There’s about to be a sigh of relief in the state of Michigan. The Tigers are starting to look like the dominant team they were supposed to be.
With less than 100 hours left until the trade deadline, the Tigers are 7-3 since the All-Star Break and sit 14 games above .500, with a three-game lead over the Cleveland Indians.
That was the big inhale for the sigh of relief. The beginning of the exhale came when third baseman Miguel Cabrera returned to the lineup Saturday with a home run in his first at bat after missing four games with a sore hip flexor.
The sigh of relief will be completed when the front office makes a move in the next few days.
Or that breath might turn into a gasp for air if that doesn’t happen.
Tigers fans are getting a little antsy as the July 31 deadline approaches, and they’re still looking at a struggling bullpen that really needs some help. While a few pieces are starting to pan out (Drew Smyly, current closer Joaquin Benoit and maybe a few other guys), they still need one more piece to turn this team into the machine it has potential to become.
Possible names for those pieces:
Joe Nathan, Texas:
There have been reports that the Tigers and Rangers have talked about a deal that could send the former Central foe to Detroit. He has 32 saves and a stellar 1.73 ERA for the second-place Rangers. He could really work out
Johnathon Papelbon, Philadelphia
The Phillies are struggling, and the former Red Sox stud said last week “I didn’t come here for this.” That certainly puts him on the market, and his 20 saves and 2.27 ERA make him very attractive for the Tigers.
Glenn Perkins, Minnesota:
Perkins has been about the only good thing for the Twins this season, with 25 saves and a 2.03 ERA.
Possible Tigers players that could be moved:
Dirks has been a great upstart player for the Tigers over the past few years, and he’s starting to get a name in the big leagues. While he would be an easy sell for other teams, it would be a shame to see him leave Motown.
Kelly isn’t the greatest player, that’s for sure. But he sure is valuable. He can play just about any position, and while fans gripe about him, it would be good to see him stick around.
Garcia is a good outfielder with some power in his bat, and the Tigers have enough depth in the outfield to send him out. This could be the smallest blow for the Tigers, but also an attractive pick up for another team.
This prospect is someone that the Tigers better not move. He’s batting around .300 with 13 HR. This 21-year-old is going to be big some day, and they need to keep him around.
Manager Jim Leyland needs one more piece in his bullpen
This is always an exciting time of the summer for baseball fans, and this year Detroit is right in the thick of things. As the next few days pass, expect something big to happen. If they do make a move to solidify the bullpen, either with a closer, or another setup man to help out Benoit (who has actually had a good season), you can also expect the Tigers to be in the thick of things at the end of the summer.