Detroit Tigers fans will see a slightly different roster when the team begins a three-game series in San Diego on Friday night. The Tigers announced four roster moves in a pair of tweets on Friday.
The reliever, who excelled down the stretch in 2016, is back with the Tigers, starting with Friday’s game against the Padres.
"“The #Tigers have released RHP Francisco Rodriguez and placed OF Alex Presley on the 7-day concussion DL.”"
"“Additionally, the #Tigers have recalled RHP Bruce Rondon from Toledo (AAA) and selected the contract of OF Matt den Dekker (#21) from Toledo.”"
Francisco Rodriguez’ release will rightfully draw the headlines here.
The veteran closer is the Major League’s active saves leader with 437 saves. While he enjoyed a fine debut season in Detroit in 2016 with a 3.83 FIP, eight strikeouts per nine frames and 44 saves in 58.1 innings, he struggled mightily in 2017.
In 25.1 frames, the 35-year-old pitched to a 7.82 ERA, a 7.36 FIP and a 1.658 WHIP.
He walked 3.9 batters per nine innings and had trouble keeping the ball in the yard, with 3.2 home runs per nine frames surrendered.
Rodriguez gave up a grand slam on Thursday in Seattle to Robinson Cano, capping off a particularly brutal stretch for the former Angels pitcher.
In his last 15.2 innings, Rodriguez was tagged for 17 hits, 16 earned runs, nine walks and six home runs. He did strike out 12 over the same stretch, but the damage allowed was simply too much.
Bruce Rondon’s potential impact
Rodriguez’ spot in the bullpen will go to Bruce Rondon, who pitched in three games for Detroit early in the season before heading to Triple-A Toledo.
If Rondon can find the form he showcased last season, he has a chance to make a significant impact as one of Justin Wilson’s top setup men.
In 36.1 innings pitched last season, the flamethrower struck out 11.15 batters per nine innings while pitching to a 2.95 SIERA and a 0.4 WAR.
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With Alex Presley heading to the disabled list, Detroit will turn to Matt den Dekker to take his place in the outfield.
A former fifth-round pick of the New York Mets in 2010, den Dekker played two seasons in the big apple before spending a pair of years with the division rival Washington Nationals.
His best stretch came in 2015 when he mashed six doubles and five home runs to go along with 12 RBI, 12 runs scored and a triple in only 110 plate appearances.
That season also saw the veteran notch a 117 wRC+, a .800 OPS and a 0.4 WAR.
The outfielder has played in 23 games with the Mud Hens this season, collecting 12 runs scored, seven RBI, three home runs, three stolen bases, a 142 wRC+, a .387 wOBA and a .876 OPS in just 94 trips to the plate.
In 292.1 career innings at the position, the ex-National owns a 1.2 UZR, a 6.0 UZR/150 and a 2.2 ARM.