With the Tigers' bullpen needing a bit of help, the team appearing to be eyeing the Milwaukee Brewers, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi say. However, Detroit has not moved past window shopping at this point:
The interest from the Tigers and Orioles appears more preliminary at this point. The Brewers have not had formal talks with the Tigers recently, sources said.
The Brewers make for an interesting trade partner. Although the team has a poor record, it has several intriguing reliever possibilities.
With nine saves and a 1.25 ERA, "K-Rod" Francisco Rodriguez would appear the be the prize. But you can point to a number of relievers who work earlier in the game, too. John Axford, whose ERA is 3.84 but who strikes out better than a batter per inning, is one possibility. Then you've got former closer Mike Gonzalez, with a 3.13 ERA and 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. Tom Gorzlanny, though left handed, has a 2.12 and about a strikeout per inning, though his walk rate is a bit elevated. Finally, former Tigers farmhand Burke Badenhop may even be a possibility. A recent rough patch elevated his ERA from 3.20 to 4.14. He does not have the strikeout possibilities of others in Milwaukee's pen, but he does come in at the Brewers' lowest walks per nine innings.
Few of the players seem as if they'd be "sexy" additions -- the ones that get fans excited. But they may be serviceable, which is what the Tigers need at this point. Joaquin Benoit has been perfectly fine since taking over the closer role, and there's no reason to doubt he'll continue to finish games just fine. It's just that several pitchers before him could use upgrades. Al Alburquerque and Bruce Rondon have both turned in uneven performances this year, despite much potential. Lefty Darin Downs had been holding down things just fine, but took a turn for the worse in June and hit the disabled list. Bullpen is clearly the Tigers' weak point, and they'd be well served to look for several upgrades who can pitch earlier in games. Those should cost less, both in terms of dollars and in terms of prospects.
Milwaukee may or may not be the answer, but it's good that they're looking there.