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It has become very apparent that it is time to “cut bait” with Ugueth U. Urbina. His overall value in the trade market is diminishing with each poor appearance he makes. Already, rumors suggest that the Tigers may have to part with a prospect along with Urbina in order to garner anything beyond a marginal prospect in trade for Urbina. Many will argue that the Tigers will have not have a Closer in their bullpen once they have traded Urbina. I agree that Urbina is well established as a Closer and any replacement will be temporary and unproven. I want to suggest to you that with their recent performances, Al Levine and Esteban Yan would be suitable, if not reliable replacements at the back end of the bullpen for Urbina.
2004 Season K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR WHIP IP G/F ERA
Urbina 10.75 6.18 7.09 5 1.47 39.1 0.42 4.58
Yan 6.42 2.63 9.88 5 1.39 54.2 1.46 4.12
Levine 4.37 3.23 10.65 7 1.54 47.1 0.89 4.75

Jun+July K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR WHIP IP ERA
Urbina 11.51 5.56 5.56 5 1.24 22.2 3.97
Yan 6.75 2.25 9.37 2 1.29 24 3.74
Levine 4.89 2.85 8.96 3 1.31 22.1 2.82

July 25 K/9 BB/9 H/9 HR WHIP IP ERA
Urbina 10.45 6.1 6.1 3 1.35 12 5.23
Yan 7.50 2.25 6.75 1 1.20 12 2.25
Levine 4.38 2.92 4.38 1 0.81 12.1 0.73

Many publications suggest the Tigers would need to turn to Danny Patterson or Jamie Walker as closer once Urbina is traded. I think the Tigers will elect to keep Walker in his designated Lefty speciallist role and possibly use Danny Patterson as a Closer/set-up man instead of Levine. My point is that there will not be that large of a dropoff, if recent performance holds true, between Urbina and Yan as Closer down the stretch.

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