Looking for a lefty, Tigers eye Beimel
Rectifying closer situation remains club's top relief priority
LAS VEGAS -- While the Tigers continue to try to zero in on a closer, they also took time at the Winter Meetings to resume discussions regarding free-agent left-hander Joe Beimel.
The Tigers are believed to have retained strong interest in Beimel, having had multiple conversations with Sroba leading into the Winter Meetings. Though Detroit's need for a lefty specialist isn't as pressing as their closer vacancy, with Bobby Seay among their returning southpaws, Beimel's success over the past few years in terms of left-handed hitters have made him an intriguing option.
Detroit's left-handed relief options have dwindled a bit. They had discussions with the agent for Darren Oliver last month, but the Angels' decision to offer Oliver arbitration seemingly cooled Detroit's interest given its preference not to lose a Draft pick as compensation. Fellow lefty Arthur Rhodes, meanwhile, was reportedly close to a deal with the Reds, who have also had interest in Beimel. Will Ohman remains on the market, but the Tigers do not appear to be interested.
The 31-year-old Beimel went 5-1 with a 2.02 ERA this past season for the Dodgers, making 71 appearances over just 49 innings. Left-handed hitters batted .278 against him in 2008, compared to a .263 average against right-handed ones. His previous two seasons in Los Angeles, however, saw lefty hitters bat .188 against him in 2007 and .234 in 2006.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.