The Philadelphia Phillies have been scouting the Tigers' minor league organization, Danny Knobler of CBS Sports wrote. That, of course, helps to feed the rumor mill that the two teams could come to an agreement to ship Jonathan Papelbon to Detroit. However, Knobler writes a deal is unlikely to be found.
Connecting dots doesn't always lead to a trade, and people who speak regularly with Tigers management continue to insist they won't be involved in a Papelbon trade.
The biggest impediments: Papelbon will be expensive, both in terms of prospects and in terms of future salary. Although the fact he's owed several more seasons of $13 million per should detract from his cost in terms of prospects, the Phillies don't seem to see it that way. If they can't get some premium help for their system, they appear to be happy just to hold on to him.
And, of course, you have the fact the Tigers don't need to go out and grab a premium closer. Joaquin Benoit just picked up his eighth save in as many tries this season. It's his fourth save since Jose Valverde was designated for assignment June 21.
The Tigers do need to add relief help. Al Alburquerque was shaky again Tuesday, allowing three runs for a second consecutive appearance. Bruce Rondon hasn't exactly given confidence. Wednesday he allowed two runs on two hits, including a home run, and a walk. Both pitchers have the P word -- potential. But they haven't gone out and shut down teams with the consistency the Tigers need. Finding right-handed help for the bullpen should certainly be on the team's to-do list. But they don't need to pay the added cost to bring a player like Papelbon into the fold -- Benoit as closer is just fine. They just need help earlier in the game.
The Tigers will continue doing their due diligence this season, scouting all the players who may be of interest, and for certain a number of teams will be scouting Detroit's organization, too.
Connecting dots may be fun, but it's unlikely to lead to a complete picture. Papelbon probably won't be a Tiger any time soon.
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