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Tiger Bullpen

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Remember what I was saying about the back end of the Tiger bullpen? Well, from a perspective of defined roles in the bullpen, let’s call that the “mainstream” perspective, things have gotten even more unsettled and thus unsettling for Tigers fans.

That the whole “defined closer” thing represents reification on a grand scale–the baseball world’s worship of a concept of bullpen usage* that is merely a convention, not a natural law–is beyond question, but it is not the point at hand.

No, the point at hand is that the Tigers bullpen depth, already questionable, degrades still further with this move. Regardless of who gets “save opportunities,” the person who gets them also becomes unavailable to use in earlier, higher-leverage situations, those whose resolution has a relative higher affect on the outcome of the game.

This means Rick Porcello better be for real, and he better be able to worth six solid innings before Leyland turns to his bullpen. One wonders whether Leyland retains the flexibility to use a bullpen without defined roles well. He talks like it, but we’ll see. If he fails to retain that flexibility, well, the results may be scary.

To conclude, nothing has changed about the status of the back end of the Tigers bullpen: it is still shaky.

*An alternative to the defined role convention of usage appears here, though I am neutral with regard to its efficacy.

**UPDATE: The Detroit News is all over this, the headline declaring the closer job “up for grabs.”

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Written by jjvedamuthu

March 28, 2013 at 23:18

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