So, after a week of spring training we’re feeling really good about the pitching staff, aren’t we? It’s ok. I promise. I mean, it’s only been a week. We can’t expect miracles. Right? Right?
Well, if Dontrelle, Nate, Zach, and Armando are going to be, uh, less-than-perfect, then at least we won’t have to worry about putting it all in the hands of these guys too often. The candidates who are looking to compromise compose the Tigers esteemed bullpen await you after the jump.
Todd Jones – Hey, there is no more Todd Jones Experience! Therefore, the bullpen is instamatically and fantastimically improved. ITS SCIENTIFIC FACT!
Kyle Farnsworth – Mourn ya til I join ya, pr0fe330r.
Joel Zumaya – The closer-in-waiting? A lot of the bullpen’s success this year is going to be on the shoulders of Zoom and his ability to shake off the injury bug that has plagued him for the past two seasons. If 2006 Zoom comes through that door, then we’re gonna be in business. If 2008 Zoom shows up, then we’re gonna have to hope that someone else is ready to shut the door in the 7th or 8th when called upon.
Fernando Rodney – The other closer-in-waiting? Rodney, like just about everyone in this bullpen, has had a career long struggle between potential and inconsistency. When his fastball is on and his slider is sliding, the flatbrimmed one is damn near untouchable. However, 2008 was not the case. Who can forget the joy of him taking the closer role from Todd Jones and then proceeding to get hammered everytime he hit the mound. 0-6 with a 4.91/1.56 is no way to live the final third of a ballgame. Rodney turns 32 this year and it’s his 7th season in Detroit. Time for Fernando to put up or be cut loose.
Clay Rapada – One of the few relievers last year that didn’t give me the chills everytime he came into the game. In retrospect, I’m not sure why that is considering his numbers were 4.22/1.57 and his K/BB was pretty much 1:1. It’s gotta be the sidearm delivery. It just gives off the impression that the guy maybe has some nasty stuff that he’s bringing to the party. He’ll have a solid chance to be the other lefty in the bullpen besides Bobby Seay.
Freddy Dolsi – Dolsi came up to Detroit in May on fire. He posted a 1.64 ERA that first month and seemed to be able to get out of most any jam he was put in. A 1:1 K/BB ratio that first month should have been the first sign that it was luck. Dolsi posted an ERA near 6.00 over his next 20 plus appearances, striking out 8 while walking 11. August seemed to right the ship a little and he finished September with a high ERA, but a much improved 12/5 over his final 9 innings.
Bobby Seay – The generally reliable lefty had a great debut for the Tigers in ’07, with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Those numbers jumped to 4.47/1.49 in ’08 as part of the continuing downward spiral of the Tigers pen. His K/BB ratio held steady from 38/15 to 58/25, so at least he had that going for him. Giving up 20 more hits over just 10 more innings was not so great, however. Most of the bad numbers came about towards the end of the season though, so perhaps it was fatigue?
Kyle Bloom – The Rule 6 pick is pretty much guaranteed to be with the pen this year and will provide additional left-handed relief. Let’s hope he shows a lot better than he had in his first five seasons in the Pirates minor league organization. His career 4.25/1.41 is not exactly awe-inspiring, but there’s gotta be something beside “HEY! ITS A LEFTY ARM!” that brought him to a roster-spot in ’09.
Casey Fien – Fien has had a pretty solid minor league career thus far, finally making it up to Toledo at the end of last year. He averages over a K per inning and has a career K/BB ratio of 173:34 in 164 minor league innings. A 2.90/1.09 ERA/WHIP hasn’t been too shabby either. If he were a lefty, we’d probably be calling him our bullpen’s lord and savior.
Brandon Lyon – The closer. For now. The Tigers are Lyon’s fourth team since he cracked the bigs with the Blue Jays in 2001. He’s been fairly solid thus far and did manage 26 saves last year for the D-backs in spite of himself. He did manage a better than 3:1 K/BB ratio, but he got hit hard in his 59 innings – 75 times in fact. However, he’ll be in good company in Detroit as he was also victim of an AWFUL second half. His first half numbers were pretty darn decent – a 2.43 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. The second half featured an 8.46 ERA and a WHIP over 2. His home/away splits were awful as well – solid road numbers, hideous home numbers. Will a new home in a pitchers park be the cure?
Ryan Perry – Like Porcello, the thought seems to be that he’s gonna be in Detroit sooner rather than later. And all it’s gonna take is an awful spring by one of these guys above to give him the shot. He’s got the advantage of having pitched for a major college program, which will hopefully limit his time in the minors. We need all the help we can get in the D.
There’s also a chance for this guy: