Kurt: The Tigers didn't wait for the trade deadline to get working on their bullpen problem, did they Sean? While the rest of us settled in for the night, they acquired Joakim Soria from the Rangers for a pair of prospects. I didn't even find out about the deal until about 30 minutes after news first came out.
Sean: Man, you go to bed at 9:30 p.m. and wake up with 20 emails and six text messages.
I know there has been a lot of talk about this being an overpay, and to an extent I agree with that, but I don't mind the overpay. You don't win championships with prospects and you don't win championships with Joe Nathan as your closer. Losing (right-handed starter) JakeThompson hurts more than (reliever) Corey Knebel to me, because I really see him settling into a Anibal Sanchez/Rick Porcello type pitcher.
K: You're not kidding. Stay off the Internet for an hour and all heck breaks loose.
I'm not concerned about giving up prospects, either. It's like they say, the team that got the better player usually won the trade. I don't think anyone believes Thompson or Knebel are going to turn into All-Stars. I hope.
So who do you think pitches in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings?
S: What I think and what I want are two different answers.
I think for now Soria pitches the seventh, Chamberlain pitches the eighth, and Nathan pitches the ninth. I don't think the trade is a replacement for Nathan yet, just another option.
What I would like to see is Al Al pitch the seventh, Chamberlain pitch the eighth, Soria pitch the ninth, and Nathan pitch his services to another team after he is released.
Going back to Knebel, his inability to hit his spots concerns me. He has a great arm, but I am OK with someone else figuring him out. I am tired of having to watch attempts at location fixing.
Is this the last move made, or is DD going to trade for another piece?
K: I think this really does vastly improve the bullpen, and you expect most days the rotation is going to be able to get the ball to the seventh inning. But I'm not sure that they're done. It wouldn't hurt to add another lesser, cheaper bullpen piece. And I am totally not sold on Eugenio Suarez at shortstop. It's a tough position to fill, but do you think they should try?
S: Honestly, no. I'd like to see another bullpen arm and that's really all that concerns me. There are no real shortstops out there that intrigue me, save for Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist, but I don't think any could be had with our remaining farm system.
Another bench bat might be nice.
K: That's a nice idea, too. More often than not you can't find instant offense sitting on the bench late in a game unless a player like Torii Hunter or J.D. Martinez was given a day off. Who are you thinking they replace to do that? Andrew Romine? (Gasp!) Don Kelly? Does Andy Dirks affect things when he returns? So many questions!
S: Dirks could be that guy, but I am not counting on it. Kelly seems to have one foot out the door. I am in love with all of the Rays' players apparently, but I would love to see Sean Rodriguez in a Tigers uniform.
K: But Don Kelly makes everything better! [Seriously: Check our site motto. Don Kelly even made that better.] This brings up a great question. If you would love to see so many Rays, and as far as we've heard the Rays are sellers, how in the world are they not winning the AL East? That's really messing up my predictions.
S: I had them winning it all, too. Somehow Joe Maddon makes the stars align regularly, but David Price was hurt early on, Wil Myers is hurt, David DeJesus is hurt, Zobrist/Evan Longoria/Grant Balfour have struggled. Perfect storm of bad. They're like the Rangers, to a lesser extent.
I think I am one of the few advocates for DK. I'd love to see him stick around, but unless they unload another OFer, I just don't see how that happens.
K: Not that the two should be directly linked, but do you consider yourself a believer in J.D. Martinez? Or is it just, even at his worst, Martinez is better than DKB? That's the direction I'd lean. I honestly do not know how much Martinez can keep up what he's doing, but I'm going to let him keep doing it for as long as he does.
S: I would say I am a skeptical believer. My hope is that he is just reinventing himself, and his new swing is a legitimate improvement. He hit well in the minors before he came up, so it's not a Brennan Boesch situation. It's also interesting to think that a team in rebuilding mode like the Astros gave up on him.
He reminds me a little of Jose Bautista and the way he came out of seemingly nowhere. (I also may have found my next story idea)
K: MOAR CONTENT! Must feed the BYB beast! I mean, "Yes, do that." Maybe the best question is, what's your starting outfield? Torii Hunter can't field but lately he's sure showed us he still knows how to hit. How do you handle that, along with Rajai Davis and, down the line, Dirks? That's one of those questions where almost anything you say is both right and wrong. If everyone is doing their job, it's a good problem to have. If anyone falls off the pace, you shoulda played the "other guy" more.
S: I like J.D., Jax, and Torii, from L to R.
Rajai provides fresh legs off the bench and can steal a base. He's also not that much better defensively than Torii. If Hunter falls into an offensive rut again, move J.D. to right, let Rajai start and use Torii and Dirks off the bench. What are you thinking?
K: That's the best solution. Earlier in the year I thought they'd have to bench Torii, but as long as he's hitting you've got to play him. As long as J.D. is hitting, you've got to play him. And you've got to play A.J. no matter what. That just leaves us with Dirks as a defensive replacement, Rajai as a base thief off the bench, and ... awwww Donnie. :(