Today the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers 7-6 to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series (ALDS). At this point, the Tigers' chances for 2014 aren't looking too good, but I believe that an early exit from this year's postseason might not be such a horrible thing for Detroit and their fans.
The Tigers' bullpen has been terrible so far in the ALDS, giving up 10 earned runs in just 3.2 innings. Getting knocked out on Sunday or Monday would, particularly if guys like Joba Chamberlain and Joakim Soria keep giving up runs like crazy, show Dave Dombrowski that the boys in stripes are in need of a serious upgrade when it comes to relief pitching.
And now would be the perfect time to upgrade the staff.
The roster of free agent relief pitchers available this off-season is deep, with guys like Luke Gregerson, David Robertson, and Andrew Miller hitting the market. Signing two or more of the available bullpen arms would be ideal for a team that ranked fourth-worst in reliever ERA among MLB teams this season.
To free up some payroll space for a few more arms, the Tigers could let free agents-to-be Phil Coke, Torii Hunter, and Joba Chamberlain walk. Keeping Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez while losing all the less-valuable free agents would, of course, be a dream scenario for the Tigers, so perhaps Detroit will have to let Scherzer walk as well (I think they'll have serious issues offensively if they let V-Mart leave). Losing Mad Max would be detrimental to the starting rotation, but sometimes you have to give something up to get value in other areas.
In this case, perhaps relief pitchers giving up runs will result in a valuable future for the Detroit Tigers and their relief pitching.
**Note: Statistics and information in this post came from MLB.com, with the total number of earned runs given up by the Tigers bullpen during the ALDS calculated through a combination of baseball-reference.com and MLB.com. The list of free agents for the coming off-season came from this Cot's Contracts page.