Jul 9, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres pitcherJoaquin Benoit
(56) during the eighth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today Matt Pelc relayed news regarding the Detroit Tigers’ ongoing discussions with the Texas Rangers surrounding reliever Joakim Soria. The club is very clearly interested in adding a reliever, but Ken Rosenthal clarifies what type of reliever they’re focusing on, and indicates that former-Tiger Joaquin Benoit is also on the target list (Joaquin/Joakim rumors won’t at all get confusing).
The idea that the Tigers are not interested in any reliever that considers himself a “pure closer” indicates that they’re not looking to upset the Joe Nathan applecart at the back end of the bullpen. Huston Street was a popular name among Tigers fans, but it looks like he is off the table (along with other potentially available ‘closers’ like Jonathan Papelbon).
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The Tigers would be very comfortable with someone like Benoit (or Soria) serving as the closer down the stretch should the Nathan situation continue to stay messy, but they could avoid any locker room (or media) drama by claiming “setup man” up until the eleventh hour. It would be harder to duck those types of questions with a ‘true’ closer-type. I have no idea if that’s really part of the consideration taking place here – or if they’re simply trying to avoid paying for saves – but it could be.