Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Projecting Long-Term Replacements for Veterans Part 2

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Jun 30, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57), second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) and third baseman Andrew Romine (17) congratulate each other as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 30, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57), second baseman Ian Kinsler (3) and third baseman Andrew Romine (17) congratulate each other as they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sep 4, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

Francisco Rodriguez
Age: 35
Position: Closer
Contract Expires Following the 2017 Season

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila made a number of shrewd trades early in his tenure in charge.

While bringing in Cameron Maybin and Justin Wilson proved to be excellent acquisitions, Avila’s best work came in a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Tigers flipped infield prospect Javier Betancourt and a player to be named later, which later turned out to be catcher Manny Pina, to the Brew Crew for closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Betancourt showed promise, but was blocked by Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and Dixon Machado in Detroit. Meanwhile, Pina joined the organization in 2014, and mainly served as a depth piece in Triple-A.

Rodriguez meanwhile, solidified the back end of Detroit’s bullpen.

The veteran notched 44 saves while finishing 55 games. What’s more, he allowed just six home runs and 21 walks while striking out 52 in 58.1 frames.

Potential Long-Term Replacement: Joe Jimenez

This may be the easiest fit in terms of an ideal successor.

Jimenez has done nothing but dominate in his time as a minor league pitcher. The right-hander owns a sparkling 1.59 ERA and 13 strikeouts per nine innings.

All told, the prospect struck 204 of the 543 batters he’s faced.

While the strikeouts obviously catch the eye, Jimenez also limits mistakes. He allowed 4.4 hits, 0.2 home runs and 2.9 walks per nine innings.

In fact, the reliever has allowed just four home runs and 40 walks total in his lifetime as a professional pitcher.

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