The Detroit Tigers Should Trade For Huston Street

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Updated: November 19, 2013

The Detroit Tigers made it to the ALCS in 2013, one year after losing in the World Series, on the strength of great pitching and an impressive lineup.  They boast a vicious 3-4 combo with the best hitter in baseball, back to back MVP winner Miguel Cabrera, and a rotund left handed slugger by the name of Prince Fielder.  They scored the second most runs in the majors even with their star shortstop missing 50 games thanks to a PED suspension.  And the rotation might be more impressive.  The three-headed monster of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez led a staff that ranked first in innings pitched, fWAR, strikeouts, and K/9 while also leading the AL in ERA.  So where have they been deficient?  Simple: defense and relief pitching.  With Ozzie-reincarnate Jose Iglesias slated to replace Peralta at short, Detroit should improve defensively without much outside help.  But if this club wants to break through and actually win the Fall Classic, they need to shore up the bullpen.  Badly.  A trade for a legitimate closer is necessary.

Huston Street is that closer.  The former A’s and Rockies stopper just notched another stellar season in San Diego.  He racked up a 2.70 ERA and converted 33 of 35 save opportunities.  Street is under contract for next season for $7 Million and has a club option for 2015 at the same amount.  For a small payroll club like the Padres, Street’s contract represents manageable security at the closer position without breaking the bank.  For that matter, Street’s contract represents the same for any club.

In recent years, one of the most overvalued commodities is the closer.  A great closer saves manager’s jobs and shortens games.   A great closer makes bullpen construction easier and staves off grey hairs.  However, a team destined to win 75 games has very little need for a closer.  The Astros have embraced that philosophy in recent years.  First, in 2012 they converted Brett Myers to closer in Spring Training, and were able to trade him to the White Sox in July for a package of prospects.  In 2013, the Astros did the same thing with Jose Veras.  Veras racked up 19 saves before the Astros traded him to the Tigers to help shore up the same bullpen that still needs help.

The mystique around a closer is one of the few market inefficiencies in the statistically driven, statistically savvy world of the MLB.  It’s often overvalued.  An experienced, quality closer is a luxury, not a necessity, and in San Diego Huston Street is a luxury that the Padres simply do not need.  He will fetch one or two prospects should the Padres make him available.  And if they do, the Tigers will be the primary suitors.  Detroit’s ballclub is a stable bullpen away from a World Series crown.

Bold Prediction: San Diego Padres send Huston Street to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for SP prospect Drew VerHagen and OF Danry Vasquez.

-Sean Morash

Stat of the Day: Jose Veras has pitched for 7 teams since I graduated high school in 2009.

Bold Stat of the Day: This is OTBB’s 800th post. We’ve been online since February 2011 and would like to thank our readers for making this possible. 800!

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