Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
From purely a performance standpoint, calling up Bruce Rondon is simply a no-brainer; he's been unhittable at every stop this season and mixing a triple-digit fastball with a rapidly improving breaking pitch has put him on the fast track. Rondon's work load this season has been manageable to the point that a handful of September appearances shouldn't hinder his long term health. There are still make-up concerns that could arguably make a strong case to keep him from earning a promotion, but there's also the argument that facing a greater challenge might help his off-the-field growth. Ultimately though, it comes down to need. Do the Tigers need bullpen help? If Joaquin Benoit and Phil Coke continue to struggle, it's hard to argue that a reliable reliever in the middle innings isn't necessary, and Rondon could provide that. Adding Al Alburquerque along with Benoit and Coke figuring things out might make that moot, but if the bullpen still looks in three weeks like it does today, I think the Tigers have to give Rondon a look.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I don't doubt that Rondon could help the Tigers down the stretch. Having watched him recently, his stuff is absolutely undeniable. He could get big league hitters out with some regularity, though I question whether he's ready to do it in high-leverage innings. If he is called up, I imagine it would be to work in the middle innings, possible with the high-pressure point being the seventh inning for him this fall. All that said, I'm not sure bringing him up now is in the best interest of the organization long term. They are still in the throws of teaching Rondon a reasonable work ethic, an appropriate level of respect for those above him in the food chain and generally the right way to approach the game. To promote him three levels and then ultimately promote him to the big leagues, all on the heels of merely modest progress in these areas, may not be a great move. In the end, it's all about winning baseball games at the Major League level, and if the Tigers feel they need relief help, Rondon is seemingly the next in line to help the big club.
Chris Vannini, Senior Staff Writer
Rondon has been almost unhittable at each stop this season. Still, I don't want to see him in Detroit this year. The Tigers tend to bring up prospects too early, and with a power arm like Rondon's, the team should take it really slow with him. Al Alburquerque's arm issues shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone. Although Joel Zumaya had some strange injuries, Tigers relievers with the power arms seem to develop issues. Rondon is just 21, and still needs to work on some other pitches. He's certainly got the potential to make an impact with the Tigers, but I don't want to see another great arm rushed and damaged, especially with the dwindling number of great prospects in the system.
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