The Detroit Tigers have been searching for bullpen answers all season. That might have been the case no matter what, but that need has been made especially glaring by the struggles of closer Joe Nathan.
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Before they ever made the bold move to acquire Joakim Soria from the Texas Rangers, the Tigers looked to a low-cost, low-risk option when they took a flier on Joel Hanrahan. It seemed worth the risk at the time as the Tigers hoped that the former Pittsburgh Pirates closer would be healthy in time to contribute to a playoff run.
It does not look like that plan will come to be, however, as general manager Dave Dombrowski said on Thursday that the team does not believe that Hanrahan will be ready to pitch at all this season.
That situation, one that the Tigers were surely hoping would unfold differently, leaves them still searching for any additional help in the bullpen. It would not be surprising if that search took them once again to the trade market, even with Soria now on the roster.
Hanrahan was really good as recently as 2012 when he posted a 2.72 ERA and 36 saves for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bad health derailed his 2013 season and it sounds like it is going to cost him the entire 2014 season. He still might be able to offer something to a big league team next season, though it won’t likely be as a closer as this time missed.