Detroit Tigers: Five Bullpen Arms Al Avila Should Consider


Despite his historic run of success in the city of Detroit, as the General Manager of the Detroit Tigers, Dave Dombrowski was consistently hampered by a curiously negligent approach towards building a bullpen.

Whether he saw Torii Hunter fly over the right-field wall at Fenway, or Delmon Young clear the bases in Baltimore, Dombrowski’s unwillingness to truly address his relief options would not waver.

If Al Avila, Dombrowski’s successor, hopes to avoid the mistakes his predecessor made, and help Detroit return to American League prominence, he must make the bullpen a staple of the team’s identity with names such as these:

1. Darren O’Day

At age 32, O’Day remains one of the most talented, and consistent relievers in the game. And as much as they need talent, the Tigers are just as desperate for reliability.

In 2015, the Baltimore reliever is 6-2 with a 1.52 ERA and an 0.96. Beyond that he has posted a 2.3 WAR and walked just 13 batters all season.

If Avila is looking to rebuild the bullpen, and he certainly should be, signing O’Day would be a great place to start.

2. Tyler Clippard 

Part of Dombrowski’s faulty approach towards building a solid bullpen was the belief that it was foolish to spend serious money on relievers because they were more prone to progressing, or regressing, rapidly from one year to the next.

Much like O’Day, Clippard would be worth the risk.

Throughout his tenure with the Nationals, and even in 2015 with both the A’s and Mets, Clippard was proven to be one of the most durable, and reliable relievers in all of baseball.

His latest season has been no different.

In 63 appearances, Clippard has a 2.77 ERA, 59 strikeouts, 19 saves, and a 1.3 WAR. He would serve as a good complement to O’Day in the back half of the Detroit bullpen.

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3. Ryan Madson 

While Madson is now 35, and had not thrown a pitch in the major leagues since 2011, he had a phenomenal bounce back campaign with the Kansas City Royals.

In 62 appearances with the Royals, as of now, Madson not only regained his form, but managed to stay healthy while doing so.

During the 2015 season Madson has posted an ERA of 2.35 and a WHIP of 0.96, while walking just 12 batters all year, and striking out 53.

4. Antonio Bastardo

One other former Phillie that Detroit should take a look at it is left-hander Antonio Bastardo.

While Bastardo has struggled to stay consistent throughout the duration of his career, he is not lacking talent.

In 2015, Bastardo has served as a key cog in a good Pittsburgh bullpen, and is 4-1, with a 2.96 ERA, and 59 strikeouts in 59 appearances.

5. Mark Lowe 

Lowe is another reliever on the list who is slightly lacking what the Tigers need in regards to consistency. But one thing the 32 year-old can do is strike batters out, and Detroit could certainly use a reliever with that skill-set.

Not only that, but Lowe is coming off of what could be considered his best professional season.

In time with Seattle, and Toronto, the right-hander has a 1.60 ERA, a 1.05 WHIP, and 57 strikeouts.

Much like any of the other relievers on this list, Lowe represents an instant upgrade over the talent coming out of Detroit’s bullpen in 2015, and would help to make the Tigers better.

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