Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Five Potential Backup Closing Candidates

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Mar 2, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fourth inning of a MLB spring training baseball gameagainst the Pittsburgh Pirates at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Bruce Rondon (43) throws a pitch during the fourth inning of a MLB spring training baseball gameagainst the Pittsburgh Pirates at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Mar 4, 2017; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez (57) throws a pitch during the fifth inning of an MLB spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers relievers enjoyed a solid year in 2016. Much of that success had to do with closer Francisco Rodriguez. If Rodriguez isn’t available at any point for Detroit, here are the top backup closers.

Detroit Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez enjoyed a strong season in his first campaign in the Motor City.

Tigers general manager Al Avila brought in the veteran via in an offseason trade with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Avila only gave up infield prospect Javier Betancourt and reserve catcher Manny Pina for Rodriguez, who notched 44 saves for the Tigers in 2016.

A middle infielder by trade, Betancourt was blocked by Ian Kinsler, Jose Iglesias, Andrew Romine and Dixon Machado in Detroit.

During his first season in the Milwaukee system, the 21-year-old hit .224 with a .606 OPS in 110 contests at Double-A.

Pina saw action in 33 games with the Brewers last season after seeing time at the Triple-A level. Like Betancourt, he was blocked in Detroit.

In return for the two players, Avila and the Tigers picked up a player who solidified the team’s bullpen.

With Rodriguez pitching in the ninth, other relievers on the roster were able to settle into more consistent roles.

In unsurprising fashion, the man also referred to as “K-Rod” dominated the saves category for Detroit. The former Angels stalwart racked up 44 saves. The next closest pitchers included Shane Greene and Justin Wilson.

Greene had two saves, while Wilson had just one.

If the Detroit Tigers are in need of a closer on a day in which Francisco Rodriguez is rested after pitching in too many consecutive games—or if an injury occurs—here are some of the top candidates.

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