Barring an implosion, the Detroit Tigers look poised to coast to a relatively easy playoff berth and the addition of quality relief pitcher — and experienced closer — Joakim Soria helps sew up one of the few loose ends on an otherwise championship caliber team.
A related Inquisitr report spells out the case that the Tigers don’t have much chance of going all the way this year unless they make some radical changes to their bullpen. The trade for Soria seems to have addressed that, at least in part. The Tigers aren’t the only team working to improve their pitching. The A’s recently added two pitchers that Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander claims were added with a playoff showdown against the Tigers in mind.
Of course, there’s a lot of baseball left to be played, but who seriously thinks the Cleveland Indians, Minnesota Twins or Kansas City Royals are going to catch Detroit? The Tigers hold the largest lead of any of Major League Baseball’s division leaders, a full seven games in front of the Royals. Even if one of those teams gets red hot and makes a run for the Tigers, they would still be well-situated to contend for a wildcard spot.
Don’t look for the Detroit Tigers to focus on the wildcard, though. There’s a reason Dombrowski is shoring up the Tigers’ shaky bullpen. He has his eyes on the franchise’s first World Series championship since 1984. While no one’s going to say that out loud just yet, you can rest assured everyone in Detroit’s front office is thinking about it. It’s not like the idea of improving the bullpen was new. An AP report quotes Dombrowski:
“We’ve been working on trying to find someone in the bullpen for an extended period. It’s something we’ve been focused on for a while. For the month of July, at least.”
So is the addition of Joakim Soria the final piece of the puzzle for the Detroit Tigers? Probably not.
According to a Sports XChange report, the Tiger’s plan to use Joakim Soria as their seventh inning man. That’s likely a great way to get the Tigers out of the seventh with minimal damage, but it doesn’t do anything about the erratic closing position. Joe Nathan has not exactly lived up to the hype in Detroit this year, tying for second in the league in blown saves (5). Of course, if Nathan continues to make Tigers fans nervous every time Brad Ausmus gives him the call, it’s entirely possible that Joakim Soria could compete for the closer’s job.
Look for Detroit to keep looking for a strong left arm for the bullpen. A Fansided report mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies’ Antonio Bastardo as a leg imitate possibility. With left handed batters hitting a minuscule.143 against him, he could certainly add another weapon to a bullpen that could still use an addition or two — and more importantly, a subtraction or two.
What do you think? Is the addition of Joakim Soria enough to shore up Detroit’s pen? Who would you like to see the Tigers add before the deadline?