Detroit Tigers: Five Pitching Staff Upgrades for 2016

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Sep 7, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher

Mark Buehrle

(56) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Free Agency

Even with the recent resurgence of Justin Verlander the Tigers have struggled to string more than two wins together and slow their slide to the bottom of the American League. Alfredo Simon has been a disappointment and will be 35 next season so investing big dollars to re-sign him is out of the question. Shane Greene crashed and annihilated after his first three starts and can’t be counted on going forward.

To get the No. 2 pitcher they will need to contend the Tigers have to look to free agency. Who Avila looks to sign depends on how he wants to build.

If he’s looking for a quick fix while arms develop in the minor league system the best option would be Mark Buerhle. He’s making $20 million dollars in the final year of his deal with the Blue Jays but will be 37 next season and his asking price should go down accordingly.

Buerhle is a left-hander who may be one of the smartest pitchers in baseball today. He has pinpoint command of his pitches and doesn’t waste time on the mound. He’s one of the quickest workers in the Major Leagues. Buerhle has won 14 games this season for Toronto and there’s no reason to believe he can’t pitch at least two more seasons at a high level.

If the Tigers want a more long-term answer their options may be limited. It’s a foregone conclusion that David Price doesn’t want to come back. Johnny Cueto is uber-talented but is already causing problems for himself in Kansas City. Doug Fister has struggled with the Nationals this season and Jeff Samardzija can be great but not often enough for the money he’ll be looking for.

The only name on the free agent list who stands out as a solid starter who may be flying a bit under the radar right now is Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals. He’ll still be on the right side of 30, at least until June of 2016, was a National League All-Star in 2013 and 2014 and so far has been relatively healthy during his career.