Tigers' call for more arms unanswered
Farnsworth lone pickup as market continues to favor sellers
CLEVELAND -- Kyle Farnsworth will join the Tigers on Friday at Tampa Bay. No other relievers will be coming with him.
Though team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said he had "some discussions" with other clubs Thursday, none resulted in a deal ahead of the 4 p.m. ET nonwaiver trade deadline. He doesn't expect those talks to continue into August, leaving Wednesday's swap of Ivan Rodriguez for Farnsworth as likely Detroit's lone move of the trading season barring any new discussions.
Though the search for bullpen help continued into Thursday, the asking prices remained high -- too high for a club that no longer boasts the depth in the farm system to give up many prospects. With demand around the league for help in the bullpen, that's what it was going to take.
"All along, it's mostly been bullpen," Dombrowski said. "And I don't think that we were ever close. We had a couple things where we were talking and going back and forth, but it wasn't [close]. There's a lot of big things that have been going on, and when you have those type things out there, a lot of times it clogs other things going on and people are focused towards those. We weren't involved in those."
The discussions that did take place Thursday were more follow-up talks on previous routes rather than any new idea. That's in contrast to the rapid progression Wednesday, when a morning call to the Yankees offering up Rodriguez ended up with a deal for Farnsworth by mid-afternoon.
The willingness to trade Rodriguez came out of a position of depth, since Detroit had Brandon Inge waiting to take over next season -- if not sooner. But it was also a reflection of the difficulties the Tigers faced in finding relief help they liked. To get a veteran big league reliever, they had to offer up their veteran big league catcher.
The Tigers were believed to be in discussions on several relievers leading up to the deadline, including left-handers Will Ohman in Atlanta and Jack Taschner in San Francisco.
"You can understand other clubs' perspectives," Dombrowski said. "If they're in a position where they're looking to trade guys that are quality guys, they know that even if they're free agents, they're going to get a couple Draft choices for them. You've got to equalize that. I understand that."
Trades can still take place past the deadline, but the players involved must clear waivers to be dealt. Dombrowski does not expect the players they targeted before the deadline to go unclaimed on waivers.
In the end, the uncertainty regarding reliever Todd Jones did not change the Tigers' approach. Detroit placed Jones on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with inflammation in his shoulder, and the team left Cleveland Thursday afternoon waiting on results from an MRI exam taken at midday. Farnsworth will be needed to fill Jones' void for at least the next couple weeks while also easing some pressure on Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney.
Other than that, however, any late-season run the Tigers make is going to have to come out of the guys who have been here.
"I'll be glad to get Kyle here, get him with our ballclub [Friday] and stabilize our bullpen a little bit more," Dombrowski said. "But like I've said all along, we have to play well. If we're going to win, we have to play well. We have to play well on a consistent basis. We've addressed our bullpen.
"Anytime you make moves, you can make 10 of them, you always have an area that's your weakest part. That never changes. Basically, we have to be in a position where some of our guys have to step up and do well for us. That's how it is. I know we have the potential to do it, but we have to play well. If you're a couple games over .500, it's not going to be good enough to get it done."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.