As I stare morosely into the bottom of my now empty glass of Popov and Squirt, I am plagued by an almost paralyzing fear, a fear born of the fact that I, along with most fans, and even GMs, would have taken John Axford over Fernando Rodney hands down last winter. As I poor another glass of what I like to call Acid Reflux, I think about our bullpen and I feel cast adrift, buffeted by the winds of unreliable strike zone command and the waves of sub-100 IQs that seem to haunt the entire relief pitching industry. Can no one be counted on? It seems even the old saw "You get what you pay for." doesn't apply in this shiftless dune sea of high WHIP madness. How can a GM hope to put a solid bullpen together?
I don't have an answer. It's like trying to figure out why hot women love jerks. But that put me on a path. A path that I feel follows the other old saw "There are plenty of fish in the sea." With the added caveat that you need to be willing to eat some pretty nasty fish, not just swordfish. So I took a look at the fish that are out there. These are all either free agents or non-tender/trade candidates, nothing flashy. I'm sort of going with the sign Zack and fix the pen cheap plan for this off season, which it seems JeDi is inclined toward as well. So here is a list of guys who I think have a shot at possibly having some hope of helping us have some hope that our bullpen can maybe have a shot in 2013. There are two groups I've put them into.
The Nuke Laloosh method: Find guys who throw hard and strike guys out and see if they can get it together.
Manny Parra of the Brewers sucks. Yet he has "stuff". He's just found ways to suck despite it. But maybe a change of team? Jose Veras is a similar pitcher, also on the Brewers, who owe us for a couple good years of relief in exchange for Derek "the juice" Turnbow. Mike Zagurski of the Diamondbacks falls into this same category, he'll either strike you out, walk you, or give up a hit. If some one could teach him to be a little less exciting he'll be very effective though.
Alfredo Aceves was rumored in the Dan Haren non-deal with the BoSux and is a non tender candidate. My sick, sad dream would be to send Vernon Wells to the Sux, where he can pull a Cody Ross while we pick up most of his salary but get Aceves. Aceves is one of those "stuff" pitchers you hope will be effective instead of blowing up, and that's a risk.
The Eddie Harris method: Take these guys who have had some level of success at some point, throw em at a wall, and see who sticks.
I'd take a flyer on Scott Atchison if the Sux non-tender him and he can be had cheap, but he's solidly in the "he had one good season" camp that 90% of relievers seem to be in. Other pitchers with a good year or two that can be counted on to maybe be counted on next season, in my blindly fumbling estimation, are; Kameron Loe(R), Peter Moylan (R), Bill Bray (L), Matt Lindstrom(R), Rafael Perez (L), Cory Wade (R), Jon Rauch (R), Ramon Ramirez (R), Juan Carlos Oviedo (R), and Brandon Lyon (R).
I would also like to sign Kyle Farnsworth as our teams enforcer/balls.
Like I said, nothing flashy. You don't need to remind me that Jurgens is on the block, Soriano, Uehara, or Mikes Adams and Gonzalez are out there. But can you think of any other guys that might be that mystery man we need for next year?
Of course, what's frustrating is that there is some other guy out there writing for the Tigers blog or something, and he's talking about Jordan Walden and Kevin Jepsen in a similar post. I hate bullpens.