This is one where you might have to be a pretty astute baseball fan to even know who Joey Devine is. But that is what we are here for at Motor City Bengals, to be a helpful bunch when it comes to all of your off-season needs and discussion.
It’s no secret heading into 2013 the Tigers bullpen is going to have itself a different look. They have already let Jose Valverde go essentially after his implosion in the playoffs, and in general, not having the type of season you expect from a premium priced closer. So it’s closer by committee for Detroit, and there is no shortage of candidates currently on the roster. Veterans Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel have closed games. Phil Coke did it in the playoffs. Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal have done it in the minors. Heck, so has Luis Marte. Add to the mix the ultra hard throwing Bruce Rondon, and the Tigers certainly have enough bodies to at least compete for the closers role.
So why not add another arm to the mix?
Here is both the problem with Devine and the positive as well. Devine has hardly pitched in the last three years because of injury. That of course is a major concern. Since 2008, Devine has only pitched 68.2 major league innings. There is being bit by the injury bug, and there is Joey Devine who takes being on the shelf to a whole new level. How is that a positive? Well, he is likely to come cheap, and come on a one year contract. Any team out there that gives Devine multiple years is likely to be in a desperate and tattered bullpen state. The Tigers aren’t, and they can offer Devine a chance on what looks like a playoff bound roster.
When Devine is healthy, he is good. His career ERA sits at 2.75, and over the course of his career, he has struck out a batter an inning. He does have some command issues, but that isn’t atypical of a hard thrower. Devine sits comfortably in the low to mid 90’s, and has good movement on his heavy sinker. He couples his fastball with a quality slider that can get swings and misses.
If the Tigers are looking for a cheap, potentially quality option to throw into the bullpen mix in 2013, and I believe they are, Devine seems to be a good fit. He should come cheap, and it won’t be on a long term contractual basis. The bonus being that Devine has the capability to close games, but is more likely a set up type guy at this point.