The Tigers’ questions at the closer spot in the bullpen obviously has been an issue for the team since last season. Those questions though seem to be becoming even more magnified given the struggles of rookie reliever Bruce Rondon. So magnified in fact that CBS Sports’ Danny Knobler believes the Tigers may not have much of a choice but to trade for a closer this spring.
Spring training trades aren’t easy. Spring training trades for closers might be even tougher.
But the Tigers now realize they have little choice.
With hard-throwing rookie Bruce Rondon already showing he can’t handle the job, and with no other good options available in their own camp, the Tigers are already pushing hard to find a closer on the trade market, according to major-league sources.
If the Tigers do decide to enter the trade market for a closer as those MLB sources suggest, Knobler does throw out some names that may or may not be available if Dave Dombrowski decides to dial the phone. Knobler mentions Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard of the Nationals who may become expendable with Washington signing Rafael Soriano during the offseason. The Nationals however have let teams know that neither one of their late inning bullpen arms are available.
Knobler also throws out Andrew Bailey after the Red Sox acquired Joel Hanrahan but says the Tigers have yet to contact Boston about a possible trade.
It also seems that bringing back Jose Valverde isn’t an option as manager Jim Leyland quelled any rumor of that happening. The Tigers also appear to have a budding trade chip in Rick Porcello after a stellar outing the other day but given the long season and the fact that injuries obviously do happen Detroit may be more reluctant to give up Porcello at this time.
Now this isn’t something that Tigers fans need to panic about, especially at point. The Tigers do have veteran arms at the back end in Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit as well as a young arm in Al Alburquerque. I’m not saying that those are lock step solutions to the closer problem for Detroit, it may though give them some time to make the right move.