With just four days remaining until the Major League Baseball trade deadline, the Detroit Tigers trade rumors aren’t quieting down just yet. The question has been raised, could team president Dave Dombrowski still be planning to make another move?
It’s more of a possibility than you might think.
With the World Series in mind, Dombrowski is aware that they may still need help in the bullpen, specifically a left-handed reliever.
“Our bullpen has been a situation that has been our major focus and, I guess, would continue to be our major focus if we are going to do something,” team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski on the heels of the Soria deal. “I’m not sure if we will or will not, but we’re still open-minded to it.”
“Our bullpen has scuffled at times,” Dombrowski said. “I think that a real key is you want to have people out there who put up zeros for you, that can put down shutdown innings and also throw strikes on a consistent basis.
“We’ve scuffled, not everybody, but a lot of guys collectively at that. Again, we remain open-minded if something happens that makes sense to make us better before the Trading Deadline.”
The Tigers have been linked to lefty’s Tony Sipp and Antonio Bastardo, however the cost to aquire additional help may prove to be too high. The Tigers have quietly prepared themselves for the next phase by assembling talent in the lower and middle levels of the Minor Leagues. As evidenced in the Soria deal, they cannot upgrade without taking away from that group.
Tigers vice president and assistant general manager Al Avila estimates that at least half the teams in baseball are looking for relief help. Few, however, have as much perceived urgency about it as Detroit.
“All 30 Major League clubs have real good general managers, and they all have personnel out there scouting,” Avila said. “They know the situation we’re in. And we know what’s out there. We know what guys are available, what guys are not available.
“It’s a game of musical chairs, so to speak. Every time you go around, you take a chair away, go around, take a chair away. Well, eventually somebody’s going to be left with nothing. So you have to know when to attack. Dave’s been a master at it over the years in getting the guy that we need at times. They don’t all pan out, but that’s what the process is.”
Despite Dombrowski and Brad Ausmus standing by their closer Joe Nathan, Soria could certainly close games if needed. He sports a solid line of 2.70 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, and a squeaky-clean 1.07 FIP. He strikes out more than 10 times as many as he walks and his SO/9 of 11.3 is tough to beat.
Compare that to Nathan’s line of 5.89 ERA/1.52 WHIP/4.18 FIP/ 2.44 K:BB/ 9.6 K/9 and it sure seems like the Tigers may have found a new closer.
Whether they can win a World Series without additional help is a matter of debate. Dombrowski knows he needs a left-handed reliever, and unless he plans to promote Ray from the minors and move Drew Smyly back to the bullpen, he may pull the trigger on one final trade.
Of course, there is always Phil Coke too.