Potential Relief Pitcher Acquisitions for Detroit Tigers

By parmyjr22
Jun. 22, 2016

The Detroit Tigers may look to reunite with former closer Fernando Rodney before the trade deadline.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Tigers currently find themselves in third place in the American League Central with a record of 36-35 just 4.5 games back of the first place Cleveland Indians and in need of some bullpen help if they want to continue to compete within the division. To date the Tigers bullpen is responsible for at least 7 of the teams 35 losses on the season. Watching the bullpen has been painful to watch at times and when they were struggling the most in the month of May I found myself turning the games off so I did not have to witness implosion after implosion.

While closer Francisco Rodriguez, starter turned reliever Shane Greene, Justin Wilson and recent call up Bruce Rondon have all been solid out of the pen, while Drew VerHagen, Bobby Parnell, Blaine Hardy and most notably Mark Lowe have struggled immensely in their roles. General Manager Al Avila and the Detroit Tigers should look to add an arm before the trade deadline, preferably a seventh or eighth inning type of arm. The only issue is, despite an improved farm system, the Tigers still do not have much to offer prospect wise, but there are still enough pieces that Detroit could strike a deal for a reliever. Here are a few options the Detroit Tigers should consider trading for.

Despite amazing numbers, Detroit may not have to give up much to reacquire their former closer Fernando Rodney.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Fernando Rodney – San Diego Padres: The Detroit Tigers could look to reunite with former closer Fernando Rodney this season. For San Diego Rodney has posted a minuscule 0.34 ERA in 26.2 innings pitched earning 15 saves and striking out 29. Typically it would cost an arm and a leg to acquire a pitcher with the gaudy numbers Rodney has posted, however at the age of 39 and playing for a team that has managed only 30 wins on the season and is currently 15 games back in its division it is likely that Detroit could make a deal. If Al Avila chooses to pursue adding Rodney to the Tigers roster he should look to package an outfielder – possibly Jon Jay or Melvin Upton Jr. – to the deal, adding the needed outfield depth and killing two birds with one stone. In trading away a starting outfielder the Padres will be in need of outfield depth as well. The Tigers could offer Tyler Collins or Anthony Gose along with a low-level pitching prospect like Austin Kubitza or Artie Lewicki.

Jepsen has struggled out of the Twins bullpen this season. A change of scenery may be what the reliever needs.
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Jepsen – Minnesota Twins: Jepsen has struggled this season out of the Minnesota Twins bullpen. According to fangraphs.com Jepsen has posted a 5.46 ERA which is likely closely related to the .356 BABIP thus far in 2016. However, Jepsen does have seven saves on the season and has a solid track record, boasting a career 3.76 ERA. Outside of the career ERA, Jepsen threw 134.2 innings combined 2014 and 2015 recording 134 strikeouts. It is possible that Jepsen simply needs a change of scenery and Detroit could be the perfect landing spot for the struggling reliever. Detroit could offer up utility man Mike Aviles as a way to offset the remainder of Jepsen’s 1-year $5.31 million contract, or if they’re willing to take on the additional salary a mid-level prospect could likely land Jepsen in Detroit. If he were to end up with the Old English D on his chest Jepsen would likely be the seventh inning man for manager Brad Ausmus.

Rodriguez has pitched well for a struggling Oakland Athletics team, he could be a possible trade target for the Detroit Tigers.
Kenny Karst-USA TODAY Sports

Fernando Rodriguez – Oakland Athletics: Fernando Rodriguez is having a solid season for a struggling Oakland Athletics ball club. In 28 appearances Rodriguez has recorded 33 strikeouts to pair with an impressive 3.34 ERA, however, he has also walked 12 batters which is a bit higher than most would like. Over his past 15 games Rodriguez has struggled posting a 6.19 ERA, but would still be a nice addition to the Tigers bullpen. Detroit could part ways with a low-to-mid-level prospect to acquire the reliever to help the Athletics continue with their moneyball philosophy. Rodriguez would likely slot in as a sixth or seventh inning man for Detroit.