After The David Price Trade, The Detroit Tigers Still Have A Bullpen Problem


Jul 30, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) catches the ball before he pitches during the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Fans, radio personalities, journalist and TV pundits were all raving about the David Price trade. They were all nearly unanimous in their evaluation, they all loved the move.

And frankly what’s not to love.  The Detroit Tigers snagged the biggest prize on the trade market by swooping in and acquiring Price from out of the blue.

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David Price is a recent Cy Young award winner and under club control through the 2015 season. In short there is a lot to like about this trade.

But there is also something to dislike.

Although the David Price trade made a big splash in the headlines it left a big need in the bullpen unfilled.

Although the Tigers acquired Joakim Soria about a week ago the bullpen has continued to struggle.  Those struggles have directly contributed to the teams current slump after winning only two of their last seven games.

Even after the Tigers traded for Soria, it was rumored that Dave Dombrowski was in on trade talks for Boston Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller. But at the end of the day it was the Orioles that signed Miller and the Tigers were unable to land another bullpen arm.

An overlooked aspect of the trade was the loss of Drew Smyly and its effect on the Tigers bullpen. Smyly had a 2.37 ERA with a 1.039 WHIP out of the pen last year. Those numbers would have commanded a high price in the 2014 trade market. The former Tigers left-hander could have helped stabilize the bullpen. That said, Smyly was a target of the Tampa Rays all along. Simply put Price would not be a Tiger if Smyly wasn’t part of the deal.

It is not certain whether the Tigers were planning on trading for both Miller and Price. But by landing David Price and giving up Smyly in the process the Tigers failed to fix the bullpen issue.  That could come back to haunt them in the playoffs.