Whether we realized it or not, a left-handed reliever is apparently high on the Detroit Tigers' off-season shopping list. The team has reportedly shown interest in Darren Oliver and Arthur Rhodes (yet never seemed to be in on Jeremy Affeldt), and now might be pursuing Joe Beimel.
This past season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Beimel compiled a 5-1 record and 2.02 ERA in 71 appearances, with 32 strikeouts and 21 walks over 49 innings. The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals were both rumored to be looking at him, as well, though the Giants' signing of Affeldt yesterday presumably means they'll be moving onto other needs.
Why the Tigers might be chasing Beimel, but didn't take a shot at Affeldt is a bit of a mystery. Maybe they were just never in that hunt.
It's also curious that they're seemingly so determined to bring in another lefty, with Bobby Seay and Clay Rapada still on the roster, and Macay McBride just signing a one-year contract. As Jason Beck points out, however, lefties batted .303/.366/.404 against Seay in 2008, while Rapada averaged almost six walks per nine innings and McBride is coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Left-handers hit .278/.330/.311 against Beimel last season. In 2007, however, he held lefties to a .188/.240/.250 average. Perhaps most impressive is the one home run he's given up in the past two seasons.
And if all else fails, check out the hair on that guy. If the Tigers end up trading Magglio Ordonez, Beimel could step into the designated long-haired man role on the roster. (Unless Freddy Garcia comes back and maintains the Magglio Hair Club curly locks look.)