Detroit Tigers Links: Bullpen This & That

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The Detroit Tigers’ annual eternal off-season question is “So, how is the ‘pen looking?”

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The Tigers shored up the bullpen earlier this week with the signing of free agent Tom Gorzelanny. Some fans liked the move, some were “meh” over it and others think its a waste because the lefty brought it to be an LOOGY has better numbers against righties than lefties. Guess we could call him the reverse Al Alburqueque (more on him later).

The Tigers actually got Gorzelanny rather cheap, around $1 million for one year, a bargain considering 2015 open market prices.

Our first two links take a look at if the Tigers are done with the bullpen. Should they sign Max Scherzer as some insiders think they will by default, it will likely mean Alfredo Simon will fall to the bullpen–unless David Price is traded.

With 40-some days left before Spring Training opens, as you can see, many questions still need to be answered.

Finally, we look at Al-Al’s impending arbitration case.

Detroit Tigers rumors: is the bullpen complete? – Joe White, iSportsWeb

"As crazy as it might sound, of the core four, the most reliable source of production might be the newly acquired Gorzelanny. He has bounced back and forth between starting and relieving throughout his career but has excelled when coming out of the pen. He might be the lefty specialist the Tigers have been looking for during the now concluded Phil Coke era.Nathan obviously comes with a lot of baggage, often working as public enemy #1 in Detroit last summer. Soria’s track record suggests that his collapse in a Tigers uniform last August-October has to be an aberration. But what if it wasn’t? What if it signaled the beginning of the end of a great career, one complicated by Tommy John surgery a few seasons ago? It’s not out of the question that this is the case.And what about Alburquerque and his strong season in 2014? For one thing, Manager Brad Ausmus never trusted him. This was one of the most perplexing realities of the Tigers’ bullpen woes from a year ago. Here you have a guy posting a 2.51 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and better than a strikeout per inning and Ausmus just never settled in to calling his number in tense situations."

Will Tigers sign more arms for the bullpen? – Jason Beck, MLB.com

"“This is the time of year you just never know,” Dombrowski said, “that guys you didn’t think you’d sign a month or two ago listen to overtures. We’ve talked about how our payroll is a very hefty one.”Those payroll considerations largely kept them out of the bidding as top free-agent relievers changed the shape of the market, from Andrew Miller‘s four-year, $36 million deal with the Yankees to Luke Gregerson‘s three-year, $18.5 million contract with Houston to Zach Duke‘s three-year, $15 million deal with the White Sox.Aside from setup man Joaquin Benoit four years ago, the Tigers have avoided long-term contracts with non-closing relievers. The market trend on the heels of a reliever-dominant postseason, however, put multiyear deals in abundance once the offseason began.Either the Tigers had to adjust their negotiations for the top guys, or they had to wait for the market to sort out and see who was left. From November’s General Managers Meetings, their approach has been pretty clear."

Arbitration profile: Al Alburquerque is a bullpen bargain – Patrick O’Kennedy

"After leading all American League relief pitchers in both strikeouts and walks-per-nine innings in 2013, Alburquerque cut his walk rate almost in half while striking out almost 10 batters-per-nine frames in 2014. More importantly for arbitration purposes, he now has accrued 3.147 years of major league service time, making him eligible for arbitration.Alburquerque qualified for arbitration for the first time last year as a “super two” exception. His two years and 147 days on a major league roster, including much of the 2012 season (which he spent on the disabled list), were enough to get him a salary of $837,500 for the 2014 season. He returns this season in the class with those between three and four years of service time, but with a higher base salary going in."

Next: Tigers Rumors: St. Louis interested in David Price

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