JP Morosi at Fox sports has posted on twitter that the Tigers have inquired of the San Diego Padres about their relief pitching. Morosi speculates that the Tigers may be interested in closer Huston Street, or set up man Luke Gregerson.
I, for one, would be reluctant to trade for Huston Street. Of all the relief pitchers that we profiled here on BYB, Street would be at the bottom of my wish list. Gregerson, on the other hand, has been a solid set up man and could give the Tiger bullpen a lift.
Street is under contract for $ 7 million in 2013, $ 7 million in 2014, and the Padres hold an option for 2015 for another $ 7 million. The once dominant closer has been almost completely ineffective this season, although injuries may have played some part in that. The nine year veteran has spent four seasons with Oakland, three with Colorado, and two with the Padres, including this year.
Street has an impressive career stat line. In 506.2 innings, he has struck out 507 batters, has an ERA of 3.06, a WHIP of 1.04, and chalked up 207 saves. He has struck out a batter per inning, while walking just 2.3 per nine frames.
This year, however, has been a struggle. Street has an ERA of 4.02, and peripheral stats that suggest that number is probably lucky. Street has an FIP of 6.76, a BABIP of just .220, and a WAR of negative 1.3. His K rate is down sharply, to just 5.4 per nine innings, while his walk rate has remained constant.
Luke Gregerson is in his fifth season in the majors, and he earns a salary of 3.2 million with one year of arbitration remaining before he can become a free agent. He has an ERA of 2.93, and FIP of 2.98, strikes out 8.1 batters per nine, and walks just 1.8 per nine innings. His career numbers are similar, just over one strikeout per inning, a 2.92 ERA and an FIP of 3.00. He would be more in line with the type of pitcher I'd be looking for if I were Dave Dombrowski.
Typically, a closer takes more to acquire in a trade, but it may be the case that Street's recent injury history and his salary would reduce the asking price. For Gregerson, the Padres trade of Mike Adams to Texas in 2011 might be a comparable deal. San Diego traded Adams, who was similarly good as a set up man for a couple of second tier prospects in Robbie Erlin and Joe Wieland.
Ken Rosenthal, meanwhile, is the latest to report that the Tigers and Red Sox have been talking to the Milwaukee Brewers about their closer, Francisco Rodriguez.
The Brewers have a collection of relievers that might interest either Boston or Detroit. Rodriguez is the new closer, who signed a minor league deal in the winter, a real bargain, and regained his dominant form just as former closer John Axford was struggling. Axford now seems to be back on track as well.
Former Tigers' minor league pitcher of the year, Burke Badenhop, who was traded to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera deal, could be available, as could starter/ reliever Tom Gorzelanny. Once again, the closer would be the one that would require the most to obtain.
For a complete list of relief pitching trade candidates and how they compare with current Tiger relievers, check this chart. at fangraphs.