The Tigers recently acquired Jose Veras to fit their need for a good reliever. Some think they may need to make another move but I think one is enough, as bullpen pieces seem to change the most ut of any other position in baseball. Plus Danry Vasquez was already a steep price to pay. Veras is good and should do good but Vasquez was a big price to pay.
The Relief Aces
- RHP Joaquin Benoit
- RHP Jose Veras
- LHP Drew Smyly
Benoit has proven that he can be a closer and he’s just a great reliever any way you look at it. Smyly has been used in many roles this season and hasn’t failed yet, he won’t start a game this year and will continue to provide valuable relief innings, though starting is still his future. Veras was the closer for the worst team in the MLB but he was their best reliever and one the Tigers best relievers now. Veras has a chance of struggling some but I expect a good stay in Detroit and for him to be a good reliever.
- RHP Bruce Rondon
- RHP Al Alburquerque
Rondon was wild and not ready for the MLB when he first came up, but he has learned and still is. He is still a good late inning reliever to rely on for the rest of the season and I’d name him the fourth best in the bullpen right now but Alburquerque could do that if he just regains some control. I’m okay with him being a bit wild because his pitches move but he needs to stop putting balls over the plate and use his slider to pitch to weak contact. He can be as good as he was in that short stretch for the Tigers last year. He can better than his ERA suggests, but he needs to pitch like it.
- LHP Phil Coke
He’s been horrible, but I’ve seen some improvement lately and he has a good postseason track record and he’s a lefty, so he’s worth the spot if the Tigers slowly work him back into his role. He has hope, but it could go either way. I think the Tigers have to take a chance though.
The AAA/MLB guy
- RHP Evan Reed
Him and Putkonen bounce back and fourth when needed and he has done decent and will rack up some more innings and there’s reason to think he will implode but I like Putkonen better.
- LHP Darin Downs
- RHP Luis Marte
- RHP Octavio Dotel
Dotel may return in September and could have a very positive effect like Alburquerque did last year. Downs was just on rehab at West Michigan that I attended and I was impressed. He seemed like the good Downs that I saw last year in the late season. I think he can provide better innings now than earlier this year.
- RHP Luke Putkonen
- PHP Jose Ortega
- RHP Brayan Villarreal
All three of these guys will be on the club in September and will give it more depth and all have had bright spots in their career, Ortega and Putkonen have looked impressive this year and Villarreal should he could be a good reliever last year.
This bullpen has three aces and a top prospect, they just need a guy to step up and some guys to just do decent jobs and they will be in good shape. Bullpens can change fast and I like the direction that this one is heading in. It still could blow games and probably will still blow a few and won’t be the best in the AL, but it will be tolerable. No more trades will be needed though, Veras can help a lot.
A note on JV: He’s having a tougher year in his career but I think he will slowly start to do better this year and make a full rebound in the future. The contract getting to his head talk is stupid. He will still go out and compete and his velocity is still there. He’s still JV and he will still do amazing JV things.