the ninth.

The Tigers have experience with the Wilsons, Greene and Sanchez, but let’s bring up 1 or 2 of these pitchers from Toledo and let them really get immersed Iater in games when the lights are the brightest.

What are you risking versus what the team is experiencing right now? So whether it’s Leon or Jimenez or giving Rondon another go, let’s see what we have and give them time.

Teams build their pens from within, and this is a great opportunity to find out if we have anyone who will be here to help over the next few years.


I have spent an entire morning listening to former GMs in the national media share their disbelief in the latest round of Tigers’ bullpen problems. Guys who used to do what Al Avila now does.

And not a single one of them understands why the Tigers have continued to do what they have done for over the past decade.

After Sunday’s game, the Tigers have reclaimed their spot as the worst all-around BP in MLB. They have lost 3 games after having a lead going into the 9th – also tops in MLB.

As I write this, it is Monday morning and there are rumblings of a “talk” among the two “A”s. I will be completely shocked if KRod is not demoted or released because it will be tacit to waving the white flag on 2017. It would also be yet another indicator that Chris Ilitch no longer cares about winning because he wants to sell the team.

The former GMs to whom I was listening, were also in agreement that the Tigers have nothing in their farm systems to offer other teams for another reliever. And we have seen the proof with the continued presence of Anibal Sanchez in the pen because there are no other viable alternatives.

The only way the Tigers acquire a new pitcher from another team will be if they give up Iggy, Ian or JD in exchange. But in this case, you would be robbing Peter to pay Paul and not necessarily getting ahead because of the new hole created up the middle or in the outfield.

So it’s likely the Tigers will have to dig into what remains of their system and bring up someone new to fill, hopefully, an empty space. And from my reading, it will not be Bruce Rondon who remains the invisible man and has yet to be mentioned in any of the reports as a viable option.

Whomever they bring up will depend upon how the BP is restructured. Will the Tigers “promote” Justin Wilson to closer – and will he be able to make the mental adjustment required? Or will they keep him as the “8th-inning guy” and bring in someone who throws harder? Or will it be “closer by committee” – at least until something clicks?

Or will everyone simply get bumped up one inning with a new, inexperienced guy filling in for the 6th and 7th innings?

I simply do not know – and I bet you that Ausmus and Avila really don’t, either.

14 thoughts on “TWO FOR TUESDAY

  1. Why would they not keep krod in the bullpen ala Sanchez and see if he gets back what he had last year in one of the best save percentages in baseball . It’s only thirty games and he could discover a tweak of sorts maybe . He is only months removed from a successful season


  2. Not much. If a winning team isn’t seen as a more attractive commodity to hang a “for sale” sign on, they can’t be serious about fixing anything. We’ll get a shuffle of the pitchers in the pen, a few appeasement quotes to quiet the press, & assurance noise aimed at the fans saying they’re on top of it. It’s all about appearance at this point.


  3. The Tigers need to use a little imagination here. Andrew Romine should be moved to the bullpen and used as the primary closer until further notice!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. understanding the goals. You blogged it yesterday Kurt — what is their goal ? Only to compete not contend. Pretty obvious now that filling seats and selling “stuff” is top priority.


    • …And the Tigers proved already this season (against Cleveland in Cleveland) that a sizable 9th inning lead isn`t safe!


  5. My guess is they will go with Holly’s last option: everyone getting bumped up one inning with a new guy for the 6th and 7th. Having seen Chris I. interviewed a couple of times now, I’m not sure he wants to sell the Tigers.


  6. What happened to outside the box thinking? Starter goes till they struggle. Then bring in Sanchez, K Rod, Hardy, Greene, A Wilson, J Wilson or anyone else and leave them in until they struggle. Repeat.


  7. Mariano Rivera was an 8th inning guy when the Yankees still had Wetteland. The transition to the 9th went okay for him.This aura of mystery and magic that surrounds the 9th inning leads the Tigers to repeatedly make awful decisions–Nathan, KRod, etc.


  8. Holly, there’s generally two ways owners go to sell a team. Build it up great like the 80’s mets then sell high after a world series . Or as the Astro’s did after the killer bees era were they cut expenses(salaries) and broke the team down to a 110 game looser. Please explain in greater detail for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. We don’t have anyone who can be a “dedicated closer” so let’s not have a “dedicated closer”. Put pitchers out there until they are tired or start to struggle. Whether that means complete games from the starters or multiple innings from someone in the bullpen.


    • Thank you Pat. This has been my argument since the Leyland days, It’s nice to have someone agree with me! 🙂


  10. Some have been stating what I have been thinking. Eliminate the one inning stints for our closers. Like yesterdays article said, think outside the box. Let a guy who is pitching well to come back out for the next inning. John Hiller pitched 150 innings in 1974, averaging 2.66 innings per game.


  11. I have always been a believer in you stay with the hot hand(s) and use them in game deciding situations. No assigned closer. Look at how Francona uses Miller. You also use guys who are struggling in non-game deciding situations to help them work out their issues (this includes K-Rod at this point).


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