The Detroit Tigers may have addressed their bullpen woes in a big way late last night, trading two highly regarded prospects to the Texas Rangers for Joakim Soria. The trade does not mean that the Tigers’ trade rumors have ended. On the contrary. The man responsible for turning Tigers’ trade rumors into actual trades says he is “open-minded” to do more.
This may be music to the ears of the fans excited for last night’s deal or another measure of horror for those fans worried about the franchise losing its third- and fifth-ranked prospects in Jake Thompson and Corey Knebel. What other top prospect(s) could be on the verge of departing?
Dave Dombrowski spoke with reporters late this morning and had some interesting things to say, including that Detroit may not be done adding to the bullpen.
One question he did not cover, because it was covered last night–Soria will NOT supplant Joe Nathan as closer. At least for right now.
Following along through MLive beat writer Chris Iott’s Tweets, Dombrowski stated that the talks between Detroit and Texas began in late June and acknowledged (in his typical crafty PR style) that “our bullpen has scuffled at times.”
Well that’s an understatement.
DD also felt the pain some fans felt over losing the young pitching duo.
Among the other topics Dombrowski touched on was Nathan’s performance this year, saying “Joe has had, probably for him, not a year that he has had in the past, but ultimately we believe he can close games for us.”
He also stated he did not expect to have Joel Hanrahan back this season, that the Tigers are satisfied with Eugenio Suarez at shortstop, does not anticipate trading for an upgrade at that position or a lefthanded bat.
Tigers’ trade rumors had them linked with several different pitchers, including Houston’s Chad Qualls. Should Detroit pull the trigger on that deal, it would give them at least four legitimate options at closer: Nathan, Soria, Chamberlain, and Qualls.
“Joe [Nathan] has had, probably for him, not a year that he has had in the past, but ultimately we believe he can close games for us.” – Dave Dombrowski
That would be a pretty lights-out bullpen if you suspend the belief that a closer has a mindset that he always needs to close to succeed. If you think closers always struggle in non-9th inning save situations, that might not be an ideal scenario.
Qualls is having a great year, sporting a 1.78 ERA, 1.019 WHIP with 11 saves in 13 chances, but he’s a righty. The Tigers may wish to nab a southpaw to complement the back-end of the bullpen and send Ian Krol away to get his issues worked out. That would be a perfect scenario for Antonio Bastardo from Philadelphia.