Detroit Tigers’ Unwillingness To Spend On Bullpen Is Perplexing


In the wake of an impressive, and unexpected World Series run by the Kansas City Royals, teams around Major League Baseball put an impetus on bullpen arms in the offseason. Teams like the Yankees, and White Sox, who were desperate for playoff berths, realized that in today’s game, an effective way of finding success is adding arms like Andrew Miller, or David Robertson.

The Detroit Tigers did not.

Despite disastrous seasons from Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain, and another injury plagued season for Bruce Rondon, which led to another early playoff exit, Detroit did little to ease the worries of the Tigers’ faithful.

In fact, regardless of the fact that Detroit had arguably the best offense in baseball last year, General Manager Dave Dombrowski did more to keep his powerful offense alive than he did to fix a bullpen which has hampered his team for several years now.

Rather than adding Robertson, or more logically, Miller, Dombrowski spent 68 million dollars on Victor Martinez. Martinez had been outstanding in a Tigers uniform, including in his last year before free agency, but many questioned the four year pact, because of the slugger’s age, and injury history.

So far, those skeptics have plenty of ammo to support their argument.

Those who believe that the Tigers should have spent that money on Nelson Cruz, have even more. Cruz is two years younger than Martinez, and so far he is hitting .324 with with 9 HRs, and 20 RBIs. Beyond that, Martinez is being slowed down by a nagging knee injury and hitting under .300 with no home runs.

Yes, hindsight is 20-20, and the 2015 MLB season is far from over. However, it is hard not to imagine what the Tigers could have been capable of with Cruz at DH, and more money to spend on quality relief. Because while Detroit’s fan-base should be encouraged by the team’s fast start, this storyline has unfolded before.

More from Detroit Tigers News

And for that reason, Dombrowski’s unwillingness to spend on his bullpen is staggering. He has seen Torii Hunter fly over the right field fence in Fenway, and Delmon Young double home the winning run at Camden Yards, and is somehow still hesitant to make moves to shore up the Tigers’ achilles heel.

Even now with Rondon struggling to stay healthy yet again, and Nathan out for the year, the Tigers seem hesitant to move forward with a contract offer for Rafael Soriano.

Is Soriano the answer to all of Detroit’s bullpen woes? Not all of them, no. But Chamberlain cannot be the setup man for this team again, if they have true championship aspirations.

The proof is already there from the outset in Motown. Al Aburquerque, Blaine Hardy, and Ian Krol have all posted poor numbers to begin the season, and even when Tom Gorzelanny and Chamberlain are in the game, they are hard to trust, despite their early success.

The Tigers may be capable of riding their offense to another AL Central crown, but without additions to the bullpen they do not have a realistic opportunity to finally earn that elusive World Series ring. Unless, Detroit adds Soriano, or another quality reliever, such as Philadelphia’s Johnathan Papelbon, 2015 will end in disappointment, as well.

Next: Detroit Tigers Farm System Drought Hitting Home