Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tigers need to improve their bullpen, but how?

This is going to be a tough call for Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski. He likes to build his bullpen through the minor league system, but in truth the best part of the Tigers' bullpen has been procured via free agency, Jose Valverde and Joaquin Benoit. Next line is Phil Coke, acquired in a trade, and Alberto Alburquerque, who had little minor league success in other organizations, but was a terrific scouting find by the Tigers in the Dominican Winter League.
The young arms haven't come through for the Tigers, and they used their best relief pitching prospect, Chance Ruffin, as part of the trade to acquire Doug Fister. How much faith should the Tigers have in Daniel Schlereth and Ryan Perry? An argument can be made they are young and still developing, but it can just as easily be made they aren't good enough to get the Tigers over the top in the postseason. Certainly, they weren't this year.
I think they must go after a veteran for the bullpen.
As usual, there is a long list of potential free agent pitchers. At the top end, are Heath Bell and Francisco Cordero. The middle relief part - the one the Tigers should interested in - isn't nearly as easy to sort out, but the Tigers need a veteran or two to augment their middle and long relief. To do, for example, what Darren Oliver has done for the Rangers the last two seasons.


Anonymous @bobbleheadguru said...

Like the middle relief idea. However, that can be corrected in the middle of the season. My shopping list would be as follows.

1. Carl Crawford
DD should leverage the mess in Boston. The owner just stated that the Crawford contract was a mistake. Crawford already has a fragile psyche... wonder what he thinks now?

The Red Sox would likely love to give the contract away if they could.

He is a much better fit for Comerica. There is less media pressure, more room to showcase his skills on defense with a park suited to his small ball style.

Delmon for Crawford (and a 1/3rd of his salary for the next 6 years) would be the logical trade. Delmon would be a much better fit for the Red Sox with their left field. Also think that Ellsbury already does was they wanted Crawford for. They need a big hitter like Fielder to replace Big Papi. Getting Delmon allows them to afford Fielder.

2. A left handed starter. A wily crafty veteran with playoff experience (like Kenny Rogers was to them in 2006) they can get a reasonable price.

3. Youkilis. If #1 does not work... try to get Youk for cheap. He is fallen out of favor in Boston... they are ready to ship him out due to attitude and injuries.

4. Middle relief. No rush at all. Maybe Below turns into the guy they need? A minor trade in May/June would work as well.

1:56 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, that is true they need a 7th inning guy. Texas's bullpen was key for them for defeating us. Should the Tigers should go after Dan Wheeler or if Takishi has any left in the tank or Nathan if he is not looking for a closer. There are closer available but not too many 7th innings guys. This also allow R Perry and AA to continue to develop. I would not be surprise if DD does a trade.

2:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am going to pick on you a little bit. You right this exact same story every offseason, "the Tigers need bullpen help". Every year without fail you do this, come on, give it a break, the bullpen did not lose the series with Texas. Texas could flat out thump! Max Scherzer got blew out in the 3rd inning in game 6 before the bullpen, remember? The Tigers need a 2nd baseman and a 3rd baseman but I guarantee you, Inge will be there and fans will spend the summer howling over that. Leyland loves dirty uniform guys like Inge, Dirks, Raburn and Kelly, who occasionally get big hits (emphasis on occasionally!) The problem is when you play a team full of thumpers like the Rangers dirty uniform guys usually lose. Lastly a consistent, sometimes dominant Rick Porcello to go along with JV, MS and DF is what will get Tigers to WS in 2012. Porcello is the key in 2012, if he is good it won't matter who the 5th starter is and bullpen will get plenty of rest.



7:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the way you think out of the box!! Very good ideas.


7:47 PM 
Anonymous Kevaxe2k2 said...

Hate to even bring him up---but what bout Zumaya as an option, Pat?

9:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bullpen without a doubt was the Tigers Achilies heel. Benoit and Valverde were great, but we need much more bullpen depth in order to compete based on the type of ballclub we have. It's apparent that the Tigers lineup is not equipped to manufacture runs. They play for the big inning and/or the big hit and this puts tremendous pressure on the starting pitchers to try and carry the game to the 8th inning. Perhaps Schlereth and Perry will develop down the road into crafty relief pitchers, but I think it's clear as day that they are FAR from reaching that level. You look at Texas's bullpen and not only do they have guys who bring heat, but they also throw from different angles and the ball moves when they throw. Schlereth and Perry throw straight as an arrow and they can't consistently throw strikes. What they did in the playoffs represented what they did all year long. Those guys were never used in close games against good teams. Also, Albequerqe had a good regular season but he proved that he's not a big game type of pitcher. The Tigers must improve this aspect of their game or they are going to wind up with the same result next year.

lil rob

11:54 AM 
Anonymous Kevin said...

First of all, what the hell? Delmon Young for Carl Crawford. Are you crazy? Why in the world would Boston trade one of the best LFers in the game for a bum like Young. Look, Delmon had a good post-season, but he's going to regress to what he's always been, a free-swinging hitter who doesn't bring much defensively.

There is absolutely no way the Red Sox will part with Youkilis. They have always been a team that has emphasized OBP, and Youkilis, the king of OBP, fits that mold perfectly.

If the Tigers do sign a reliever, I hope it's not a type-A free agent like Benoit was last year. Relievers are unstable commodities, varying from year to year. It's much easier to promote from within and hope for the best (like Alberque, who knew who he was before this year?) than give up a draft pick and money to a reliever who's shelf-like will be limited.

2:39 AM 

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