July 23, 2013 at 1:00 am

Kurt Mensching

July trade deadline isn't last chance for Tigers to boost run for playoffs

Dave Dombrowski has never been shy about making a move that he thinks will help the Tigers make the playoffs. (Robin Buckson / Detroit News)

As counterintuitive as it sounds, the Tigers do not need to make a move before the July 31 trade deadline.

That would be mighty boring, of course. Thereís nothing like a big trade to excite the fan base.

And more often than not, Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has found a way to provide just that.

Last year, Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante came from the Marlins to solve the problems in the rotation and at second base. Before that, Doug Fister fit the bill, becoming a rotation mainstay at what turned out to be a pretty insignificant cost after a trade with the Mariners.

Even when the Tigers didnít sniff the playoffs in 2010, Dombrowski managed to acquire Jhonny Peralta from the Indians ó and heís been a key contributor at shortstop since then.

You have to go back to 2009, when Jarrod Washburn fell flat, to find the last July misstep by Dombrowski.

So, yes, judging by their track record, thereís a good chance the Tigers make a move sometime within the next 10 days or so.

But they should not feel pressured to make a deal.

There is want, and there is need. The Tigers donít need a closer, no matter how many times people repeat that they do. But they might want to pick up a reliever.

The reason the July 31 trade deadline, the non-waiver trade deadline, is so exciting is that no opposing team can block your teamís effort to add a player. Sure, they might bid up the cost in trying to acquire the player themselves. But trades are easier to make. Two (or more) teams come to an agreement, and the commissionerís office gives it the rubber stamp.

You might remember the next deadline to note comes at the end of August. Players can still be traded after July 31, the process is just a little more difficult. That makes it harder to move A-list names, but others can still be traded.

Thatís also why you often hear about players being put on waivers after Aug. 1. Once they clear waivers, teams are free to make a trade.

The Tigers have taken advantage of this rule several times under Dombrowski.

As long as the player is on his new teamís active roster by the end of August, heíll be playoff-eligible. Even then, thanks to MLBís permissive roster moves, the player could replace another who is on the disabled list.

The Tigersí biggest want is undoubtedly bullpen help. Thatís actually a pretty good spot to be in.

With Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly holding down the late innings pretty well so far, the rest of the bullpen beginning to settle in, and with the extra days off during the playoffs, the Tigers may be just fine even without a move.

But should they make one, plenty of players who could help make the team better will clear waivers and be available in August.

If the Tigers find Al Alburquerque keeps giving up home runs or Bruce Rondon canít get anyone out, then they can make a move.

Middle relievers with the Brewers, Astros, Marlins or Padres ó or other teams that suddenly fall out of contention ó would not make for exciting additions, but they could help make a push in October.

The Tigers were a World Series contender before the season started. According to betting odds, they remain a World Series favorite now.

If the lineup scored runs with a little more consistency and a little less feast-or-famine, the record would be there. If Justin Verlander hadnít struggled, relative to his norm, the record would be there.

The Tigers could use a few tweaks. But if they donít find what they need by the end of July, they donít need to panic.

There will still be plenty of ways to improve come August.

Kurt Mensching is the editor of Bless You Boys, a Tigers blog (www.blessyouboys.com). He can be reached at bybtigers@gmail.com.

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