Two big pieces of the Tigers' pennant-winning campaign won't return in 2013, as neither Delmon Young nor José Valverde, both eligible for free agency, will be offered contracts.
Tuesday, the Detroit Tigers struck a blow for Rationalists everywhere when Dave Dombrowski announced to the world -- Rationalists, Intuitionists, and everyone in the middle -- that the organization will not make any effort to re-sign free agents Delmon Young and José Valverde.
This probably shouldn't be a huge surprise to anyone. After all, Delmon Young's best position is Designated Hitter, and next season Víctor Martínez returns to the fold after missing all of 2012 with an injury. And Jose Valverde ... well, even before his horrific performance in the postseason, Valverde's strikeout-to-walk ratio was easily the worst among the six Detroit relievers who finished the season with at least 40 innings. He did pitch reasonably well, but he also made $9 million, and his agent has probably promised him a raise and perhaps a new long-term contract.
So who's going to be the Tigers' close next season? TBD. Here's Dombrowski at today's press conference (via SB Nation's Amy K. Nelson):
You also have to be open-minded and flexible... In 2006 Verlander and Zumaya jumped up pretty good for us at that point. This guy is a talented guy. He's a rare talent, you would not believe the number of clubs that call me about Bruce Rondon … if I had a choice of any young closer in baseball to give an opportunity to -- with any organization -- it would be him. Now, will he be ready? I don't know. But he is that good.
We'll see about Rondon. He throws super-hard, has weighed nearly 300 pounds at one point, and sometimes has no idea where the baseball is going. He'll be fun to watch, for sure, which is a different thing than converting 85 percent of your save opportunities.
But they'll figure out something. Good organizations usually do. Also, good organizations don't simply "dance with what brung 'em", even after a World Series season. The Tigers might not win another division title next season. But they're definitely on the right track.