With the MLB non-waiver trade deadline right around the corner the Tigers should be in the buying market to strengthen a bullpen that at the time being is serviceable. With all that in mind there’s going to be plenty of rumors and analysis floating around the next couple of weeks (even up to the waiver deadline) on what the Tigers should do and who they should offer up.
Today on ESPN, David Cameron (of FanGraphs) highlighted five trades within the American League that NEED to happen and low and behold the Tigers are right in the mix. According to Cameron the Tigers need to offer up starting pitcher Rick Porcello and outfielder Avisail Garcia to the Seattle Mariners for reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, reliever Oliver Perez, outfielder Michael Morse, starting pitcher Joe Saunders and shortstop Brendan Ryan.
Here’s what Cameron had to say:
It’s no secret that the Tigers need to upgrade their bullpen, and this move could give them a potent relief corps in October. While Wilhelmsen has struggled with his fastball command this year, he was a dominating closer a year ago. He may very well just be a mechanical tweak away from blowing hitters away again. The Tigers have been looking for a long-term solution to their ninth-inning problems for a while, and Wilhelmsen could very well be the guy to take that role for the next several years.
By acquiring Perez at the same time, they won’t have to rush Wilhelmsen into a high-leverage position right away, giving him time to find his command in lower-pressure situations. Perez has been a revelation as a reliever, showing that he can get hitters out from both sides of the plate and would give the Tigers another left-handed reliever besides Drew Smyly who isn’t a pure specialist.
In Morse, the Tigers would get a power hitter to split time between the outfield — they’re already punting defense, so might as well go all the way — and 1B/DH, giving Victor Martinez some rest or Prince Fielder an off day against a tough lefty. Saunders gives them a steady No. 5 starter, to replace Porcello, who could potentially be yet another bullpen weapon in October. His career numbers against left-handers are lethal, and he could more easily move into a playoff relief role given his splits. Ryan serves as a defensive upgrade and shortstop depth, capable of entering games late to provide a boost to the team’s run prevention.
Giving up Porcello just as he’s learned how to strike hitters out is a real cost, but he’s once again posting results that don’t line up with his talent level. Using him as bait opens the door for Smyly to move back into the rotation next year, plus, it keeps the team from having to surrender top prospect Nick Castellanos. The Mariners have the opportunity to evaluate Porcello away from the Tigers’ dreadful infield defense and could use him as a mid-rotation starter for 2014, while Garcia gives them another outfield body in their search for anyone better than Jason Bay.
If something like this is taken into consideration the Tigers shouldn’t scoff. It’s a deal that takes care of multiple issues for the Tigers while filling in some pieces that may be lost in the deal. Not to mention something like this enables the Tigers to hold on to top prospect Nick Castellanos and Drew Smyly a dangerous lefty in the making. It’s also not necessarily a deal that HAS to be made for Detroit but it more than likely would help, especially down the stretch and into the playoffs.
h/t: ESPN, FanGraphs, Detroit Free Press (image)