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Lyon gets paid, Rodney wants more and Tigers search for relief

John Stroba- Writer

Recent developments are leaving the Tigers in a bit of bind with regards to the closing duties next year. Brandon Lyon, the primary set up man last year, signed a 15 million/3 year deal with Houston a few days ago. A couple days later, according to a Boston Globe report, says that Fernando Rodney is looking for 30 million/3 year deal. Reading that does induce a coughing fit. $10 million per year? For Rodney? You have to be kidding. I am probably one of the best Rodney supporters out (more than a few people did desire Lyon back and for him to be the closer next year), but that amount of money for him is take over the world type of insane. No wonder, Dombrowski is looking into other closer possibilities on the market.

Free Agent options

There is not a lot on the FA market in the way of established closers. The few that are out that would be in the Tigers price range and have the ability to hold the closer's job for an entire year. A lot of these guys would be stop gaps at the very best, and when it is looking to be a stop gap type of person is that really worth spending the money on?

Matt Capps: Capps is a bit interesting for several reasons. The first is that he is 26 years old and the Tigers are looking to get a bit younger. He could be a guy that they could sign 2-3 years and allow their younger bullpen guys (Perry, Schlereth, Ni, Satterwhite, Simons etc.) get some time to develop and an intership as a setup men before taking over for Capps. Capps did get non tendered from Pittsburgh and looking at his numbers last year it is easy to see why. He become a lot more hittable and those hits went a lot farther as well 9 homers given up in 54.1 ip last year). However, his previous two years have been very good. Capps is saying, via his agent, that the most important thing to him is to be somewhere he is the closer. That should be a feather in Detroit's cap, since they are one of the few teams that does not have someone that is already the closer there. The downside is that there are number of teams chasing after him (agent says 16) and that might cause a bidding war that will jack Capps out of their price range. It is also unknown if the Tigers are willing to do more than one year on any closer.

Kevin Gregg: Gregg at one time was a journeyman non descript middle relief guy that that Angels released. Florida picked him up, and threw him into the closer's role because of injuries and he does a good job with it. A couple more years later and now Gregg does have a "proven vet closer" tag on his resume. That means he probably gets more than he is worth from somebody. Gregg does have an ability to strike people out, but he gives more acid stomaches than does Rodney.

Once the Tigers search begins expanding beyond these two it gets into setup guys that are older and have some nominal closing experience (though it is a mixed bag ) like David Weathers, Octavio Dotel etc. At that point the Tiger needs to be asked if it is worth spending several million dollars for a guy that might a patch job at best. It is not hard to see that the Tigers might choose to spend what dollars they have left to get another bat. Maybe even lefty masher to protect Cabrera and allow Guillen to move around the diamond a bit. In that case the Tigers are going to be looking at some in house options.

Put me in Coach!

Joel Zumaya: During the 2006 season, Zumaya along with Verlander really energizes Detroit. Since then though it is numerous struggles mostly relating to injuries that are derailing this fireballer's career. He still does strike out a lot of hitters (8.7/per 9 innings), but last year his control really struggled (6.4 walks/9ip). Add in 5 hrsin 31ip and it makes for a pepto inducing closer at best. That being said if Zumaya can find some control then he does have a decent shot at being a good big league closer. Of course, how many times has that been said of any hard throwing RP.

Ryan Perry: Perry is the first of a RP heavy draft, for the Tigers, to make it to the big leagues. Perry does want the ball come the 9th inning, which is half the battle. And he does have very good stuff, but like Zumaya he does not have very good control. However, he does keep the ball in the ballpark (allowing 7 dingers in 61.2 ip last year). If the Tigers to do not bring in a "proven" closer then Perry is going to have a legit shot at nabbing at least a share of the closer's job.


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