Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
At the end of the day, it's almost always going to come down to pitching. And I would say that primary concern rings true right now in both the bullpen and the back end of the rotation. The Tigers snagged Jose Valverde to shore up the closer's role, but that still leaves big question marks in the key late-inning relief roles. Bobby Seay is battling soreness right now and hasn't been able to pitch, while the setup options like Ryan Perry have pitched well, they're mostly still young, and both he and Daniel Schlereth have struggled with bouts of control issues. Moving beyond the 'pen, the rotation is no more settled than it was when the off-season got underway. Assuming Scherzer shakes off the rough start and inherits Edwin Jackson's slot, that still leaves two spots open, with no obvious takers. Jeremy Bonderman has had a rough go of it to start and still has to answer questions of whether or not he he's going to be capable of pitching effectively without his mid-90s heat. Meanwhile guys like Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis have pitched well so far, but it's still early, they haven't been stretched out, and both are coming off seasons that were less than desirable. There are plenty of suitors out there for the open roles looking to be filled, but almost every one right now is coming with question marks.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
I am still very concerned about the back end of the Tigers rotation. Despite the positive early signs from Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis, I am still far from a believer in their ability to be quality big league starters in 2010. One of the other options, Jeremy Bonderman, has been roughed up of late, and until he shows he can get outs consistently, you have to question him as well. Both Eddie Bonine and Alfredo Figaro had their struggles yesterday, and neither are much more than number five starters in the end anyway. Lastly, the Tigers have yet to commit to Phil Coke as a starter, and until they commit to stretching him out for five, six, and seven innings, he isn't really a viable option. It is not as though the Tigers are searching for just one starter. Instead, they are searching high and low for two of them, and the early spring training returns haven't exactly been glowing.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Right now the biggest concern I have doesn't concern performance, it concerns health. Bobby Seay is slated to start throwing again on Wednesday as he tries to overcome bursitis and tendinitis around his left shoulder.
If Seay's injury doesn't get better, the Tigers will have a decision to make as to whether or not they move Phil Coke back to the bullpen, or see if Daniel Schlereth, Brad Thomas and Fu-Te Ni can combine to hold down the fort in the bullpen.
It's also possible that the Tigers could try to swing a trade for bullpen help. Given the numbers they have in house, I would be surprised if they went this route, but Seay's injury is something that needs to be watched closely.
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