Detroit Tigers: Jared Hughes Represents Intriguing Buy-Low Candidate
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila added plenty of depth during the offseason. Now, with teams setting their respective rosters ahead of Opening Day, quality players are hitting the open market.
Detroit Tigers relievers enjoyed an overall bounce-back season in 2016.
The additions of Francisco Rodriguez and Justin Wilson allowed the other relievers to settle into more defined roles.
This led to the likes of Kyle Ryan, Alex Wilson and Bruce Rondon posting strong seasons.
Ryan in particular will once again be key for the coming season. He’ll team with Justin Wilson to give the Tigers a pair of left-handed relief options in the bullpen.
Elsewhere, Blaine Hardy and Daniel Stumpf give Detroit two added southpaw bullpen arms waiting in Triple-A Toledo.
However, extra depth is never a bad thing, especially considering Detroit used 22 different pitchers last season—23 if you count Andrew Romine, who threw two thirds of an inning to end a game on one occasion.
That’s why the Detroit Tigers should look into signing Jared Hughes.
The 31-year-old southpaw was recently cut by the Pittsburgh Pirates after six seasons with the National League Central franchise.
Overall, the veteran owns a 2.82 career ERA. He’s punched out 5.5 batters per nine innings in in 309.1 frames of work.
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Hughes has been particularly efficient since the beginning of the 2014 campaign, tallying a 2.41 ERA and a 1.274 WHIP in 190.2 innings.
While his 4.14 FIP over that span isn’t a perfect number by any stretch, there’s no denying that the former fourth-round pick can rack up outs at the Major League level.
Spring Training Struggles, Regular Season Results
Hughes did allow 16 hits, 15 runs and four walks in 9.1 innings of Spring Training action for the Pirates.
That was good for an 11.57 ERA.
Spring struggles are nothing new for the reliever, who logged respective ERAs of 10.61 and 19.64 in the springs of 2015 and 2016 respectively.
However, during the regular seasons that followed, the ex-Pirate turned in a 2.64 ERA.
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With a career swinging strike percentage of 10.3% and just 5.16 punch outs per nine frames last season, Hughes isn’t exactly going to lead the league in strikeouts.
However, the Detroit Tigers have found plenty of success with relievers who don’t miss many bats.
Kyle Ryan (5.66 strikeouts per nine innings), Alex Wilson (6.04) and Blaine Hardy (7.01) didn’t blow anyone away with punch outs.
However, the trio played key roles for Detroit last season.
In fact, Hughes’ 9.6 swinging strike percentage last season would have ranked ahead of all three of Ryan, Wilson and Hardy.
Potential Role With the 2017 Detroit Tigers
In Detroit, Hughes would conceivably serve as a depth piece behind the likes of Ryan and Wilson.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Tigers use a significant number of pitchers again in 2017. In this hypothetical scenario, Hughes would give Brad Ausmus and company another option.
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Considering the lefty owns a 1.97 ERA in 82 career appearances in the eighth inning, he could potentially develop into a setup reliever.