Jul 2, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo (59) walks off the field after being relieved in the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
#5 Antonio Bastardo
It appears that the Detroit Tigers will go through the entire 2015 season without a dedicated 8th inning setup man. In that spot this year they have tried Angel Nesbitt, Joba Chamberlain, Bruce Rondon, Neftali Feliz, a bat boy and the ghost of Harry Covelski, all usually to dreadful results.
So it is clear that a setup man must be high on their 2016 shopping list. For this we present Antonio Bastardo.
The left-hander seems to be a perennial trade target at the deadline and often rumored to the Tigers. He has been up and down during his career, but at the age of 30 (on September 21), he may be coming into the peak of his career.
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Bastardo spent the first six years of his career with the Philadelphia Phillies, giving them a decent bullpen option during their contending years through roughly 2012 and most recently their terrible years. After always being on the trade rumor circuit, the Phillies traded Bastardo, one of their most reliable bullpen options, to the Pittsburgh Pirates during the off-season.
Bastardo is not having the best of years, but he is certainly have a better year than a majority of the Tigers’ bullpen, especially the pitchers that have been bandaged into the eighth inning this year.
He is sporting a 3.90 ERA in 36 games, with a 1.367 WHIP. He has not had a blown save (all relievers receive a blown save if they let a lead slip away) since his first appearance of the season, has earned five holds and a save for a potent Pirates’ bullpen.
A middle reliever, Bastardo should not break the bank, allowing the Tigers to target several other free agents.
Plus wouldn’t this guy–with this name–make for entertaining #TigersTwitter if and when he has a couple rough outings?