Dave Dombrowski is at it again. After spending the first half of the season seeing exactly what he had in his bullpen he made a move late last night to addresses what all of us think is the weak part of this team. He dealt two pitching prospects to the Texas Rangers to add Joakim Soria at least for the rest of this year and quite possibly next year as well depending on what happens with Joe Nathan the rest of this year and in the post season.
Soria was probably the best relief pitcher out there this season, and while the Tigers paid a huge price to secure his services it is exactly the kind of move a team in win now mode should make. If and when the Tigers win the 2014 World Series no one is going to remember what was given up to add Soria. And while we can fault Dombrowski for many of his moves, like relying so heavily on Bruce Rondon over the last two of seasons, he has made a lot of that right by paying the price to get the peace this team most needs.
The bullpen has been the weak point for the Tigers in each of the last two seasons. While additions like Joba Chamberlain have worked out quite well, the big contract handed to Joe Nathan this past off season doesn’t look all that great and the gamble on Joe Haranahan has yet to bear any quality fruit. Now comes Soria, who gives the Tigers a trio of late inning arms that Manager Brad Ausmus can use in a number of different ways.
I would expect to start Soria will be used in the 7th inning role, and that is no small role on a club whose starting pitching has struggled to go a strong seven all season long. I would expect Joba to continue it his 8th inning role and for now Nathan to still be the closer. However, anymore significant hiccups will lead to Soria being the 9th inning guy with Nathan being move to another specialty.
While a lot of people are down on the Tigers minor league system it is now clear that their system is stock full of arms other MLB teams crave. Sure Corey Kneubel and Jake Thompson are now gone the system still boosts a number of big arms that could be dealt for even more bullpen help in the next nine days before we get to the trade deadline.
It appears that Dombrowski has finally learned his lesson with the bullpen and hopefully we will not have a repeat of what transpired in
last year. However this bullpen rebuild project is far from completed. It still looks like they could still use another left handed arm because Phil Coke and Ian Krol have not been all that effective. It would be nice to add another arm for the post season as well, and who knows maybe they have that arm in Haranahan already but relying on a guy this close to Tommy John Surgery doesn't seem like the best plan. Boston
The first move for the Tigers heading towards the trade deadline has been completed and it looks like one or two more are in store for this team.