Well, ponder no more.
With Joel Zumaya's elbow turning into so much paper mache, Fu-Te Ni being unable to get out anyone, let alone lefties, which led to his being sent down, Ryan Perry remaining a question mark (I'm sure Friday's rotten outing raised plenty of questions with the Tigers' brass), and the Tigers using Jose Valverde more and more in non-save situations (such as his appearance in Friday's 7-3 win), Jim Leyland has admitted the Tigers are in the market for bullpen arms.
Once again, it's Jason Beck of MLB.com with the money quote:
"We would like to shore up our bullpen with maybe a little more of a veteran guy or something, if he's out there," Leyland said Saturday afternoon. "I don't know if they are out there or not. I'll leave it at that.
But Leyland didn't leave it at that...
"I'm not saying it has to be a veteran, veteran reliever. Somebody that's maybe had a little more experience. We aren't going to lie about it. We'd like to have that. It's pretty tough to have as many kids as we have down there now."
The Tigers have become amazingly dependent upon their young players...who have never been through the rigors and pressures of a big time pennant race. So I can agree with the need for some veteran arms in the pen.
The non-waiver trade deadline is still 3+ weeks away, so we're still not sure exactly who will be available, and what will the cost be. Maybe what I should ask is this; how much are the Tigers willing to pay?
There's one thing worth noting with this admission. Out of all the positions most often mentioned in need of help (SP, SS, C, RP), trading for relief pitching will be the least costly in terms of players/prospects/cash.
The AL Central is there for the taking. The Tigers know it, and Leyland believes the front office will act accordingly.