Detroit Tigers Trade Rumors: Left-Handed Relief Options


Last week, I discussed a number of relief options that have been subject to Detroit Tigers trade rumors as we approach the trade deadline, and the Tigers complied with the acquisition of Joakim Soria. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski stated that they may not be done making moves and they are looking to add more bullpen help.

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  • This would be a playoff move trying to sure up the bullpen, but it should also be noted the Drew Smyly with be making a return to the bullpen when October rolls around. Here is a look a lot of the lefties that are on the market that the Tigers could add to the bullpen.

    Antonio Bastardo

    Bastardo’s name was pushed really hard last week and there was the possibility that a Jonathan Papelbon and Bastardo package deal could be heading to Detroit. With Soria’s acquisition, this rumor has died, but Bastardo’s name is the one that is linked most with the Tigers. Bastardo has a 4.17 ERA in 46 games pitched with a WHIP of 1.235 which is due mostly to struggles in July.

    In 8 IP in July, Bastardo has surrendered 5 runs and 2 HR. Bastardo’s splits against LHP is .185/.309/.389 which shows that the stuff is good, but he has a problem with walking batters. Bastardo has walked 25 batters in 45.1 IP which is high for a reliever. Bastardo has the stuff to get both lefties and righties out, and his recent struggles have probably lowered his price enough for the Tigers to acquire him.

    Andrew Miller

    Miller is best known in Detroit as one of the main pieces the Tigers used to acquired Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis, but he has turned into a very good reliever. This season, Miller has a 2.52 ERA, 1.77 FIP, and 0.941 WHIP. Miller has 64 K and 12 BB in 39.1 IP which is a 14.6 K/9 ratio to go along with a 2.7 BB/9 ratio to make a 5.33 K/BB ratio. Miller’s splits against LHB is .155/.210/.224 and 32 K. His splits against RHB is .193/.289(because of 8 walks)/.277 with 32

    K. Miller would be my prime target for the Tigers from the left side because the Boston Red Sox are in sell now mode. Miller will cost about the same as Bastardo and I believe he would be a better pitcher down the stretch.

    Wesley Wright

    Wright has (excuse the pun) righted the ship starting in 2011 with the Houston Astros and has been a solid LHP out of the bullpen the past few years. This year with the Chicago Cubs, Wright has pitched 29.2 innings in 37 games with a 2.43 ERA, 2.74 FIP, and 1.213 WHIP. I do not think Wright is an option because he has reverse splits this season. Against RHB, Wright has a .191/.267/.279 split, but against lefties, that split is .319/.340/.319. All 15 hits against him are singles, but 15 for 50 when you need to get a lefty out is not an upgrade in the Tigers bullpen.

    Tony Sipp

    The Tigers know Tony Sipp well from his 4 years in a Cleveland Indians uniform. Sipp is currently with the Houston Astros where he is having a career year with a 2.37 ERA, 2.35 FIP, and a 0.791 WHIP. This year Sipp has been death on LHB with a 0.98/.179/.176 split with only 9 total bases in 51 at bats. Sipp has only walked 7 batters in the 2014 season and could the answer the Tigers need from the left side.

    The price would probably be right around the price the Tigers paid for Jose Veras from the Astros last season. Sipp was signed to a 1 year minor league deal in May by the Astros so he won’t be a hit financially, but will probably cost a mid-tier prospect.

    Neal Cotts

    Cotts is an interesting case with a 3.27 ERA, 2.76 FIP, and 1.364 WHIP. The FIP shows that Cotts should actually be better than what he has been, but that is because he has only given up 2 HR on the season and struck out 50. Another reason his case is interesting is Cotts pitches for the Texas Rangers. If the Tigers wanted to go get Cotts, they probably would have included him in the Soria deal completed earlier this week. Cotts would be an upgrade and he is on the market with the Rangers selling and trying to build for next year, but I think the Tigers would have acquired him last week if they were going to trade for him at all.

    Oliver Perez

    The Tigers saw Oliver Perez on this past road trip with the Arizona Diamondbacks and he is having a career season. Perez has a 2.04 ERA, 2.51 FIP, and 1.160 WHIP. Perez has a very deceptive delivery for LHB, but he also has reverse splits. Against RHB, Perez’s splits are .185/.290/.284. Against LHB, the splits are .258/.319/.379. Watching Perez last week, I liked his stuff, but the numbers say otherwise. Since the Tigers just saw Perez and the Dbacks are way off the lead in the NL West, I wouldn’t be too shocked to see Perez come to Detroit.

    Alex Torres

    Torres is known as the only pitcher who wears the safety isoblox hat that was developed to protect pitchers from head injuries, but he has also been a great left handed option for the San Diego Padres. In 46 games, Torres has a 2.35 ERA, but a 1.383 WHIP and a 3.59 FIP. Torres is due for a correction because he has problems with his control as he’s issued 23 walks in 38.1 IP. The Tigers could try to get Torres cheap from the Padres who will once again be sellers, but numbers have a way of coming back to the mean and Torres is due for a correction.