Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Let's be realistic, the Tigers aren't on the verge of competing, especially in a division that seems to be getting tougher and tougher by the minute. Bullpen help is certainly needed, but why invest in a closer when the team you currently have is likely only capable of a sporting a .500 record. The Tigers need someone to head up the rotation, take the ball every fifth day, and give the team a chance to win. At this point in time, the only pitcher still available to the Tigers and within their reach is Kevin Millwood. He does turn 31 next month, but that doesn't change the fact that he's averaged 13 wins with an ERA well under 4 over his eight full seasons of big league experience. The Tigers have made big money investments in their offense the past two years, now it's time for them to make a similar upgrade in the rotation.
Mark Anderson, Minor League Editor
There are still a lot of valuable pitchers available for the taking, including Kevin Millwood (at least temporarily), Jarrod Washburn, Trevor Hoffman, Javier Vasquez, and the list goes on. The question is, at what cost? How much should the Tigers mortgage, whether it be money, years, or prospects to gain a pitcher of this caliber? Are these aforementioned players the aces the Tigers truly need to head up their youthful staff? I don't think they are. With that in mind, and with consideration given to the ludicrous contracts being handed to anyone available, I think the Tigers would be better off targeting good values for their bullpen. The bain of the Tigers the last two years has been an inept bullpen, and its now time to correct it; but not with overpriced veterans like Troy Percival. The bullpen arm I would be most pleased to see the Tigers bring aboard would be Octavio Dotel. I know, I know, he's still injured and likely won't be ready for Major League action until around mid-season, but hear me out. When healthy, Dotel has been an absolutely outstanding reliever. Dotel combines his power arsenal (career 10.87 K/9) with control (nearly a 3:1 career K:BB), and a dominating presence on the mound. Giving Dotel a low base contract for the 2005 season, with either one or two club/mutual option years would be a move worth the Tigers time. It's time for the Tigers to be progressive in their moves. If they're willing to gamble on players with injuries like Magglio Ordonez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Troy Percival, then why not do the same here; only this time with a player who's coming off a much more predictable injury (Tommy John Surgery). Protect your starter's leads DD, bring Dotel aboard.
Jason Avery, Amateur Baseball Editor
A.J. Burnett would've been my choice, but considering the contract he is going to get, I'll pass. Javier Vasquez would be a nice acquisition, but Detroit is on his list of six teams he can't be dealt to, so that ends that discussion. That leaves Kevin Millwood as the best possibility here. He will be 31 at the start of next year and I think the most important attribute he has is the experience of playing the mentor role as he did in Cleveland last year with the staff there. The Tigers don't have anyone with the winning pedigree Millwood has had in his career. If the Tigers were to get him for three years (pipe dream, I know), he would be a solid guy. I don't think he would put up the 2.89 ERA he did with the Tribe, but he is still good enough to be a solid-average guy and more importantly, be a leader for the other young arms who would be beginning their starts in Detroit in the coming years.
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