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Tigers rumors: Detroit looking hard for bullpen help

Jose Valverde's return has helped the injury-depleted 'pen thus far, but the Tigers may need reinforcements.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are "looking hard" on the trade market for some late-inning bullpen help, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports.

The three relievers with the most innings thrown this season -- Drew Smyly, Darin Downs, and Joaquin Beniot -- have sparkling numbers thus far, but beyond them things have been shaky in the 'pen. Al Alburquerque, Brayan Villarreal, and Bruce Rondon are all biding their time in Triple-A after ineffective stints with the big-league club, Octavio Dotel is sidelined with an elbow injury, and Phil Coke inexplicably continues to face right-handed hitters.

Jose Valverde has pitched well in his return to the closer role -- allowing just one hit and one run in seven innings thus far -- but there's no knowing whether he'll be able to sustain his improved velocity over the rest of the season. Evan Downs and Jose Ortega are the latest arms brought up from Triple-A to help out in the bullpen, but neither is likely to be the late-inning arm that the club apparently desires.

The trade market for a late-inning reliever isn't exactly full of possibilities at the moment, and it's unclear how much it'll improve as the season moves into the summer. The Tigers surveyed the same market all spring and never found anything to their liking, so don't hold your breath that they'll find what they're looking for two months later.

Knobler speculates that Marlins reliever Steve Cishek could be an option, as well as someone from the Mariners' bullpen, but there's no indication the Tigers have spoken with either team. What's Joel Zumaya doing these days?

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