The Detroit Tigers have added to an already potent offense with the signing of Justin Upton. Now it seems the pitching staff could potentially welcome some new additions.
The general manager of the Detroit Tigers wants more pitching depth.
Al Avila was recently quoted by MLB.com’s Jason Beck as saying that he’d “still like to have more depth in pitching… We’re adequate right now.” This could apply to the either, or both, the rotation and the bullpen.
For now, the rotation seems the most likely place to expect an addition.
The bullpen is set with four different relievers (Alex Wilson, Justin Wilson, Blaine Hardy and Mark Lowe) who could function as quality set-up options in building a bridge to closer Francisco Rodriguez. Drew VerHagen is another player who could pitch his way into meaningful innings after a strong finish to 2015.
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In addition to that group, Detroit also employs a number of inexperienced arms that have potential. These pitchers include Bruce Rondon, Angel Nesbitt, Jose Valdez, Jeff Ferrell, Buck Farmer and Kyle Ryan.
Despite the lack of experience, the Tigers at least have some other options in the bullpen. The starting rotation is a slightly different story.
If the season started today, the team could certainly manage with a rotation featuring the likes of Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, Anibal Sanchez and Mike Pelfrey. The fifth and final place in the rotation is still to be determined. Shane Greene, Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd are currently the potential candidates.
Greene posted a 6.88 ERA last season and is in dire need of a bounce back year, while Norris and Boyd’s respective innings may need to be limited.
In other words, the team could use some more starting pitching. Detroit should target Kyle Lohse as a reclamation project.
Despite posting a 5.85 ERA in 152.1 innings pitched for Milwaukee last season, Lohse is worth a flier.
The 37-year-old is just one season removed from a four-year stint in which he pitched to a 3.28 ERA and averaged 14 wins a season from 2011 to 2014 with the Brewers and Cardinals.
Lohse’s struggles in 2015 could simply be a down year, but they could also be the product of pitching on a terrible team that won a mere 68 games. The Brewers certainly didn’t give the right-hander much run support.
In his 17 starts when Milwaukee scored five runs or fewer, his record was 1-13. During those 17 starts, Lohse allowed 70 runs. However, in the five starts when the veteran received six or more runs in support he went 4-0 with a much more appeasing 4.88 ERA.
He wasn’t perfect, but Lohse proved that he could earn wins with a good offense behind him. After signing Justin Upton, it’s probably safe to say that Detroit has not only a good offense, but a great one.
The former Brewer’s role would likely be a swingman of sorts, making spot starts for Norris or Boyd while also providing quality innings out of the bullpen.
After being shifted to a relief role with Milwaukee, Lohse compiled a 3.81 ERA in 28.1 innings out of the bullpen. Detroit’s need of a swingman has been well documented on this site, and there are a number of positives in having a player who can function in the role. That might just be Lohse.
The Detroit Tigers need the pitching depth, and Kyle Lohse is available. If all goes well, he could play the same role Chris Young did with the Royals last season.