clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Next Relevant Tiger Team: The Bullpen

(For an explanation of this exercise, click here.)

Franklyn German, short relief. German, like Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Pena, is part of the swag from the Jeff Weaver trade. He looked like the rotten part of the haul until this year, too, when, at 25, he's put it all together. Not arbitration eligible yet, as his performance has improved, he's remained 6'7" and massive. Suffering through the variances in his performance will be less exciting as he gets more expensive, but he'll be around for a while.

Jamie Walker, lefty specialist. Jamie Walker is 34 years old he throws 87 miles per hour, making him less than the prototypical member of a contending team of the future. After a million minor-league seasons, he's only getting started now, and he's only getting better. His role should diminish by 2007 -- turning into more of a true one out guy -- but the Tigers should have room for Walker, who has held lefties to a .250 OBA since joining the team, well into his baseball old age. Think Orosco, Remlinger, Assenmacher, etc.

Chris Spurling, mop-up. What Tiger reliever has been stuck with the most inherited runners in 2005? The answer is Spurling, even though he only joined the team on May 10, and he's prevented 9 of 14 from scoring. A Rule 5 pick like Wil Ledezma and BYB fave Chris Shelton, Spurling is big, young, cheap, and throws hard, if not as straight and as hittably as Fernando Rodney. We're going to choose to believe that Spurling, like German, has figured it out.

The Cuts:
--Kyle Farnsworth. By far the hardest choice here. Farnsworth has become a quick fan favorite with his mound antics, his live fastball, and his stellar performance. According to some fancy metrics at Baseball Prospectus that I'll quote without understanding fully, he's been the sixteenth best reliever in MLB this year. I also understand that some of the ladies like him. There's a downside, though. Farnsworth went through sustained periods of brilliance in his time in Chicago, only to then see his ERA shoot back north of 4.50 (or, in 2002, to 7.33). He can be great, but he's inconsistent and about to be expensive, and I think the Tigers can get similar production from an effectively free player like Spurling. Talk me out of it.
--Troy Percival. Percival has bounced between acceptably mediocre and really quite bad this year. He's at the end of the string, but thankfully he'll make $6 million this year and next. His was a signing that made me cringe the second I heard about it. When he promised to bring other marquee free agents to town, I stopped cringing, but it has started up again.
--Fernando Rodney. Rodney's been the closer waiting in the wings -- albeit deep in the wings -- for years. He throws fantastically hard, but he's always been hittable. I don't think he'll be an effective ML pitcher, at least not in Detroit, since somehow he's already 28.
--Doug Creek. He's 36, and he's our third-inning mop-up man.

So ends the first iteration of this exercise, leaving The Next Relevant Tiger Team as follows. We'll update it periodically, as performances or the composition of the roster changes. The team:

C -- Ivan Rodriguez
1B -- Chris Shelton
2B -- [open]
3B -- Brandon Inge
SS -- Carlos Guillen
LF -- [open]
CF -- [open]
RF -- Magglio Ordonez
DH -- [open]

SP -- [open]
SP -- Jeremy Bonderman
SP -- [open]
SP -- Nate Robertson
SP -- [open]

RP -- [open]
RP -- Franklyn German
RP -- Jamie Walker
RP -- [open]
RP -- Chris Spurling
RP -- [open]