Everyone knew it. The Detroit Tigers had to make a move to add bullpen help, likely another closing candidate, and they did just that nabbing Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers for a pair of prospects.
"We're very happy to have Joakim on board with us," Dave Dombrowski said in a Thursday morning conference call. "(Adding a bullpen piece) is something we've been focused on for a while." Dombrowski added that Soria's personality and his ability to pitch in innings seven through nine were elements that played a role as Detroit identified targets.
But what might happen next? Will the Tigers, even with Soria in the fold, make another move? When asked that question, Dombrowski was understandably reluctant to give specifics, and played plenty of word games.
"We're still open-minded to getting better," he said. "Our bullpen has been our major focus and will continue to be our major focus."
Would a left-handed pitcher be included in that conversation? "We're open-minded to a lot of different thought possesses," Dombrowski reiterated. What about a left-handed bat for the lineup or a veteran infielder?
"I don't know that either one of them would be high on our priority list at this point in time," he said.
So, the Tigers are still wide open for business this July. To a point. Dombrowski, while speaking glowingly as expected about Soria and remaining as quiet as possible on Joe Nathan's often wobbly role in the ninth inning did confirm as much.
A few tell-tale nuggets managed to fight their way through his silly-season executive speak, though. Dombrowski referenced he was currently in Erie, and repeatedly mentioned the word "depth" while referencing Detroit's farm system. "Our system is as strong as I've ever seen it," he said. Specifically, he mentioned the impressive coffers of pitching, and also noted a resurgence in positional depth.
Translation #1: Detroit has the firepower needed to make another move, so expect the Tigers to remain in the rumor mill, probably with regards to more relief pitching. Interestingly enough, during the teleconference, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted that Detroit was still hunting a left-handed hurler, but also considering right handed relievers as well according to his sources.
On Soria's arrival, expected prior to Thursday's game in Anaheim, Dombrowski said it best: "it was a necessity at this point in time to get something for the back end of our bullpen."
Will that something soon turn into something else? Is another arm a necessity, too? While he wouldn't say anything explicitly, the fact that Dombrowski's keeping an open mind about everything—Soria's role included— should speak volumes. Detroit probably needs another relief pitcher to feel good about their chances. And though Dombrowski appeared to pour cold water over the notion, if the right deal came along, don't put it past him to add lineup depth, either.
It's officially silly season with regards to rumors, and Trader Dave isn't confirming or denying anything while keeping his options open.
Translation #2: continue to expect the unexpected.
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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