Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Pitching Staff Set Up for Promising Future

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Sep 4, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris (44) greets teammates walking out from the bull pen against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris (44) greets teammates walking out from the bull pen against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Aug 14, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer (32) reacts to winning a complete game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Detroit Tigers won 7-0. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers pitching was a bright spot last season. Justin Verlander returned to Cy Young form while the team’s young pitchers took significant steps forward. The future is bright for Detroit’s pitchers.

Detroit Tigers fans will see a changed team in 2017. General manager Al Avila is looking to make the team younger and more efficient from a monetary perspective.

While it wouldn’t be a shock to see the likes of J.D. Martinez and Cameron Maybin traded, one area that is likely to remain unchanged is the pitching staff.

Most of the rotation is more or less a lock to be staying. Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd all fit the Tigers new vision perfectly. Not only do the trio have high ceilings, but they aren’t even eligible for arbitration until the conclusion on the 2018 season.

Additionally, Justin Verlander and Jordan Zimmermann shouldn’t be moved.

Verlander has obviously been with Detroit his entire career, and is likely headed to Cooperstown once all is said and done. If the Tigers are serious about staying competitive next season, it would be extremely hard to sell if Verlander is dealt.

Additionally, his contract would limit his potential trade market significantly.

Then there’s Zimmermann, who started 2016 on fine form, only to struggle with injuries and inconsistencies down the stretch. The ex-National ended up with a 4.87 and a 4.42 FIP in 105.1 innings pitched. He only struck out 5.6 batters per nine innings.

At this point, the Tigers may be better suited to hang on to Zimmermann (3.30 FIP, 19.6 WAR from 2011 to 2015) and see if he can rebound.

Detroit should open 2017 with Verlander, Fulmer, Norris, Boyd and Zimmermann starting in the rotation.

In a perfect world, Buck Farmer, Myles Jaye, Chad Bell or an offseason trade acquisition would be the team’s sixth starter. However, it remains to be seen if the Tigers can unload Anibal Sanchez or Mike Pelfrey’s contracts.

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