The Tigers signing Troy Percival to a two year contract is really appearing to be a glaring mistake. At the time Dave Dombrowski signed Percival many members of the media and fans were puzzled at the signing of an aging closer, who had accrued quite an injury history, to a multi-year deal. In part, Dombrowski was justified in his decision to sign Percival with the mystery surrounding Ugueth Urbina and the unfortunate kidnapping of his mother in Venezuela. Percival provided an insurance policy if Urbina chose not to return.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they are now stuck with Percival and his immoveable contract. It would appear that Percival has lost most of his former abilities and in all likelihood will be a permanent resident on the Disabled List for the duration of his contract until he choses to retire ala Fernando Vina. As unfortunate as this situation is, the Tigers are now finding out how viable Kyle Farnsworth is as a closing option. They also are now utilizing players like Fernando Rodney, Franklyn German and Chris Spurling in more significant situations and so far have received promising results.
Troy Percival’s opponent OPS (On Base+Slugging) was .769, next worse in the American League to Boston’s Keith Foulke’s .890 as of July 10th. Percival also was yielding 2.52 Hr/9 in his 25 innings of relief. On the other hand, Kyle Farnsworth’s performance would rank 4th in the American League with a .535 opponent OPS and he had yielded 0.24 Hr/9 as of July 10th in 37 innings. It remains to be seen whether Farnsworth has the mental makeup to thrive in the closer’s role but his performance this year is very encouraging.
In regards to the trade deadline, I hope the Tigers have the fortune to be able to move players like Dmitri Young and Rondell White. The team has regressed offensively this season. It is imperative with the lack of bonafide prospect position players in the minors that they continue to add players who can have a long term impact on the team’s development like Tiger enthusiasts are hoping for from players like Curtis Granderson, Chris Shelton and Tony Giarrantano.