The Tigers aren’t taking the bait yet on Rafael Soriano

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Despite Scott Boras’ best efforts, the Tigers still aren’t taking the bait on free agent closer Rafael Soriano. According to Chris Iott of MLive.com, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said this week that he’s pretty satisfied with the guys in his bullpen and isn’t going to add anyone unless it’s the right fit.

“It would have to be the right guy, the right situation, all those types of things,” Dombrowski said. “We’re not just out to sign somebody to fill a hole. We’ve got enough arms.”

As of now, the Tigers will likely carry seven relief pitchers on their Opening Day roster, including five right-handers and two left-handers. Phil Coke is a lock from the left side while the Tigers plan to have a competition for the other spot. Meanwhile, Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel are locks from the right side while Dombrowski believes Al Alburquerque and Bryan Villarreal deserve to be on the roster. This leaves one final spot, and by all accounts, prospect right-hander Bruce Rondon will get a chance at the closer role.

I don’t doubt that Rondon could eventually close for the Tigers, as he throws hard and put up some impressive strikeout totals this past season, but it would be a pretty big gamble for a team with designs on the World Series to trust someone who has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues. This could drag on for a while, but with no other obvious fit for Soriano, I suspect they’ll eventually be a match.

Hometown hero Bryce Harper defeats Freddie Freeman to advance in Home Run Derby

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Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper advanced to the second round of the 2018 Home Run Derby, swatting 13 home runs to best the 12 hit by Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Harper was a No. 2 seed to Freeman’s No. 7, so the outcome isn’t a surprise. The hometown crowd in Washington, D.C. were certainly pleased that their star has advanced.

Harper would have had 30 seconds of bonus time since he hit two home runs that went 440 feet or total, but he got to 13 with time to spare in regulation. Harper maxed out at 467 feet in distance and 113 MPH in exit velocity. When interviewed on the field after his performance, Harper said, out of breath, “I’m tired!”

The second round is set. Rhys Hoskins (17 homers) will oppose Kyle Schwarber (16). Harper (13) will take on Max Muncy (17).