It is clear that the Detroit Tigers need at least one new pitcher for the starting rotation. If the team continues to rely on Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez, there is no way the Tigers will be in the contention for any playoff games.
Here’s a little perspective. When Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmermann, and Michael Fulmer start on the mound, the Tigers have a record of 32-15. This means when someone other than those three is pitching, the team record is 17-29. Ouch.
There is no way that the Tigers can consistently lose two out of every five games. It is clear that they need someone with more reliability on the mound every five days. One of those pitchers who could be an interesting addition for the team is Matt Shoemaker.
Currently with the Los Angeles Angels, Shoemaker is a Michigan native. He was born in Wyandotte, Michigan and attended Trenton High School. He played baseball at Eastern Michigan University.
Shoemaker is a young pitcher who has seen some success in Los Angeles. In his four years with the team, he has a career 3.79 average and a WHIP of 1.187. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year standings in 2014 when he went 16-4, leading the league in win-loss percentage. He has been averaging 9.3 strikeouts per nine, along with 1.9 walks and 1.1 home runs.
In comparison, Sanchez has 1.9 home runs per nine innings and 4.2 walks with 7.7 strikeouts per nine. Pelfrey allows 1.2 home runs, 3.8 walks, and has only 4.1 strikeouts. Pelfrey currently has an ERA of 4.95 and WHIP of 1.760 and Sanchez has an ERA of 6.75 with a WHIP of 1.645.
Despite the issues with Sanchez as a starting pitcher, he has had a few bright moments when he comes out of the bullpen. But, Brad Ausmus cannot use him in tight situations. Pelfrey did have a good outing from the bullpen and he had two good starts – until he faced the Kansas City Royals right after the All-Star Break.
These two men have consistently shown that they are incapable of pitching at the level the Tigers need to take this team with its level of offensive talent where it should go. They need to be permanently removed from the rotation.
There are some starting pitchers that are potential trade options. If the Tigers continue to win, they should be buyers. The bullpen seems to be solidified – especially with the Justin Wilson, Shane Greene, and Francisco Rodriguez lineup. So, starting pitching is the weakest part of the team.
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Of the pitchers out there, like Drew Smyly, Sonny Gray, and the rest, Matt Shoemaker would be a good choice. He grew up a Tigers fan and he has pitched well against the Tigers – especially at Comerica Park. The Tigers treat their hometown players with the utmost respect and there is no doubt that Shoemaker would be a quick favorite if he were to become a Tiger.
But, who could go to Los Angeles in his place? They certainly do not need a center fielder. The team is currently platooning at shortstop and in left field. Albert Pujols isn’t getting any younger and he’s not performing the way he once did. Even the relief pitching in L.A. looks like it needs some help. Could Steven Moya be an option for the Angels to eventually replace Pujols? What about Alex Wilson in their bullpen?
It would be nice to see a hometown boy come back to town to help the Tigers get a few more wins.