The Tigers bullpen is clearly the least settled area of the team. The lineup is known, the starting rotation is known, but only a couple of pieces of the bullpen are known. What was already an area of the team that seemed vulnerable is further hampered by the late arrival of Francisco Cruceta and the barking shoulder of Fernando Rodney. So it’s only natural that the Tigers would look to add to the bullpen, which will of course breed trade rumors. The only problem is that the names the Tigers have been linked to just aren’t very good – and most likely not better than what they could get for free.
The latest rumors making the rounds involve the Mets who have had some injuries woes of their own in the outfield. New York needs some right handed pop in the outfield. The Tigers have Marcus Thames. The Mets have some extra arms in the pen. But the names that are being mentioned should cause some concern.
Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa were the first names being floated.
Schoeneweis has a multitude of things working against him. He’s walked a batter every other inning over the last 2 years, and complements that with a poor strike out ratio of 5.2 per 9 innings. Plus he’s left handed, which with Tim Byrdak and Bobby Seay around isn’t a pressing need for Detroit. And he’s owed $3.6 million each of the next 2 years. So he’s redundant, expensive, and is a couple years removed from his last good season (2005).
Jorge Sosa is cheaper (owed $2 million in 2008), but with problems of his own. Over his last 6 seasons hitters have connected for line drives over 21% of the time with peripherals similar to Schoeneweis. He was awful in 2006, and was below average last year. In 2005 he posted a 2.55 ERA, but with a WHP of 1.4 I’m not sure how.
Earlier in the week there was talk of Ryan Dempster as a potential target from the Cubs. But again, it’s for a below average player that would come at too high of a cost in terms of dollar and players.
Now I realize that the players that were rumored to be in the discussions from the Tigers side (Inge, Thames) aren’t going to fetch an impact reliever. Not to say they don’t provide value to the Tigers, just that they are unlikely to bring much in a trade. But the names that have been mentioned coming to the Tigers aren’t the kind of people you pay for. The same type of production is what should theoretically be found for free in your farm system, or as non roster invites. This is the type of production you get for the league minimum.
I’m all for upgrading the bullpen, but I don’t see the above mentioned players providing more than Bazardo, Cruceta, Bautista, Miner, Grilli, Larrison, Lopez, etc. can provide. They are veterans, but all that shows is a track record of – at their very best – mediocrity. They certainly don’t represent an upgrade that is worth bearing a cost in terms of players or payroll.