Detroit Tigers: Two Now-Former Diamondback Relievers are Fits

Jul 10, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Sam LeCure throws against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 10, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Sam LeCure throws against the Chicago Cubs during the sixth inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers could use some depth where relief pitching is concerned. As it happens, the Arizona Diamondbacks just released two relievers who could make an impact in Detroit.

The Detroit Tigers bullpen is far from a set group at the present time. At this point, offseason additions Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe are locks. With Bobby Parnell released and Bruce Rondon sent down, Kyle Ryan and Drew VerHagen will likely make the team as well.

So who is left to contend for the remaining places on the team?

Lendy Castillo, Buck Farmer and Logan Kensing. Not exactly the Kansas City Royals backend of the bullpen thanks to the three’s respective career ERAs (7.88, 8.15 and 5.80), but all three have been effective so far this spring. All have ERAs under 3.25, and each has done a solid job limiting base runners.

Even if the trio succeed with the Tigers, depth is needed. As of now, Detroit’s options at the Triple-A level include Rondon, Jose Valdez and Michael Fulmer. Rondon is obviously still trying to put it all together, while Valdez has pitched nine more innings at the Major League level than you or I have. What’s more, the Tigers may feel more comfortable keeping Fulmer in the Toledo rotation.

Detroit obviously needs depth. Luckily for Al Avila’s team, there are plenty of relievers on the open market. Just as the Tigers cut Parnell, teams around the league are starting to trim down their respective rosters ahead of Opening Day. This means a number of players hitting the open market.

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In fact, the Arizona Diamondbacks recently released two relievers that could be potential fits for Detroit. On Monday, right-handed reliever Sam LeCure and left-handed reliever Wesley Wright were both cut loose by the D-Backs.

Both had latched on with Arizona in the offseason hoping to make the team. Now, with LeCure and Wright on the open market, Detroit has some options.

Sam LeCure

31-year-old Sam LeCure’s Spring Training stats in 2016 are far from pretty. In eight innings pitched he was tagged for 11 hits, seven runs scored, two home runs and a walk. If you’re doing the math at home, that ends up being a 7.88 ERA and 12.4 hits allowed per nine innings.

However, the former Cincinnati reliever’s career numbers are much more appealing. In 320.2 innings pitched for the Reds since 2010, LeCure has compiled a 3.51 ERA (3.75 FIP) and 300 strikeouts.

The reliever’s best season came in 2013 when he pitched to a 2.66 ERA in 61 innings pitched, racking up 66 strikeouts and his only career save to date. The right-hander was limited to 20 innings in 2015, but he posted a solid 3.15 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.

Baseball Reference projects a 3.73 ERA in 41 innings for the reliever in 2016.

Wesley Wright

While Wesley Wright hasn’t pitched mainly for one team in his career like LeCure, he’s found success at a number of different stops.

The lefty has pitched for five different clubs since breaking into the league with Houston in 2008. Since ’08, Wright has a career 4.16 ERA. While that number doesn’t scream successful reliever, the former Astro’s numbers since 2011 do.

In 173.2 innings pitched since the start of 2011, Wright owns a stellar 3.26 ERA (3.62 FIP) over 237 appearances. He’s also accumulated 162 strikeouts and only 63 walks during that span.

Wright appeared in nine games for the D-Backs this spring, posting a 2.16 ERA in 8.1 innings pitched. He struck out eight, while only walking three batters.

Baseball Reference projects a 3.71 ERA in 34 innings for the reliever in 2016.

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Potential Fits

Both LeCure and Wright could conceivably contribute early. At worst, both are depth pieces. At best, they would each have the chance to be an impact reliever with the Detroit Tigers.

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