Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Letting Jamie Walker leave this offseason felt like the smart move at the time, as he was getting a lot of money, and the Tigers had Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney to be effective setup men. But with Rodney's struggles and Jose Mesa's ineffectiveness (up until he was placed on the disabled list), the Tigers 'pen is looking a little thin. Some may say it's too early to panic, and I don't think the Tigers need to panic. However, in a race that the Tigers know will be tight, they'd be foolish to simply sit back and hope that Rodney returns to the dominating pitcher he was last year. If things don't improve over the next couple weeks, the Tigers should start looking harder at moving someone in the minors to acquire a setup man to help stabilize things. While a minor league call up would likely be preferable, no one has yet to emerge as the next starter if/when they decide to replace Chad Durbin, so it'd likely be be easiest to fill a bullpen role via trade.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
I'm not sure there is much the Tigers can do about the 'pen right now. They just have to ride it out. Use the hot arms in the high leverage situations, and wait for the others to figure it out. Guys like Jones, Zumaya, and Ledezma have been good, and their use should be maximized as much as possible during critical moments of games. Rodney is too talented to be this bad all year, and I think once his neck is cleared up, you'll see a return to form. Bullpens are often the most unpredictable component of any team, and it appears the Tigers are no different. They have the talent, and they just need to wait it out right now, and hope the offense picks up the slack until things get back on track.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Outside of looking at the minor leagues, there really isn't much you can do presently. Most teams don't make trades this early in the season, but newspaper reports have suggested the Tigers have looked at Cubs left-hander Will Ohman. The big concern for me is Fernando Rodney, because he's been simply dreadful, and the Tigers need him to have that shut down capability from the seventh inning on. Jason Grilli and Jose Mesa have also struggled, with the latter presently on the disabled list. One thing is for certain. The Tigers need to get this straightened out quickly, and if it means getting rid of Grilli and Mesa, then so be it. Jim Leyland has always said he wants the best players in Detroit, and if better options present themselves either through the minors, or via a trade, Leyland must not be stubborn and hope things turn around, because you can easily fall out of contention waiting for something that may not happen.
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