In a move that came as absolutely no surprise to anyone, the Detroit Tigers have released former closer Francisco Rodriguez.
For most of his career, Francisco Rodriguez had been one of the top closers in the game. The holder of the single season save record, Rodriguez has accumulated 447 saves over his career, the fourth most in MLB history. Even last year, at 34 years old and with 15 major league seasons, he still notched 44 saves last year.
This year, however, had been a disaster for Rodriguez. He lost his role as the Detroit Tigers closer, as he struggled to a 7.82 ERA and a 1.658 WHiP. In his 25.1 innings, Rodriguez allowed 31 hits, nine of which left the yard. Those struggles left Rodriguez as the mopup pitcher in Detroit, a role that he was vocal in his displeasure with.
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The Tigers finally decided that they had enough. Yesterday, Detroit released their former closer, cutting him loose to bring former top prospect Bruce Rondon to the active roster. Rondon had a solid 2016 campaign, posting a 2.97 ERA and a 0.963 WHiP, but struggled in limited major league action this year. In his 1.1 innings, he allowed seven baserunners, six of which scored.
Rondon has not exactly been stellar in AAA either. In his 26.2 innings for Toledo, Rondon has a solid 3.04 ERA and has struck out 33 batters. However, he has also walked 18 batters and has a 1.800 WHiP. Those numbers do not exactly lend confidence to the idea that Rondon will be an upgrade over Rodriguez.
Meanwhile, although Rodriguez has had an awful 2017, he may well get another chance. He was decent last year, notching 44 saves while posting a 3.24 ERA and a 1.131 WHiP. Although he was not an All Star, Rodriguez still performed relatively well. Given the status of quite a few bullpens, even on contending teams, he would be an upgrade.