By Daniel Leach @dtmleach
As we cross into the Fourth of July holiday and move ever so closer to the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline, the bottom line is the Tigers will be making a move.
Call it miscalculation by Dave Dombrowski, call it bad luck, but the Tigers are going to need to find an established closer for this season if they want to win the World Series.
The future does look bright with Bruce Rondon, but this is not the year. Joaquin Benoit has been great since being named the temporary closer, but his best work is as a set-up guy building a bridge to the 9th.
Here are my top 4 targets for the Tigers as they try to fill one of the most important roles on a team that is built to win it all, but has a glaring hole in this spot.
#4 Jonathon Papelbon-Philadelphia Phillies
Papelbon coming to the Tigers likely is a pipe dream, but of all the closer available out there I believe he is the best long-term viable option if the Tigers have cooled on Rondon as the closer in the near future, Paps could fill a void for several years. The large contract he carries and the Phillies new TV deal are likely reasons he won’t be moved though.
Bio Blast – 32 years old
Debuted on July 31, 2005 for Boston
Holds the Major League record for most consecutive scoreless innings to start a postseason career (25).
– Five time All-Star
– Won World Series in 2007
– Fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach 200 career saves.
– Was second in 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, losing to Justin Verlander
Contract Status-On November 11, 2011, Papelbon reached an agreement with the Philadelphia Phillies on a four-year, $50 million contract with a vesting option for a fifth year, bringing the total contract value to $60 million.
Numbers-In 497 appearances, he has a 30-25 record with a 2.32 ERA. He has 273 saves. He has pitched 531.0 innings, giving up 400 hits and only 157 runs, 137 of which were earned. He has allowed 43 homers and walked 138 batters. His WHIP is a low 1.013. Since joining Philly, his ERA has been 2.30 in the NL and he has collected 54 saves.
#3 Steve Cishek-Miami Marlins
Cishek is the youngest of the bunch and the cheapest. He has shown this year that he is a solid closer on an awful team that rarely has save situations in the first place. Cishek could come in and be a help either as the closer or a strong young arm in the pen. This would be the best value for the Tigers, but overall Cishek is largely unproven long-term as a closer.
Bio Blast – 27 years old
Debuted on September 20. 2010 for Miami.
During last year’s trainwreck of a season for the Marlins, Cishek took the closer’s job twice from Heath Bell
Contract Status- Currently on a one year major league deal worth $505,000.
Numbers-In 152 appearances, Cishek has 33 saves, recording 15 each of the past two seasons. He has allowed 124 hits in 157.1 innings. He has given up 57 runs, 47 of which were earned. He has allowed 61 walks. He has recorded 158 strikeouts. His career record is 9-7 and his WHIP is 1.176.
#2 Glen Perkins-Minnesota Twins
Perkins similar to Pappelbon would seem to be more of a long-term solution as opposed to just this season and with Bruce Rondon the heir apparent to take over as closer, Perkins likely would just be the closer this season and then a set-up guy. That being said he would not cost a ton, has good numbers on a poor Twins team, and knows the division well. His career numbers aren’t amazing, but he has been solid this year with a 2.05 ERA and 20 saves for a 36 win club.
Bio Blast – 30 years old
Debuted on September 21, 2006 for Minnesota
Perkins was a starter until being converted to a reliever in 2010 and becoming a full time member of the bullpen in 2011.
After the 2011 season, he won the Twins Pitcher of the Year Award and Twins Comeback Player of the Year Award.
Contract Status-On March 8, 2012, Perkins signed a three year, $10.3 million extension with the Twins. Perkins is guaranteed $2.5 million in 2013, and $3.75 million in both 2014 and 2015. There is a 2016 option for $4.5 million with a $300,000 buyout
Numbers-In 246 appearances, Perkins has a 27-17 record, collecting 38 saves with a 3.98 ERA. . He has given up 55 home runs and walked 123 batters. He has recorded 345 strike outs with a WHIP is 1.311.
#1 Rafael Betancourt-Colorado Rockies
Betancourt would be the best stop-gap solution for the Tigers. A pitcher who can be the closer on the Tigers run to a World Series, but does not need to be tied up contractually for a long time as he only will have one year left on his deal after this season. He won’t cost a ton and could be used as either the closer or just an extra experienced arm in the pen.
Bio Blast – 38 years old
Debuted on July 13, 2003 for Cleveland
Betancourt has never started a game in his career.
Was activated from the 15 day DL on June 28th
Contract Status-In January 2012, Betancourt agreed to a two-year, $8.5 million contract. 2013 was guaranteed at $4.25 million and a mutual option for 2014 is added with a $250,000 buyout.
Numbers-In 626 appearances, Betancourt has recorded 69 saves. Having pitched 638.1 innings, Betancourt has a 3.14 ERA, allowing 542 hits, 239 runs, of which 223 were earned.
He has walked 150 batters and given up 66 home runs. He has only hit one batter in his entire eleven year career.
Betancourt was 1-3 with a 3.20 ERA and 11 saves in 22 chances before straining his right groin on June 1.
He has converted on 52 of 70 save chances since he was acquired from Cleveland on July 23, 2009.
Research assist to @timothy_pontzer