With the trade deadline approaching, the Detroit Tigers have one major need in the bullpen.
The Tigers’ bullpen has statistically been one of the worst in MLB so far this season, ranking 27th in the league with a 4.39 ERA and a BAA of .271, which is the highest in the majors. GM Dave Dombrowski has been known for making moves at the deadline, and this year should be no different. The bullpen has been the Achilles’ heel for the ball club during the past two postseasons, and something needs to be done for the team to avoid that same fate this year.
Names like Joakim Soria, Joaquin Benoit and Alex Torres have been rumored to be possible additions to shore up the bullpen, but the Tigers should focus on another name: Steve Cishek.
Cishek is currently the closer of the Miami Marlins, and if the Marlins are willing to trade him, he could be the perfect fit. He is currently 4-4 with a 3.05 ERA and 20 saves on the season, which would great improvements over current Tigers closer Joe Nathan‘s numbers.
Nathan was supposed to be the solution for the Tigers’ closer spot when he signed in the offseason, but he has been far from that. He has posted a 5.97 ERA, blown five saves in 22 chances, and has allowed batters to hit .281 off him, numbers that are nowhere near the ones he posted as an All-Star last season.
Whether or not this deal does happen will will rely on a couple of decisions. First, the Tigers must decide whether or not to stick with Nathan as the closer. Manager Brad Ausmus has stuck with his closer and has been adamant that he will stay as the team’s closer, but that could change if Cishek is available.
Cishek has done very well limiting runners as he has a 3.75 SO/BB ratio, and batters are hitting just .216 off of him. Nathan has struggled in both of those categories, and unless he can show drastic improvement over the next couple of weeks, the Tigers could opt to look elsewhere.
On the other side of the deal, the Marlins need to decide if they want to deal Cishek. Miami is currently five games out of first place in the NL East, and if the Marlins can stay in contention until the trade deadline, they may opt to keep Cishek.
When it comes down to it, Soria, Benoit and Torres may be more realistic options, but if the Tigers could end up with Cishek, it would be a much better fit.