The Detroit Tigers enter a weekend series with the Minnesota Twins with a number of key questions that threaten to derail the 2013 World Series run.
With the recent implosion of Jose Valverde , the Detroit Tigers brain trust faces another bullpen dilemma. It is a problem the Tigers should have addressed in the offseason but instead they went forward with a rookie solution to a veteran problem. With no plan B in place, the problem just became a lot more expensive to fix.
Solving the problem by finding an external solution would require a trade. A very expensive trade. A trade that may include Rick Porcello, Nick Castellanos or both! It is a price they will have to pay if the Tigers are serious about a world series run.
Another question on the team involves center fielder Austin Jackson’s hamstring. This the second year he has missed time because of a hamstring. So the question is, Can Austin Jackson stay healthy enough to be a long-term productive player in Centerfield? He is certainly productive when he is in the line-up but can he stay in it.
Justin Verlander looks to be on the right track again, but questions remain about JV’s arm strength. Is he tired from the last two seasons of outings that often went 8 innings and well-over 120 pitches. They voiced any concerns but the Tigers are treating Verlander like a tired hurler, keeping him on a pretty strict pitch count, something Leyland used to ignore with Justin on the mound.
Finally one has to ask questions about Victor Martinez. Granted he is starting to hit lately, but is he starting to near the end of his career? Is he still knocking off the rust from a year long injury? Should the Tigers rest V-Mart more often or move him down in the order? If he is still slumping past the All-Star break the Detroit Tigers may have to look for another option to protect Prince Fielder. We don’t want this to morph into another Delmon Young situation.