Tigers Bullpen Notes: Veras, Benoit, Coke, Alburquerque

Sitting at home, watching the BoSox parade around Boston in duck boats, what moves might Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski be contemplating? While he always seems to deliver a major deal when it is least expected, says Jamie Samuelsen of the Detroit Free Press, Dombrowski would be wise largely to stand pat this time around. The recipe, in Samuelsen's view: keep Max Scherzer, bring back Omar Infante, shore up the bullpen, and gear up for another deep post-season run. Here are a few more notes on the Tigers, focusing on the pen:

  • In an early surprise, the relief-needy Tigers declined to pick up the option that the club held on Jose Veras. That option would have cost $3.25MM, but Veras triggered an escalator by finishing 42 games. The resulting $4MM price tag was apparently too rich for Detroit, though of course the club may not have been interested even at the lower value.
  • MLB.com's Jason Beck discusses the decision to move on from Veras, and what it means going forward. Though Dombrowski could be primed to spend in free agency, says Beck, don't be surprised if the club considers relying heavily on internal options like Bruce Rondon, Melvin Mercedes, Jose Ortega, and Casey Crosby
  • Of course, one option is to try and bring back another Tiger reliever who will be hitting the open market: last year's closer, Joaquin Benoit. James Schmel of MLive.com took a look at whether Benoit should and would return, predicting that he would land a two-year, $14MM plus incentives with the Tigers. MLBTR's Steve Adams recently provided a full profile of Benoit, and pegged his value in the same general range (two years, $16MM).
  • As Schmel notes, the Tigers could take a hard look at perhaps the premier closer on the market, Joe Nathan. If last year's closer saga is any indication, Detroit's hunt for late-inning arms will be one of the coming off-season's most interesting story lines.
  • As the club looks to round out its relief corps, it will have to decide on the fates of two options who are eligible for arbitration. According to the work of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz, lefty Phil Coke projects to earn $2.1MM, while Super Two righty Al Alburquerque is valued at $700k. Both struggled with sub-par earned run averages last year and could be non-tendered, though it would be especially tough to give up on the latter's strikeout capabilities given his low salary.

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