After all the early-season bullpen theatrics that eventually led to Jose Valverde returning to his former fireman role, the Detroit Tigers are still on the market -- and are "looking hard" -- for a closer, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.
More Tigers: Who's Your Closer?
Throughout the winter and early spring, the big question out in Detroit was who the Tigers would tab as their closer for the 2013 season. Many thought that young flamethrower Bruce Rondon would take over on Opening Day, while others thought that GM Dave Dombrowski would go out and find a Proven Closer™ on the open market.
As the regular started, however, Dombrowski went with Option C, deciding to begin the season using the closer-by-committee approach. When that proved somewhat disastrous through the first week of April, Dombrowski bit the bullet and re-signed Valverde to a one-year deal. All was right in Motown for a while after that, until it wasn't.
Papa Grande was strong through his first 12 appearances this season -- notching six saves in seven opportunities -- but has fallen on hard times of late. The veteran right-hander has allowed five home runs -- amounting to seven runs total -- in his last 5⅓ innings, earning two blown saves in the process.
While two blown saves isn't typically cause for serious concern, the five long balls Valverde has surrendered in the last two weeks are two more than he gave up all of last season over 69 innings of work. That may explain why the Tigers are still looking so hard for another stopper.