What’s next for Tigers before trade deadline?
Could Wednesday’s trade for Joakim Soria be the opener of a two-part move to upgrade the Tigers bullpen? Possibly.
“Our bullpen has been a situation that has been our major focus, and I guess would continue to be our major focus if we are going to do something,” Dombrowski said on his Thursday morning conference call. “I’m not sure if we will or will not, but we’re still open-minded to it.”
Could the Tigers shift direction and make that much-speculated move for a left-handed hitting outfielder or a veteran shortstop? That seems less likely.
“I don’t know that either one of them would be real high on our priority list at this point,” Dombrowski said.
The part about acquiring another reliever was one of the first questions posed to Dombrowski on the call. The spotting of a Tigers scout watching the Phillies, whose bullpen includes lefty Antonio Bastardo, sparked discussion of whether the recent struggles of Ian Krol to go with Phil Coke’s up-and-down season might Detroit to add a southpaw.
Dombrowski wasn’t getting into details on a game plan for the final days before next Thursday’s nonwaiver Trade Deadline, but he clearly left the door open for another move.
“I wouldn’t say specifically what we’re addressing. I guess we’re open-minded to a lot of different thought processes,” he said. “Our bullpen has scuffled at times. I think that a real key is you want to have people out there who put up zeroes for you, that can put down shutdown innings and also throw strikes on a consistent basis. We’ve scuffled, not everybody, but a lot of guys collectively at that. Again, we remain open-minded if something happens that makes sense to make us better before the trading deadline.”
Positionally, on the other hand, Dombrowski seems pleased. He praised Eugenio Suarez and his handling of the shortstop job.
“We are comfortable with Suarez. He’s done a very nice job for us,” Dombrowski said. “To sum it up, he’s mature beyond his years and seems to handle situations very well. He’s been solid defensively for us, which is first and foremost, and we think he can continue to do that. He’s a youngster, so you have to realize he’ll go through some ups and downs, but he’s also contributed offensively. … But he doesn’t seem overwhelmed at all.”
As for the lefty bat situation, Dombrowski indicated that he expects Andy Dirks to make it back to the big leagues in time to make a difference.
“I think Andy Dirks is going to come back here,” he said. “He’s making progress again. I think he’s going to help us.”