Tigers Will Look To Sign Relievers This Offseason

The Tigers bullpen was depleted by the injuries to Bobby Seay, Joel Zumaya, and Zach Miner this season, and even though Phil Coke and Ryan Perry have stepped up and gotten big outs for manager Jim Leyland, they're still going to look for relievers this winter according to MLB.com's Jason Beck. He notes that Detroit's bullpen seemed to lack "big-game experience," something they're sure to find on the open market.

"The free-agent market, we're going to look for some relievers," said Leyland. "We need help, and that's where we're going to get it, we think. We're hoping to get it through maybe some free agency."

Leyland did qualify his statement however, saying that signing some bullpen help was not a certainty. Clearly though, the bullpen is high on his list of priorities, and you can be sure GM Dave Dombrowski will oblige.

The free agent market offers plenty of relief help, none better than Rafael Soriano. Of course Detroit is set at closer with Jose Valverde, so chances are the club will pass on the Rays' ace reliever. J.J. Putz, Jesse Crain, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, and Matt Guerrier represent the best of the setup arms while Scott Downs and Arthur Rhodes highlight the lefthanded group. 

The Tigers have a boatload of cash coming off the books after the season, more than $50MM from the expiring contracts of Magglio Ordonez, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, and Nate Robertson alone. If they want to make a big time free agent splash or two to help the bullpen, they'll certainly have the means to do it.


Full Story | 25 Comments | Categories: Detroit Tigers

25 Responses to Tigers Will Look To Sign Relievers This Offseason Leave a Reply

  1. Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

    I really, really like thinking and discussing what the Tigers will d this off-season because they have money to spend and plenty of it. I see them signing a big free agent, making one or two impact trades like acquiring Kelly Johnson, Rickie Weeks, or Jose Reyes, or two of the three, maybe signing a starting pitcher or definetly trading for one, and signing two relievers as Mike said. There are a ton of very good relief pitcher on the market this off-season also as Mike stated and I really like the idea of the Tigers signing two of Crain, Putz, and Balfour. There are some potential relievers that can be acquired through trade such as Lance Cormier but I see the Tigers signing two of the 3 that I said. Imagine a bullpen of Perry, Schlereth, Zumaya, Valverde, Balfour, Putz, Coke…Thoughts?

    • EdinsonPickle 5 years ago

      I agree with you, it will be interesting to see the routes the Tigers take this offseason. They can really revamp their roster this year and make a run at the Central in 2011.

      I see them signing Putz because they’ve had interest in him in the past, and also I could see Balfour with them next year.

    • vtadave 5 years ago

      Pretty sure the Brewers won’t be dealing Weeks. More likely to see Prince Fielder go IMO. Plus, outside of Jacob Turner and a couple guys from this year’s draft who they can’t deal anyway, they don’t have the prospects other teams want.

      I can see them making moster offers to Crawford and Werth, with the former unlikelyh and the latter very possible.

      • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

        Dave, For a while recently, I was also thinking that the Tigers really have no prospects that are enticing to other clubs. And I really started examining their organization (am still doing it) and it’s actually not as bad as you would think (this is obviously excluding their 2010 picks)…Charles Furbush and Brayan Villareal are two prospects who come to mind. Villareal had over 9.0 k/9 in Double-A and Furbush was dominant this season in Triple-A. Those are two prospects who could pry Weeks out of Milwaukee and yes, he is available if they can’t extend him because he is a free agent after next season like Fielder, and the Brewer know that they can’t compete.

        • vtadave 5 years ago

          Eh Furbush is 24 and was lit up in AAA this year (small sample size, but still a 6.29 ERA). Solid in the lower minors, but I see him as a #4 at best, but who knows… Villarreal is somewhat interesting, but point being, if a guy like Weeks were made available, I don’t see the Tigers outbidding other teams.

          • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

            Good point about the Tigers not outbidding other teams. Now that I agree with.

  2. rbeezy 5 years ago

    this is a huge off season for them. With the rookies playing the way they are , they can have a shot at a world series very soon with the right moves this winter.

  3. drew3434 5 years ago

    Why?!! I know they have lots o dough coming off the books but Valverde, Perry, Coke, Weinhardt, Scerleth is more than enough of a core. Some risks but stop spending a 7-8 million a year on relievers. Try some cheap reclamation projects to fill out the rest. 3B, SS, DH and the back end of the rotation has to addressed before this. This team and their obssession with the bullpen drives me nuts … all the high draft picks wasted on relievers and now more money.

    • hartvig 5 years ago

      I agree. Better to spend the money on position players or a starting pitcher. The vast majority of relievers are too inconsistent to be worth the money.

      • johnsilver 5 years ago

        That is the most important thing with regards to every reliever mentioned in the topic above. Not a single one, outside of Downs (discounting closer Soriano) has ever managed to put back to back seasons together and remain consistent and is why teams should be extremely hesitant to give any of them either a decent, or multi year contract and even Downs anything over 2 years guaranteed due to his age.

        Balfour has been the typical off year, on year of late and is due for his off season next year, plus will be 33YO next season. He is probably the next best middle reliever of that bunch after Downs and can’t see anyone giving him more than a single year deal, or 2 years with the 2nd being a team option if they look at his track record.

        More teams need to be grooming their own early on rather than going this route. That is a pretty poor lot overall.

  4. jphenix2002 5 years ago

    I’m excited to see what Dombrowski will do this offseason. Detroit has a real chance to not just compete for the division but the World Series as well. Putz or Balfour would solidify the bullpen so the focus can turn to adding offense!

  5. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    joel zumaya is toast. he will be non-tendered IMO.

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      Can I ask why?

      • Ferrariman 5 years ago

        sure, some people think zumaya is going to come back healthy and what not, but if you check his history and just how bad that injury of his looked this year, it doesn’t look like he is coming back any time soon. and to the above people who said he will be relatively cheap and worth the money, they are entitled to their opinions. but i’d like a reliable option that i am counting on to be their the WHOLE season. he’s had plenty of chances to prove he is healthy. and he has blown every chance.

        • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

          Fair enough. It might just be worth though keeping him another season because he was healthy for 3 months this season… When was the last time we could say that about Joel Zumaya?

    • I can see them tending him a contract still, making less than a million, and not like he’s set up for a noticeable raise. And really, even if he is always injured, he’ll more than be worth 1M if he can keep his arm from falling off for a year.

      • j6takish 5 years ago

        When he is on and healthy he is a monster. He is totally 100% worth 1mm.

      • Everytime I see him throw over 100MPH I keep thinking “Why hasn’t this guy’s arm fallen off yet?”

  6. Sniderlover 5 years ago

    I wonder how Scott Downs is feeling now.

  7. Let’s get our facts straight, shall we?
    The amount of money coming off the books due to expiring contracts is $ 75 million. Not really close to the $ 50 million mentioned in this article. Ordonez, Bonderman, Robertson, Willis, Damon, Inge, Laird, Seay, and Everett all have contracts currently on the books that will expire. That does not include Peralta’s contract, which is being paid by Cleveland (the Tigers have to pay the $ 250 K buyout if they don’t pick up his option).
    The Tigers have exactly one player scheduled for a salary increase, and that’s Verlander’s $ 6 million raise.
    The Tigers have four arbitration eligible players: Miner, Zumaya, Raburn, and Galarraga- none of them will get big raises. Miner, Zumaya, and Brad Thomas are possible non tender options.
    The money is there to do what is necessary, whether through free agency, or trading for players with big contracts that are a year from free agency. However, no GM in the AL has signed fewer free agents since 2006 than Dave Dombrowski, and he has signed only one player and no position players to a multi year contract since 2006. Those methods must change if the Tigers are to be contenders in 2011.

    • Tigerdog I see you on here and BYB running the “Dombrowski won’t sign FAs” flag everywhere you go. I’d love to challenge you to a hypothetical internet bet: Tigers sign at least 3 FAs this offseason where the total value of the contract is over $25 million. Would you take it?

      The fact of the matter is, Dombrowski (incorrectly) thought he had a winner, he locked the core of his 2006 team into extensions (some foolish) and essentially handcuffed himself from making big FA pick-ups. Back when he got here he signed Ordonez and Pudge to big contracts. Do you really think he detests free agent signings or something?

      Just this past year he signed Damon and Valverde to rather sizable short-term deals, against the wishes of at least a good portion of the fan base. The man is not afraid to spend money on the open market, for chrissakes . . .

      • Nicker- I will take that bet. I would not be surprised to see DD sign three free agents, but he won’t sign three with contracts valued at $ 25 million or more. He hasn’t signed a single free agent contract for that amount since before the 2005 season.

        DD clearly uses free agency as a last resort to acquire players. That is understandable, but he is far, far too extreme in his methods, and also too extreme in handing out lavish extensions to mediocre players. He has made an exception for free agent closers, with Urbina, Jones, Jones again, Lyon, and Valverde all getting free agent contracts, but he has ignored needs all over the field with qualified, proven players available every season.

        The talk now, especially if you believe Tom Gage, is that DD will sign ONE “RBI bat”, but will let Damon go, not sign a starting pitcher, add an arm or two for the bullpen, probably not sign Magglio, and stand pat at 2B, SS, 3B, Catcher, and plug Coke in the rotation and Raburn in the outfield, batting third. I sure as hell hope we’re being low balled here, because that won’t cut it. I gotta believe that even DD will do better.

  8. Let’s get our facts straight, shall we?
    The amount of money coming off the books due to expiring contracts is $ 75 million. Not really close to the $ 50 million mentioned in this article. Ordonez, Bonderman, Robertson, Willis, Damon, Inge, Laird, Seay, and Everett all have contracts currently on the books that will expire. That does not include Peralta’s contract, which is being paid by Cleveland (the Tigers have to pay the $ 250 K buyout if they don’t pick up his option).
    The Tigers have exactly one player scheduled for a salary increase, and that’s Verlander’s $ 6 million raise.
    The Tigers have four arbitration eligible players: Miner, Zumaya, Raburn, and Galarraga- none of them will get big raises. Miner, Zumaya, and Brad Thomas are possible non tender options.
    The money is there to do what is necessary, whether through free agency, or trading for players with big contracts that are a year from free agency. However, no GM in the AL has signed fewer free agents since 2006 than Dave Dombrowski, and he has signed only one player and no position players to a multi year contract since 2006. Those methods must change if the Tigers are to be contenders in 2011.

  9. Tram3 5 years ago

    How about a trade of Boesch and Gallaraga to the Indians for Chow and Lewis? Indians look to go cheap and Tigers need a left hand stick with speed and defense?

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