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Tigers Are Rumored To Be Searching For A Closer: Papelbon Is High On The Hit List

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Friday, June.21/2013

It is is starting to like all to familiar to the baseball world when it comes down to late Tigers Pitching.  Dave Dombrowski simply can't go into the Post Season with what he has on his current Roster - based on recent track record.  This team needs to find a Closer via Trade - and be willing to mortgage some of the future - and take on even more salary if needed...otherwise the ramifications of a Bullpen Backfire would tarnish any success the club has had.

It is starting to like  familiar to the baseball world when it comes down to late Tigers Pitching in 2013. Dave Dombrowski simply can’t go into the Post Season with what he has on his current Roster – based on recent track record. This team needs to find a Premiere Closer via Trade – and be willing to mortgage some of the future – and take on even more salary if needed to accomplish this…otherwise the ramifications of a Bullpen Backfire would tarnish any success the club has had.  It is paramount to have a shutdown Game Finisher at the end of a Pitching Staff.  The Relief Core is a huge reason why Detroit has not run away with the AL Central already.  They possess a 5 – 13 Record (Have also blown 9 Saves in 25 Chances) – while carrying a 3.99 ERA (22nd in MLB).

By Matthew Lafave (Tigers Correspondent) 

During the off-season Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski prematurely appointed rookie Bruce Rondon as the closer. It’s a lot of weight on a pitcher who has never thrown a pitch in the majors before that.

No surprise to anyone, it did not pan out and Rondon started the season with Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens.

The ‘closer by committee’ began the season but after 3 blown saves and Octavio Dotel to the disabled list, it was time for a certified closer to come to Detroit.

So in an act of desperation the Tigers signed Jose Valverde to a major league deal on April 23rd.

Shocking to most fans he was still cheered when he made his first appearance of the season and actually got the close. But his success came to an abrupt end and currently has 3 blown saves, a 5.59 ERA, and has given up 6 home runs.

Jose Valverde Blows A Save

Jonathan Paplebon had a great first season with the Phillies. He had 38 Saves, 2.44 ERA, WHIP of 1.05, and 11.8 SO/9.  The Veteran Closer of 271 Saves has nailed down 14 more in 2013 - while featuring a 1.95 ERA in 27.2 IP. Papelbon is in the 2nd YR of a 3 YR/$39 MIL contract - with an attainable Vesting Option for 2015.  The Tigers should bring him in considering his playoff pedigree (7 Saves and 1.00 ERA - including being part of the 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox.

Jonathan Paplebon had a great first season with the Phillies. He had 38 Saves, 2.44 ERA, WHIP of 1.05, and 11.8 SO/9. The Veteran Closer of 271 Saves has nailed down 14 more in 2013 – while featuring a 1.95 ERA in 27.2 IP. Papelbon is in the 2nd YR of a 4 YR/$50 MIL contract – with an attainable Vesting Option for 2016. The Tigers should bring him in considering his playoff pedigree (7 Saves and 1.00 ERA – including being part of the 2007 World Series Champion Red Sox.)  With player locked up for a few more years apiece like Cabrera, Hunter, Martinez, Verlander,Scherzer, Sanchez, his salary years in term would fall right in line with their championship window.

Rumors have really taken off the past few weeks, especially centered on Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Phillies have been rumored to want to move him to clear up some cap space. He is under contract until 2015 with a vesting option for 2016, all at $13 million a year.

The Tigers are among three teams to be looking into Papelbon – the Red Sox and Cardinals the others. His contract is heavy but Papelbon is one of the most dominant closers in the league and he could even need a change of scenery.

Coming off his second blown save on Wednesday night, Papelbon seemed to question the fundamentals of the Philadephia Phillies:

“This is a game of fundamentals and we’ve got to do fundamentals right and keep grinding,” he said. “It’s a game of who grinds the most and who plays the best fundamental baseball. That’s pretty much it.”

He went on to say, “I’m not pointing fingers at anyone. It’s a team effort here. To be able to win and be in the forefront of the playoff race, you have to play good fundamental baseball and do the little things, and the little things are before the pitches are thrown.”

Nothing too major to read into but it does seem to signal that he may be unhappy in the City of Brotherly Love. It was only a season ago he was questioning the lack of leadership within the Phillies organization.

He isn’t the only choice at closer though as other names have been circulating, even including a few A.L. Central teams.

The Indians Chris Perez is a big name that is almost running himself out of Cleveland. However, he wouldn’t exactly be welcomed in Detroit due to his comments he made about the team last season:

“You look over there and you’ve got Cabrera and Fielder and Verlander and Valverde. But that doesn’t win baseball games. Good teams win baseball games.”

With the Indians being so close behind the Tigers in the standings, a trade like this is pretty unlikely unless they completely unravel by the trade deadline.

The Twins Glen Perkins is a name floating around but Twins GM recently said he’d rather see Perkins pitch for them instead of against them.

Other names heard throughout rumor mill – Steve Cishek (MIA), Rafael Betancourt (COL), Huston Street (SD), Tom Wilhelmsen (SEA), and Bobby Parnell (NYM).

Other options are naming 8th inning man Joaquin Benoit the closer or even Drew Smyly. Either option is not exactly a long-term fix. Benoit has problems giving up home runs every now and then but is having a very impressive year thus far.

Smyly seems to be the fan favorite in closing games but does have problems against right handed hitters.

The closer by committee seems to be the way to go in recent games – Benoit and Smyly have each earned a save in the past week.

But the Tigers need a certified closer that they can trust to close out those tight games at the end of the season and more importantly in the postseason.

Would you want Benoit closing out a 1-run game in the 9th in a game 7? How about Smyly, the 24-year-old, doing the same?

The Tigers and the fans need someone who won’t make them bite their nails off when they enter the game.

Either way you look at it, they will be buyers at the trade deadline and Jose Valverde may just see his time running out in Detroit (again).

The final piece of the puzzle is out there somewhere but he’s not a Detroit Tiger just yet.

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in     2011 and 67 Last Year.  he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49.  It was a Sept/Oct swoon   of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles - before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series.  He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal,

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in 2011 and 67 Last Year.} he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49. It was a Sept/Oct swoon of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles – before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series. He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal a few months ago ( if he made the big league roster.)  While staring off decent when he first returned – ‘Valverde has derailed in the last 28 Days – sporting an ERA of 11.88 – most damage of which came in his abysmal back to back  appearances versus the Orioles.  The 36 Year Old yielded 8 Earned Runs, plus 3 HRs in just 1.2 IP. His Closing days may be numbered.

*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***

A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Tigers Correspondent’ Matthew LaFave for preparing today’s featured article.  Matthew was born and raised outside of Detroit, Michigan. Growing up watching all of the Detroit sports with his father,  he began to enjoy writing about them in high school.

At first started out as e-mails between his father turned into a Detroit Lions blog website titled ‘Hear Me Roar’. Matthew would go on to get a job as ‘Detroit Tigers Writer’ at the website http://www.examiner.com.

He has been writing for them for over two seasons and regularly attends games as a credentialed media member. Be sure to follow him on Twitter 

matthew lafave

Please e-mail me  at: mlbreports@gmail.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the Daily Reports sent directly to your inbox, click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About chuckbooth3023

I played competitive baseball until 18 years old and had offers to play NCAA Division 1 University Baseball at Liberty University. Post-concussion symptoms from previous football and baseball head injuries forced me to retire by age 19. After two nearly made World Record Attempts in 2008, I set a New World Record by visiting all 30 MLB Parks (from 1st to last pitch) in only 24 Calendar Days in the summer 0f 2009. In April of 2012, I established yet another new GWR by visiting all 30 Parks in only 23 Calendar Days! You can see the full schedule at the page of the www.mlbreports.com/gwr-tracker . In 2015, I watched 224 MLB Games, spanning all 30 MLB Parks in 183 Days. Read about that World Record Journey at https://mlbreports.com/183in2015/229sked2015/

Posted on June 21, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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