Free agency has only just begun, but Tigers general Al Avila has been linked to numerous back-end pitching options through both free agency and trades. This is a good idea. Give us the relievers, give us all of them.
The rumblings began during the weekend and gained traction as Avila and the Tigers contingent began to lay groundwork at the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. Avila mentioned outfield options, but clearly stated that pitching was the first priority.
Rumor mongers -- I mean, reporters -- began to pick up pieces of these conversations and team targets emerged. Darren O'Day, everyone's new favorite reliever, was mentioned with a host of other teams. As the market's clear number one reliever, he will most likely field a number of offers and command serious money.
The Tigers also are making quick inroads with an old friend, Joakim Soria. The team has already had conversations with Soria's camp, and it appears that he is a top target for the organization.
Beyond free agents, Avila appears to be putting the feelers out on currently employed relievers as well. The Tigers are reportedly in on another old friend, Yankees' big lefty Andrew Miller. While there has yet to be chatter, Francisco Rodriguez is an interesting trade possibility and the list of closers available grows as Mark Melancon joins Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman on the block. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman also sneaks in that the Tigers would be happy (!!!!!!!!) to bring back Joe Nathan on a minor league contract.
And you thought it was over.
It is still early and there are tons of moving parts, but it is a positive sign to hear the Tigers connected to so many top-end arms. It is the obvious place to start, but it still shows that Avila is very serious about fixing the bullpen. May 2016 be the year of non-stress late innings.
Too much? Fine. May 2016 be the year of the above average bullpen.
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