The Detroit Tigers‘ bullpen has had its share of issues this season, but one of the few bright spots has been left-handed specialist Blaine Hardy. The 27-year-old Hardy is currently pitching to the tune of a 1-1 record, a 1.96 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP through 18.1 innings pitched. This also happens to be his first trip to the major leagues.
Hardy was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 22nd round back in 2008 and spent five years in their minor league system, but he never made it to the big leagues. Hardy was released by the Royals in Spring Training of 2013, but he was later picked up by the Tigers. He would divide his time between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in 2013, posting a combined record of 8-3 with a 1.67 ERA in 30 games.
Hardy began the 2014 season back in Triple-A and continued to perform well, pitching to the tune of a 3-2 record with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP through 47 innings pitched. Hardy’s solid numbers caught the eye of the Tigers, and he was called up on June 15 and has been awfully impressive ever since. He has certainly been a pleasant surprise out of the Tigers’ bullpen, and he could also prove to be one of MLB‘s great stories this year if he continues to perform the way he has thus far.
The emergence of Hardy could not have come at a better time as the Tigers have had tough luck with left-handed relievers this year, with Phil Coke and Ian Krol each sporting ERAs that are approaching 5.00 and WHIPs that are over the 1.55 mark.
For as great as Hardy is doing, however, the Tigers could still use another left-handed arm out of their bullpen to complement him and take the place of Coke or Krol. Trading for someone such as Andrew Miller of the Boston Red Sox or Antonio Bastardo of the Philadelphia Phillies would make perfect sense for the Tigers, and hopefully they acquire one of them before the non-waiver trading deadline this afternoon.