Bruce Rondon best bet to lead a shaky stable of Tiger relievers after Soria trade

July 30, 2015

Detroit Tigers – Joakim Soria has reportedly been dealt to the Pirates, leaving a shaky Tigers bullpen in flux. If the Tigers believe in advanced stats, they’ll give the job to Bruce Rondon, who has a nearly unfathomable 8.25 ERA and 1.75 WHIP, but has been horribly unlucky, allowing an absurd .455 BABIP. His upside is obvious: he throws smoke and has 18 Ks in 12 innings so far, which is partly why his FIP is 2.66, which is about on par with Zack Greinke. If they’re scared off by his traditional stats, though, Al Alburquerque or Alex Wilson could get a look. Wilson is Rondon’s polar opposite — a low-strikeout control wizard whose ERA (1.84) is lower than his FIP (2.92) suggests it should be — while Alburquerque is somewhere in between, averaging a strikeout an inning with middle-of-the-road ratios elsewhere. Check back to see if the Tigers announce that they’ve given the job to someone specific. So far, GM Dave Dombrowski has said that he thinks Rondon could do the job, but that it will be Brad Ausmus’s decision.

Updated hierarchy: *Rondon | Alburquerque | Wilson.
* = closer-by-committee

Pittsburgh Pirates – As good as Joakim Soria has been, he won’t displace Mark Melancon, who leads baseball with 32 saves and sports a sparkling 1.32 ERA. (And this, after battling through concerns about his velocity for the whole month of April.) Soria will join Tony Watson as set-up men in what has become one of the strongest bullpens in baseball.

Updated hierarchy: Melancon | Soria | Watson.