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Tigers rumors: Tigers interested in Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastardo

They may also be interested in Jonathan Papelbon, much to our dismay.

Brian Garfinkel

The quest for bullpen help continues. Fox Sports' Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal -- arguably the best beat writer bromance in the business -- reported that the Tigers are interested in Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Antonio Bastardo.

Jonathan Papelbon may also be in the conversation, but the fact that Morosi singles out Bastardo before the high-priced closer is significant.


Bastardo is a remarkably consistent reliever who has shown the ability to get both left and right-handed hitters out during his career. He has held righties to a .630 OPS in six big league seasons, including a meager .325 slugging average. Bastardo also strikes out a lot of hitters, fanning 11.13 batters per nine innings in his career.

Perhaps best of all, Bastardo is still in his arbitration years and has one more season of club control remaining. With a $2 million salary in 2014 and a good-but-not-great 3.38 ERA, he probably won't get much more expensive.


This may seem silly, but one thing that some might not like about Bastardo is that he doesn't utterly dominate left-handed hitters. Sure, a career .181 batting average and .618 OPS are pretty good -- and his numbers against right-handers are nearly equal -- but he's not locking down lefties like Drew Smyly does.

Bastardo also walks guys at an alarming rate. He has issued 5.06 free passes per nine innings this year, and has walked 4.35 per nine in his career. For someone who would frequently come into games with men on base, this is a concern.


This one could actually happen, depending on what Ruben Amaro's plans are. Bastardo is a solid reliever who would not command the sky-high prices that Joaquin Benoit and Joakim Soria are sure to fetch. As a left-hander, he also presents a remarkable upgrade over Ian Krol and Phil Coke.