During last week’s homestand Jim Leyland told reporters that the Tigers are, plain and simple, carrying too many left-handed relievers. Detroit’s currently featuring Charlie Furbush, Adam Wilk, Daniel Schlereth and David Purcey in the pen. That’s compared to just three righty relievers: Al Alberquerque, Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde.
“There’s too many of them,” Leyland said, according to MLB.com’s Jason Beck. “You don’t need four, to be honest with you. But, it’s the old saying, ‘If they’re the best guys you’ve got, then you take them.’”
At some point Detroit’s hoping Ryan Perry can make the jump back to the big leagues. And even if he can’t, there’s a distinct possibility that the Tigers will swap out a lefty reliever for a righty, especially given Leyland’s propensity for playing the matchups.
But instead of just dumping a southpaw to the minors, could Detroit swing one for another bat?
GM Dave Dombrowski told ESPN Radio last week that the Tigers might look to add some offense at the trade deadline. He didn’t specify exactly what that meant — there’s been a lot of talk about Detroit going after an elite player like Jose Reyes, David Wright or Hunter Pence.
And while that would be nice, the Tigers could also use a little boost off the bench. Right now, they’re trying to get by with utility guys like Don Kelly, Danny Worth and Casper Wells. A one-for-one swap involving a lefty reliever definitely isn’t going to land a Reyes-level player, but it could bring in someone to upgrade the team as a whole.
A few weeks ago, MLBTradeRumors.com took a look at which teams might be light in lefty relief. The Tigers were on that list at the time, but that was before the deal of Scott Sizemore for Purcey.
Other teams listed as bullpens in need: Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals, Brewers, Mets and Diamondbacks. At least a couple of those teams — think Red Sox and Orioles — may have a bat to spare in return for a guy like Schlereth or Purcey.
Those are probably the names we’re talking about here, too. It’s possible that Wilk or Furbush could be moved, but in that case — especially in Furbush’s case — Detroit would be looking for something bigger.
The Orioles, specifically, are intriguing in the lefty-reliever trade discussions. Their two current LH bullpen guys, Mike Gonzalez and ex-Tiger Clay Rapada, both have ERAs around seven. Baltimore also has extra OF depth: Adam Scott, Nick Markakis and Vlad Guerrero are filling two spots plus the DH each night, leaving Luke Scott, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold to battle for the others.
Any of those three guys could be an upgrade in Detroit’s outfield if the Tigers decide Magglio Ordonez has reached his breaking point.
Detroit’s not showing any real urgency to make a deal, so this may wind up just being a matter of swapping Wilk for Perry in the majors. The trade option’s just another thing to think about as July approaches.