From now until July 31, plenty of rumors about the Detroit Tigers will arise. Until the day of reckoning, we're here to help make sense of it all.
The one move the Detroit Tigers are likely to make on or before July 31 is a trade for experienced bullpen help. Despite the way the pen has rounded into form, the need is still clear for someone to provide assistance during late innings.
Of the five names mentioned most with the team, each are ranked in order of the best possibility to the worst. Which reliver should the Tigers target above all other options from now until the end of the month? Here's a few thoughts.
1. Joakim Soria. Obviously, including the best available name on the market is a must, especially when the Tigers are said to be both interested and scouting Soria. As far as lock-down options go, Soria's likely the best, as he's posted 16 saves with a 2.67 ERA. He also knows the Central Divison, having pitched in Kansas City for the majority of his career. Soria will cost plenty given he has a team option for 2015, but it could be worth it for the Tigers to have quality insurance for Joe Nathan and keep a top addition around for an extra year.
2. Chad Qualls. The veteran Qualls could be an ideal piece for the Tigers, especially if they don't wish to give up the prospect haul that Soria will likely command. Considering he has both closing and middle relief experience under his belt, Qualls also makes sense from a baseball standpoint, and has been good much of 2014. Considering the position the Astros are in, he would be a cheaper option than Soria, and could add a veteran flair to the back end.
3. Joaquin Benoit. Familiarity is always an excellent option, and Detroit is certainly familiar with Benoit, who they used to back stop a few separate appearances in the playoffs the last two years. With news that he's avalible, the team might jump in again considering how solid he's been in 2014, posting a microscopic 1.86 ERA with 45 strikeouts and only nine walks. The price might be high for Benoit too, considering he's a free agent in 2016.
4. Huston Street. A popular name linked with the Tigers since seemingly the beginning of the year, Street is the San Diego Padres' closer, and statistically, he's been the best of any option, with a 1.09 ERA and 24 saves. Cost would likely be prohibitive for the Tigers, who might prefer Benoit to Street anyway thanks to his ability to pitch in other innings. The idea is appealing, but only if the first three options fall through. Interestingly enough, the Los Angeles Angels might already be trying to snap Street up early.
5. Jason Frasor. The only pure free agent option Detroit's rumored to be looking at, Frasor would probably come at the lowest cost of any reliever. He hasn't had a great season in Texas (3.34 ERA with an ugly 14 walks) but has logged 29.2 innings. If the Tigers whiff on everyone else and don't want to pay too much of a cost to get an arm, that's the only way Frasor should be the pick. Likely, that won't happen, making him a long shot.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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