The Detroit Tigers sent reliever Bruce Rondon home for the season on Tuesday, citing his "effort level" as just cause for the unorthodox punishment. The team didn't say much more than that, so we were forced to read between the lines to figure out exactly what happened. With words like "embarrassment" and "unforgivable" being thrown around, many wondered what Rondon's offense was.
On Wednesday, the players opened up. Several players sounded off on Rondon's dismissal, shedding more light into what went down behind closed doors.
Alex Avila (on Tuesday): "To be a big component of the team, you've got to be here on the team. There's nothing else really for me to say."
Nick Castellanos: "If coaching staff and the front office decided that’s what was appropriate, then I’m on board. I trust Al and Jeff Jones and Brad with their decision. Hopefully, it makes him realize this game is not to be taken for granted."
Castellanos: "You know, I knew that there were a lot of guys in the clubhouse that were unhappy with his antics, and kind of some things that were going on. That just doesn’t look very good. Yeah, there was some stuff said to him a couple of times that hopefully, veterans thought he was going to listen, and whatever, but apparently nothing changed. There’s been times I wanted to say something, but it’s not my place yet."
Alex Wilson: "Unfortunately, yeah, I could see it coming. It's kind of an unwritten rule, you never quit on your teammates and when you quit on yourself, you kind of quit on your teammates. From a clubhouse standpoint, it's probably better to let him go on home and try to figure things out a little bit. Hopefully he comes back next year with a new mindset and attitude. He's a guy with a big arm and he can help us. But it's going to have to be figured out between the ears before he can get on the field."
Wilson: "I think he's just got a little growing up to do still. It's just one of those things. It's going to be up to him. No one else's decision but his. If he can come back and help us, we're obviously going to welcome him back with open arms. You never want to see a guy hurt himself, especially off the field and between the ears. I've seen it done before, seen it happen before. He's just got to be smart."
Justin Verlander: "Yeah, it's disappointing. That was our management, and Brad's decision. It is what it is."
Verlander: "I don't think you can say 'Okay, I'm going to set an example of effort level.' It just comes. You lead by example. I've always been someone that when I go out there, everything I've got on that given day is what I give you. Win lose or draw -- there are no draws, but we can get no-decisions as pitchers -- you know you're getting 100 percent from me."
Based on what the Tigers have described, it seems that there was no specific moment that got Rondon sent home. There may have been a breaking point -- Rondon's decreased fastball velocity has been a hot topic recently -- but Rondon's dismissal appears to be a last-gasp attempt at getting through to him in hopes that he can turn things around for 2016.