TigsTown Roundtable: Bullpen Struggles

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff on some of the hot button topics of the offseason? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: What should the Tigers do about the bullpen's struggles?

Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
Early on, it was important for the Tigers to not panic when it came to the bullpen and its production. But, now two months into the season and with the way the bullpen has been producing as of late, it might be time to start getting more aggressive in looking for ways to upgrade the group. Getting Fernando Rodney back, hopefully next week, will help, but the Tigers need more than on reliable reliever, and even Rodney has had his share of struggles. While a trade would certainly be possible, the Tigers farm isn't loaded with ideal tradable commodities. In other words, the Tigers aren't going to trade a guy like Dallas Trahern just to get a middle reliever when the Tigers could just as easily bring Trahern up. So, while the Tigers could look to trade, my guess is we start to see more and more young farmhands joining the 'pen, specifically Preston Larrison, Jordan Tata, and even Andrew Miller, as much as the Tigers would prefer to leave him in Erie to continue work on his craft as a starter. Sometimes, things don't go according to plan, and that may well mean it's time to break the Miller plan to help out the big league club.

Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
There's really no easy answer here. The Tigers bullpen struggles aren't some new thing that only they've had to deal with. EVery team faces it, every season. Reliever variability is incredibly maddening, and the Tigers are finding that out right now. Fortunately, what the have done, is stock solid options such as Tim Byrdak, Zach Miner, Jason Karnuth, etc. down at Toledo; and they can start working the roster to try and catch "lightning in a bottle." The demands to rush a prospect or trade for Joe Schmoe reliever seem a bit hasty in my mind; not the moves of a contender before June 1st. Fight, claw, and battle with what you've got in house, see if you can find a spark like you did with Tim Byrdak, and you never know what could happen. If we're still facing bullpen implosions in July, lets start talking trade to help the problem; until then, work with what we have.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
One thing the Tigers won't do is make a panic move that could have consequences for the future, but at the same time, something needs to be done. Tim Byrdak has a 3.12 ERA and has 13 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings, but he's also walked five. Outside of him, the Tigers have no one who is getting the job done. Granted, poor defense led to their downfall in Monday's loss, but you can bet Jim Leyland and the team's confidence is waning with the relief corps. If nothing changes, the starters will be worked harder to get deeper into games to avoid the bullpen as much as possible, which could have a profound effect on those arms when August's dog days come calling. You can bet Dave Dombrowski is kicking the tires and taking a look at potential trades, because you just can't sit back and wait in some cases. Don't get me wrong, the Tigers are in great shape from a won-loss standpoint, and given the injuries and lack of performance from the bottom of the order, I'm surprised they have as good a record as they do, but they could be easily passed by if something doesn't change, and in this case, you can't wait two months for Joel Zumaya, or to see if Fernando Rodney can make a solid return from his biceps problem. Since the Tigers don't really have any in-house options, I think you'll see them make a deal to solidify things.

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