Just this past week the Tigers traded a pair of pitching prospects to acquire Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, a move that will surely help one of the worst bullpens in the majors. But there could still be more moves to come, and even after the acquisition, there have still been plenty of Detroit Tigers trade rumors.
“As far as other moves, well, I guess we’re still open-minded to getting better. 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,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “I’m not sure if we will or will not, but we’re still open-minded to it.”
If something wasn’t in the works, Dombrowski would probably just say there was nothing to come. Instead he hints that another trade is still a possibility, which can only lead to assumptions of who the Tigers will bring in next.
We can speculate and debate all we want but let me just dive right in and say something; Antonio Bastardo of the Philadelphia Phillies is the guy the Tigers need to get.
The 28 year old Bastardo has been with the Phillies ever since making his MLB debut back in June of 2009. Bastardo fits the bill of being exactly what the Tigers need; a reliable lefty out of the bullpen. The Tigers currently have three left-handers they can turn to; Phil Coke (screams of terror ensue), Ian Krol, and Blaine Hardy. While they can get the job done on occasion, at this point in the season, the occasional acceptable performance is insufficient. The Tigers cannot afford to lose games on account of the bullpen any longer. The baseball season is past the halfway point and it’s crunch time.
And to fill the void of a left handed reliever, Bastardo must be brought on board. He’s efficient, reliable, but more importantly, the Phillies are on the verge of a fire sale. It’s been rumored the team will cut ties with former MVP Ryan Howard, trade Cole Hamels, Jonathon Papelbon, Bastardo, and maybe Cliff Lee. The once dominant Phillies are to the point that they’d trade the Liberty Bell itself if it wasn’t bolted to the ground.
So there is a very strong possibility the Tigers could land Bastardo. The Dominican Republic native has two primary pitches he throws; a fastball and a slider. 53 SO’s through 45.1 IP is a positive, but some control issues are noticeable, giving up 25 BB and 21 runs. A 4-4 record with a 4.17 ERA are also respectable. Jim Bowden of ESPN states that “Left-handed hitters are batting just .140 against (Bastardo) this year, and he would be the final piece for the Tigers.” Bastardo has struggled his past few starts . But maybe a change in scenery and no longer having the pressure of being traded will bring him back to form. He can shut batters down just as good as anybody else out there. His versatility is something the Tigers need; he can get a quick out, close, or come in for some much needed long relief work.
David Dombrowski said that the Tigers’ “bullpen has scuffled at times. I think that a real key is you want to have people out there who put up zeroes for you, that can put down shutdown innings and also throw strikes on a consistent basis.” And that’s just what Bastardo can do. So is another move in the works? Seems like we’ll find out soon with the trade deadline coming this Thursday.
Sure, he’s not the second-coming of John Hiller but Bastardo is better than anything the Tigers have and would bring their bullpen up to speed with some of the league’s best. He’s the best option; all Dombrowski needs to do is pull the trigger.