There is no easy solution when it comes to the Detroit Tigers bullpen woes.
The Detroit Tigers have been suffering from a struggling bullpen for the better part of the last decade, and after Francisco Rodriguez blew his third and fourth saves of the season over the weekend, where the team turns now is anybody’s guess.
It’s not like anyone could predict that Rodriguez’s fall from grace would be so dramatic, but it was far from surprising.
Rodriguez throws an 89 mile-per-hour fastball on his best night. His secondary pitch is an 85 mile-per-hour change up. That was never going to be good enough. It was something the Tigers could put off until it came back to bite them, as Rodriguez escaped jam after jam in the early part of the season. But now, it’s time to make a change.
It’s time, it’s time…it’s Justin Wilson’s time?
Wilson may not strike the fear into opponents that Rodriguez did in his prime, but he is a solid option should Ausmus deem it necessary to have the closer’s role assigned.
Closer by committee
You take these three guys and use them as game situations dictate. If you need your best guy to get out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh inning, don’t hesitate to use Justin Wilson. That bases loaded jam in the seventh is far more important to get through than those three outs in the ninth inning.
Alex Wilson is a guy who has shown he can pitch anywhere, so that’s not a problem. He can be solid as a guy that pitches two innings, a guy that can set things up in the eighth, or a guy that can close things down should Justin Wilson have to be used earlier on in a high-leverage situation.
The addition of Greene to this committee is something I’d be flexible on. If you’d rather call up Bruce Rondon or Joe Jimenez to be the third amigo in this trio, that’s all well and good. You just have to hope one of these two actually live up to their arm talent.
Trade J.D. Martinez
I’ve heard whispers about this, and all I have to say is…stop it. It’s the first week of May. The Tigers would have zero leverage in any trade talks right now, and trading a guy like J.D. Martinez simply to get a bullpen arm just isn’t worth it.
Martinez can return to this lineup and instantly make it one of the best in baseball. The Tigers could mash their way to plenty of wins between now and July’s trade deadline.
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If this team is in the race come the deadline, they can scour the market for a bullpen arm, but Martinez is not the kind of guy you trade away for something so small. The only way this guy hits the market is if the Tigers look dead in the water come July. Then, and only then, would they consider trading what might be the team’s best hitter. And trust me, they would get a lot more in return than a singular bullpen arm. It would be a much bigger haul that helps this organization build for the future.
What to do with K-Rod
Rodriguez can still carry some kind of role for the Tigers’ bullpen if he has the right mindset. But for a guy that’s been closing games for 15 years, it may be harder for him to accept a reduced role than it is to just walk away.