The Tigers’ clubhouse was closed this morning and that means cuts. One cut that is somewhat surprising: reliever Bruce Rondon, who the Tigers had given every opportunity to win the closer’s job this spring. But he’s headed to Toledo and the Tigers are going to go with a closer-by-committee setup.
Rondon is immensely talented, but he had an erratic spring. Rough going early, but then he righted the ship somewhat. Overall he struck out 18 batters in 11 and two-thirds innings this spring. But he walked nine and gave up 15 base hits. That’s a recipe for a lot of antacids for Jim Leyland in the ninth inning, and it seems he just didn’t want to deal with that yet.
Rondon will eventually be pitching in late innings in Detroit. For now, though, it’s going to be some mix of Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Al Albuquerque handling closing duties.
Chris Young joined the Phillies as their assistant pitching coach last offseason. This offseason he’s getting a promotion: the Phillies just named as their main (um, top? lead? alpha?) pitching coach for the 2019 season. He replaces Rick Kranitz.
Ken Rosenthal, who reported the promotion, says that the Phillies didn’t necessarily want to shake up their pitching coach situation, but that since several clubs wanted to hire Young away, it was either promote him to the top job or lose him. That’s bad news for Kranitz, but he remains under contract for 2019 and will, in the meantime, be allowed to interview elsewhere.
The Phillies pitching staff ranked 11th in runs allowed in the National League in 2018. They were tenth the year before that, but some early season uncertainty and mismanagement by Gabe Kapler and a late season collapse served to hide what was, for most of the season, a bit of a better staff than the year before. The Phillies obviously credit Young for that and want to keep him in the fold.