TigsTown Roundtable: Fix the Bullpen?

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: Is there anything the Tigers can do to fix their struggling bullpen?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The Tigers have reached put up or shut up time, and at this point, the Tigers don't really have the time or the ammunition to drastically overhaul the struggling bullpen. There are some easier moves to make (such as removing Fernando Rodney from the closer's role, and possibly from the team altogether), but there aren't any surefire prospects close to the big leagues, and those that could get a shot aren't necessarily going to be dominating. Casey Fien will certainly be considered for the next call-up, and if Ryan Perry pitches well, he'll likely get a look come September. But there is no magic bullet that will solve this problem. It was a problem coming into the season, and the issues have been magnified because of the struggles of Rodney and Todd Jones. If the Tigers continue to struggle, then the time might have come for the organization to turn the closer's role over to long-awaited closer-in-waiting Joel Zumaya and see how 'Zoom' can do in the role. But the Tigers have few options as of now, and are running out of time.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
At this point in the year, the window is closing rapidly on the Tigers potential playoff hopes. With a bullpen in shambles and two teams to climb in the Central, it just doesn't appear to be in the cards. With that said, it should provide an opportunity to see a few new faces; particularly when rosters expand. Drastic measures in the interim are unlikely to do much, and would require some work on the 40-man roster to do enough to have a significant impact. That work on the 40-man should likely be reserved for less insanity-driven times, during the offseason. Come the start of next month, I think it would be a fine experiment to get a bunch of innings under the belt of guys like Casey Fien and Clay Rapada, as potential fixtures in next year's relief corps; and even some innings for the likes of Ian Ostlund, Francisco Cruceta, Danny Zell, and Matt Rusch. It's time to stop worrying about filling holes for the next six weeks, and start worrying about evaluating possible components to a complete bullpen overhaul that appears drastically needed.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Outside of making callups from the minor leagues (Casey Fien being one possibility), there really isn't much that can be done. You can reshuffle the bullpen (again), and put someone else in the closer's role, but until the relievers in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings do their jobs, it isn't going to matter. It's a lot more difficult to trade for pitching in August because teams can claim players on waivers and block trades, so I wouldn't expect any deals to try and prop up the bullpen. Unless the Tigers want to get a look at some young guys that could contribute next year, it will likely be the status quo.

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