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<< Sports >>

MLB Baseball News

Tigers Pitching Almost Set

by Dan Joseph
djoseph@americajr.com

Going into the off season, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski named the bullpen as the most area in need. He started his free agent signings by adding closer Troy Percival, and with the addition of Kyle Farnsworth, the Tigers have made another step in improving their bullpen.

Last season the Tigers brought in Al Levine to help Danny Patterson with middle relief. Levine was a well respected pitcher with a history of strong pitching. They also added Ugueth Urbina to replace Matt Anderson as the team’s closer. Another key move of theirs was the signing of the hard throwing Esteban Yan. Although the moves looked good on paper, they didn’t pan out. As a result, Yan is gone, Levine is gone, and Urbina has been move to setup man (where incidentally, he saw good success in this role in Florida).

With the addition of Farnsworth from the Cubs, the Tigers lose a young Roberto Novoa. Some would consider Novoa a good future MLB pitcher. Others would argue the opposite. Either way, it was almost a guaranty that Novoa would end up in Toledo this season, and there were no guaranties that he would ever become a Tiger.

Farnsworth has a strong arm. He’s clocked consistently in the upper 90s to 100 range. He has “good stuff”. His downside, if you can call it one, is he can be a little hot to handle. To me it spells intensity. Passion. Something the Tigers need. Someone with fire. Someone a little out of the box to shake things up.

The bullpen has been dull to say the least. Jamie Walker was the best pitcher. Danny Patterson hasn’t been the same since his surgery. Franklyn German hasn’t lived up to any expectations. He appears coachable, but can’t take what he learns in practice into the games. Farnsworth should add some depth around these guys. With Urbina setting up Percival, things should be in good shape.

The bullpen isn’t the only question mark. The starting pitching has some things to reveal to us. Who will the ace be? Most likely, Johnson, but is it time to turn that over to Maroth? Bonderman is good in the number three position. He’s young and you don’t want to pressure him. Maroth has been through the war. He’s tough, can go nine innings and has uncharacteristic mental toughness.

That brings us to a point of question. Ledezma or Knotts? Ledezma came out strong for the Tigers in the last part of the season last year. Knotts started off strong. Somewhere between the two is a happy medium of consistency. Whether its Knotts looking over his shoulder into the bullpen at Ledezma, or Ledezma being ready for a starting job.

We’re a day away from Spring Training. All indications say the Tigers have depth in fielding and pitching. The problem is what type of depth and how much of depth there could be is unknown. Farnsworth and Percival are notable signings, but not landmark signings. The fortunate part of it all is that they could be just what the Tigers need.

Click here to send an email to Dan Joseph. Visit his Official Website.

 

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AMERICAJR NETWORK :: COACH'S CORNER PRO SHOP :: SAND CREEK RECORDS :: LIFE MADE EASY