Tigers appear more likely for setup help
The Tigers continue to search the market for relievers, and they continue to scout potential trading partners. This weekend, they have scouts watching the Marlins, Brewers, Padres, Mariners and Astros, according to CBSSports.com’s Danny Knobler.
The wide scouting search isn’t unusual for the Tigers, who leverage the strength of their Major League scouting department this time of year.
The longer the search goes on, however, the more likely it appears they’ll look for setup and middle relief help rather than any major deal for a veteran closer.
The Tigers were told recently that the Marlins have no intention of trading closer Steve Cishek, who’s under team control for another four years and doesn’t become eligible for arbitration until this winter. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro has reported that the Marlins could deal him if they were overwhelmed by an offer, such as a package including a top prospect such as Nick Castellanos. But while the Tigers don’t declare any player untouchable, it’s unlikely they’ll deal Castellanos for a closer.
Detroit still views Bruce Rondon as the long-term answer at closer, and his recent success in seventh- and eighth-inning opportunities has helped give that some momentum. More important for now, Joaquin Benoit’s success in save situations has stabilized the closer role in the short term, and arguably provided the Tigers with the bridge they needed.
With the Phillies seemingly intending to hold onto Jonathan Papelbon (or at least not unload him in a salary dump) and Cubs closer Kevin Gregg not looking appealing as an option (his career numbers in the American League are much worse than the National League, and the Tigers have passed on him before), the path to a stable bullpen appears more likely to come from filling in behind Benoit with setup help than filling the top spot. Seattle and Milwaukee, though, have relievers with closing experience.
— Jason Beck