What Does Bruce Rondon Have to Do for the Tigers to Cut Him?

For four years, the Tigers have been nursing Bruce Rondon in hopes that he would become a bullpen asset. He is now 26 and has a cumulative WAR of .4, which is misleading as it fails to indicate that it has been a negative number for two of his four years in the majors.


The Tigers like him because he throws hard. They thought he was a find, but you know what they call a 100 mph fastball outside? A ball. You know what they call an 80 mph fastball outside? Still a ball. It doesn’t matter how hard you throw, if you can’t find the plate.

Thus far, in the start of the season, Rondon’s best outing was an inning pitched where he struck out one and gave up one hit. Fantastically, he gave up no runs. In his second outing, he shit the bed for three earned runs with a walk, recording one out. Today — his third appearance — he turded three runs again — this time with two walks (granted, one intentional) and not a single out. The Tigers have lost two games so far; Rondon was a major contributor to one and almost led to another (avoided, luckily, thanks to a poor showing by the Sox’ pen).

So, the question is: what exactly does Rondon have to do — besides, you know, sucking entirely — before the Tigers give up on him?

(Maybe more importantly: how do Tigers’ fans not develop PTSD from the flashbacks to Jose Valverde?)

The Tigers’ weakness has consistently been the FO’s inability to obtain good bullpen pieces and cut guys who undermine our ability to win. This has been the problem for at least six years now. They stay with guys way too long — well after they’ve demonstrated that they cannot contribute to the team. Under DD, we blamed this on the way he gutted the farm in trades — and, subsequently, we learned that his anti-stat, anti-scouting impression-based approach to roster adds was part of the problem. But, when AA ascended from the number two slot and bolstered the scouting and analytics departments, his pick ups for the BP were Mark Lowe and…well, that appears to be it. So, aside from making us better by subtraction by dumping Ian Krol, he has succeeded only in making us better by subtraction by finally dumping Mark Lowe (and not even getting a return for him but still paying him $5.5M).

I am constantly frustrated by the ignorance of the FO on this. I know building a solid BP is hard, but you got money and the means to get smart folks who know how to do it. If I as an amateur know that Pelfrey, Lowe, Valverde, Krol, Rondon, and Benoit are lousy, how do these professionals not know this? I can look at their numbers and see they stink. Hell, I can watch them bomb multiple games and see they stink. You don’t have to do subtle analysis to get that. I expect their people to be able to do analysis that I can’t, but they don’t seem to be able to find their backend with both hands — which leads me to believe we need a whole change in thinking in the FO. This has been our problem all along, and whatever you think of Beautiful Brad’s bullpen management, there isn’t much he can do when all he has are the guys he has.  The ongoing issue seems to indicate that the Tigers could use some real diversity in their FO, because the group they currently have has whiffed for the past six seasons (even with the management shift).

Currently, Rondon has an ERA of 20.25. The Tigers’ solution? They are letting Anthony Gose try his hand at pitching, since he sucks in the outfield. I’m not even kidding with that.

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10 thoughts on “What Does Bruce Rondon Have to Do for the Tigers to Cut Him?

  1. They sure need to do Something. I don’t know what, but their bullpen is really, really not good, and has been not good for a long time. Maybe they should create a new position.. VP In Charge Of Relief Pitcher Acquisition… or something.

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  2. The problem isn’t just limited to Rondon, there’s no one in that blowpen that makes me feel comfortable when they enter a game. I guess he’s just the most frustrating because with the way he can throw the expectations are higher. You see that arm and have visions of ’06 Zumaya dancing in your head. I expect the Tigers to either shift him to less stressful 6th or 7th inning appearances or ship him to Toledo and bring back Blaine Hardy, not that he’s an answer. The real question is when will they pull the trigger on finally giving Joe Jimenez a chance.

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    • I think Alex Wilson is good. Justin Wilson and Kyle Ryan are serviceable. If we had a couple more really good guys, we’d be ok. The problem is that the FO can’t recognize what a really good bp arm is. Apparently, though, they are trying Jimenez, because they tweeted this am that Rondon is off to Toledo and JJ is on his way! Let’s just hope he’s good and that’s not all the improvement they do this season. We’re going to need an upgrade on Frankie too.

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  3. I’m glad that the games on Tuesday and Wednesday are afternoon games so that those damn dirty Gods can’t put me to sleep before I can enjoy your lovable bullpen.

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        • To a land far away…

          I really am surprised they haven’t tried to move Sanchez to someone who needs a starter in return for a Hail Mary or two. They are like a clingy boyfriend though. They know these pieces aren’t good for them, but they can’t let them go.

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    • And, I hope they are just toying with Gose letting him try pitching. I know he used to pitch, but that was years ago and it’s not a wise solution to count on that. Raise the bar, boys.

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