By: Kurt Snyder
It’s a pretty popular opinion among Tiger fans that when and if Verlander returns to the rotation, that Kyle Lobstein will fit in well in the pen. I pretty much fall in line with that opinion.
The Tigers do lack that guy that can come in for an ineffective starter and keep his team in the game with 3-4 innings of work. And Lobstein seems to be a guy that would fill that role nicely and make the pen just a little bit deeper. But who knows when that opportunity will present itself as Verlander doesn’t sound like he is anywhere near ready to return to the rotation.
In the meantime, Lobstein has pitched better every game, making him a pretty valuable fill in for Verlander.
But here is an opportunity for the Tigers to consider. Whether they wait until the trade deadline or make a move sooner, there are teams that appear to be ready to pull the cord on dealing some pretty good pitchers.
The Brewers and the A’s are two teams that may be looking to unload some talent for some farm help and the Tigers have always been very accommodating in unloading their future for some talent that could help them right away.
It just so happens they could use another starter. Why? Well, to help the bullpen of course. When we acquired Alfredo Simon before the season, I was certain he was brought on board to fill a much needed spot in the bullpen. Simon, who has had more extended experience and success in the pen than he has as a starter, is a guy that could fill that 7th or 8th inning role before Brad hands the ball to Soria.
I understand that he won 15 games as a starter last year in Cincinnati, but the Big Pasta can throw a 95 mph fast ball and could be another one of those guys who could really let it go and dominate for an inning late in the game where we so desperately need the help.
Who would we give up to do this? Well, Stephen Moya isn’t exactly tearing up Toledo and beating down the doors of Comerica Park, so it doesn’t really scare me if that’s who it would take to get another starter that could free up Simon to make the move to the bullpen.
Who would we get? Well one intriguing thought might be Oakland’s Scott Kazmir. He is someone who has been linked to Boston as a possible destination, a team that has struggled with their starting pitching so far this season.
But forget the Red Sox! Kazmir would give the Tigers another lefty starter and a good one. Scott had a comeback year last year with the A’s, winning 15 games and posting an ERA in the mid 3’s. He has followed that up with a strong start to this season, but the A’s have gotten out of the gate pretty slow and may unload him for the right package.
Kazmir will be a free agent after this season and should they have interest in keeping him, he would be a much cheaper option for the Tigers if they decide to not retain David Price. This is all contingent of course on Kazmir coming here and doing well.
Adding another solid starter, especially a lefty, would actually strengthen two areas at once and is a combination Tiger fans could get excited about. A move like this would get closer to evening the playing field with the Royals in the Central.
The Tigers actually have a couple good candidates who could settle into a 7th inning role like Angel Nesbitt or Alex Wilson. Now, if they can catch a break and be able to add a Bruce Rondon late in the season, we would really be talking about a pretty solid roster ready to make another run.