DETROIT - In the past few seasons the Detroit Tigers have been extremely active at the trade deadline, picking up Jose Veras and Jose Iglesias last season and Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante in 2012. Both moves gave Detroit a lift and propelled the team into the ALCS and World Series, respectively.
General manager Dave Dombrowski made another splash this July at the trade deadline, trading for former Cy Young Award winner David Price. The Tigers also acquired relief pitcher Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers on July 23 to shore up a struggling bullpen.
Here are a few more trades the Tigers could have made before 4:00 p.m. Thursday.
Pick up another relief pitcher
Though the addition of Soria certainly makes the bullpen look much stronger (despite the veteran's struggles in his first two appearances as a Tiger), Dombrowski might make another move as an insurance policy. If Joba Chamberlain or Al Alburquerque falter during their breakout seasons, the Tigers could be stuck with a pen that holds only a few reliable arms.
Adding a left-handed pitcher
Phil Coke and Ian Krol have both flirted with disaster this season, owning a combined ERA of 4.80 in 78 shaky appearances. If the Tigers want to combat dangerous left-handed sluggers like Chris Davis, Josh Hamilton, Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp in the postseason, a pitcher like Philadelphia's Antonio Bastardo could be a crucial addition.
Bastardo holds left-handed batters to a .185 batting average and has struck out 53 batters in 45.1 innings overall this season. The 28-year-old would be a cheap upgrade over Coke and Krol in the late innings.
Finding a left-handed hitter
Contenders in the AL are loaded with powerful right-handed pitchers, which could cause problems for a team like the Tigers who own a predominantly right-handed lineup. Aside from switch-hitting Victor Martinez and catcher Alex Avila, the entire Tigers' order hits from the right side.
Detroit may need a left-handed batter to come off the bench in the postseason in a pinch hitting role, or even start against a particularly difficult righty.
Unfortunately for Detroit, a recent surge by the Tampa Bay Rays has made a trade for Ben Zobrist or former Tiger Matt Joyce look much more difficult. The Tigers may try to fix the problem from inside the organization with the possible return of Andy Dirks or by calling up Toledo's Ezequiel Carrera.
The Tigers pose one of the greatest threats to the Oakland Athletics even without these moves. The additions of Price and Soria have given Detroit the tools to play in another Fall Classic.
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