George Sipple and Jeff Seidel after the Detroit Tigers’ 6-four loss to the Minnesota Twins on Aug. thirteen, 2017, at Comerica Park, and why the Tigers ought to begin their youthful gamers extra the remainder of the season.
ARLINGTON, Texas – Bruce Rondon is again within the minor leagues, shuttled for a second time this season to Triple-A Toledo on Sunday afternoon, which begs a pair questions: What’s subsequent? And why did it take the Tigers this lengthy?
Rondon has not been efficient this season; dangerous, actually. From begin to end, He has been unable to carry out properly in essential conditions. He exhibits flashes of potential, however the identical immaturity points from the previous proceed to plague him.
In 21 appearances, the large proper-hander has posted a ten.ninety one ERA and 1.ninety seven WHIP. Twice, supervisor Brad Ausmus has handed him the reins of a set-up state of affairs. Each occasions, Rondon has proved incapable.
With the Tigers going nowhere quick – they’re eleven video games behind the primary-place Indians within the American League Central and carry a half-% probability of a postseason berth, in response to FanGraphs – it’s possible Rondon’s possibilities have run out with the group that when was so optimistic on his future.
By optioning him to Toledo this late within the season, with the workforce’s destiny all however determined, the Tigers are successfully saying they might moderately consider different righty relievers – like Drew VerHagen and Jeff Ferrell – than Rondon. After strolling two batters in the eighth inning of Sunday’s loss to the Twins – throwing one strike – Ausmus said the team wanted Rondon to find consistency in his performance.
But at age 26, it’s hard to see what another stint with the Mud Hens will do.
Rondon is entering his second season of arbitration eligibility this winter. Given the circumstances that have played out this season, there’s a strong chance they don’t tender him a contract, which would be a raise on the $850,000 he’s owed this season. Next season, he will be out of minor-league options, which means he would have to be on the active roster to prevent him from being exposed to waivers.
[The season is over for the Detroit Tigers. It’s time to start testing young talent]
The Tigers have tried to send messages to Rondon over the years and were more hopeful than ever that he had turned the corner after posting a reliable 2.97 ERA in 2015 and 0.96 ERA last season. But this spring training, he showed up to Lakeland, Fla., looking the same, still too heavy and pitching without enough urgency with a set-up role there for the taking. Still, he was rewarded with the role and just a week into the season was the first domino to fall in a bad bullpen.
On some nights, like a couple weeks ago in Yankee Stadium, Rondon will show you why the Tigers have given him so many chances. He throws 100 m.p.h., but that fastball, while speedy, is also straight and Major League hitters don’t miss straight fastballs. Evaluators believe his weight – 275 pounds – is a major hurdle in repeating his delivery consistently. And there has been no evidence that his maturity issues are a thing of the past.
In his most embarrassing moment as a Tiger, he intentionally hit Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in a blowout loss on July 27. Once again, his competitive nature was questioned. Publicly, none of his teammates took his side. Privately, some shook their heads at the antics. Still, the Tigers did not move on, instead giving Rondon another high-leverage opportunity, which he blew in fantastic fashion two days later, taking the loss against the Astros after allowing a three-run home run to Josh Reddick in the eighth inning.
That he lived to pitch another game after those two outings seemed to represent a final chance to right a ship that has been destined to sink for quite some time. And now, in a lost season with pitchers still sticking around who don’t have his potential, it looks like Rondon’s chances with the Tigers have finally run out.
Contact Anthony Fenech: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @anthonyfenech.