“Brandon Lyon is the closer, as much as Magglio Ordonez is the right fielder. As much as Gerald Laird is the catcher. And so on. And he should be.”


Beware the Tigers and the talk of competition at the closer job.

There is none.

Sorry to break it to Fernando Rodney, but the only way he emerges as the Tigers’ closer out of spring training is if goons steal into the night at Lakeland, Fla. and abduct Brandon Lyon. And if that happens, check Rodney as your first suspect.

I was confident that the team’s braintrust of GM Dave Dombrowski (some folks on message boards are calling him “Dumbrowski”; that’s not very nice) and manager Jim Leyland wasn’t about to place their job security in the hands of Rodney, who’s about as trustworthy with the ninth inning as Congress is in handling your tax dollars wisely. Too much is at stake for both men.

So, as I thought, they didn’t stand pat. The signing of Lyon to a one-year deal thrusts the 29-year-old immediately into the closer’s role.

Oh, DD and Leyland said some nice things about Rodney — much in the same way as you toss bouquets out to someone who’s announced that they’re leaving the company. Leyland said that Rodney, when healthy, can be quite a pitcher. DD said that Lyon is looking forward to the “competition” (that word again) and that was a big reason why he signed with the Tigers, when some other teams were courting him.

Don’t be fooled by that nonsense.


The Tigers’ closer for 2009 — period.

Brandon Lyon is the closer, as much as Magglio Ordonez is the right fielder. As much as Gerald Laird is the catcher. And so on. And he should be.

Lyon has some history, and while it’s not as extensive as the other big name closers who were available early in free agency, it’s still more impressive than anything Rodney has done in stumbling through the ninth inning around here for the last couple of years.

Rodney cannot be trusted. There’s really no other way to put it. If Todd Jones, who at least got the job done more often than not, was known as the human roller coaster, then Fernando Rodney is the human train wreck. At least with a roller coaster, you end up getting off safely.

DD’s seat has warmed significantly after 2008’s debacle. And, early reports here say that he’s risen to the challenge. Catcher was taken care of, with the acquisition of Laird and the signing of backup Matt Treanor. A new shortstop — the kind with some actual range — was brought in (Adam Everett). A new starting pitcher was acquired (Edwin Jackson). And, after some hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing by the message board scrawlers and talk radio blabbermouths, the bullpen has been addressed. And don’t forget about the low-profile signing of veteran righty Scott Williamson, who has the potential of being that unsung winter acquisition who pays off big time in the summer.

Now all that’s left is to go to spring training and see how everything shakes out. No splashy arrivals of Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, and Dontrelle Willis. Just some smart, more vanilla-like additions to a team that had holes in the areas that were addressed.

DD isn’t Dumbrowski. He knows which side his bread is buttered on. And he knew darned well what items should have been on his off-season shopping list. February isn’t here yet, and those items have been pretty much crossed off.

That’s not the work of a dumb-dumb.

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