Detroit Tigers: Michael Saunders and Jeanmar Gomez are worth fliers
Detroit Tigers fans have seen some solid depth pieces contribute this season. If the Tigers want to find success this year, they’ll need more help. Luckily, two potential additions just became available.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila did a solid job of adding under-the-radar depth since taking over.
Catcher John Hicks looks like a potential keeper as a bench piece and occasional starter. Meanwhile outfielder Jim Adduci has posted some encouraging numbers (.888 OPS, 137 wRC+) in limited playing time.
Fellow outfielder Alex Presley has also flashed offensive upside, with six runs scored, five RBI, two doubles and two stolen bases in 12 games.
There’s also hard-throwing left-handed pitcher Chad Bell, who has shown considerable promise as a multiple-inning reliever so far this season.
A starting pitcher at times in the minors, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the southpaw eventually make a start or two for Detroit.
While the quartet have performed admirably for the Tigers, the team could still use some extra reserve options.
Added options would certainly help in the bullpen, where the team is still searching for the right mix.
What’s more, another outfield or bench bat certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Luckily for Avila and Detroit, a few potential buy-low candidates just became available.
The Philadelphia Phillies announced in a tweet on the team’s official Twitter account Tuesday morning the following roster move.
The Phillies’ official Twitter account tweeted:
"“RHP Jeanmar Gomez and OF Michael Saunders have been designated for assignment.”"
Both Gomez (6.53 FIP) and Saunders (.617 OPS, 57 wRC+) have struggled in 2017, but should they clear waivers, they make plenty of sense as potential depth pieces for the Tigers given their track records.
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On one hand, moving Justin Wilson to the closer’s role has helped Detroit win a number of games and stay competitive.
On the other hand, the left-hander’s old job as an effective setup man hasn’t exactly been filled. Shane Greene has been used more akin to Andrew Miller, without a set inning.
Meanwhile, Alex Wilson has been left to shoulder the load in the eighth inning. He’s been solid, but he’ll need help as the season progresses so he isn’t overused.
So far, he hasn’t gotten consistent help. Outside of the two Wilsons and Greene, Detroit’s best relievers have been Bell and Warwick Saupold, two pitchers who are better suited to long relief work.
Adding a pitcher of Gomez’ quality would certainly help.
The right-hander was Philadelphia’s closer last season, notching 37 saves. Since the start of the 2013 season, the reliever owns a 3.59 ERA and a 3.84 FIP in 286 innings.
The Detroit Tigers current position of need is in center field, where the team’s center fielders have the second-lowest WAR and the fourth-lowest wRC+.
Saunders hasn’t played center field in a few seasons, but he’s well worth a look as a potential contributor.
The outfielder’s numbers this year (.155 ISO, 57 wRC+) aren’t anywhere near his strong numbers from 2016 with Toronto (.224 ISO, 127 wRC+).
However, Saunders does have a track record of displaying pop, with four seasons of double-digit home runs and three instances where he surpassed 22 doubles
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the former Mariner hits left-handed and could potentially handle all three outfield spots.
Potential fit with Detroit
If Victor Martinez remains sidelined long, Saunders could play the outfield corners more with J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton logging games at designated hitter.
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Additionally, if J.D. Martinez is dealt, the Tigers can use Saunders as a stop-gap solution along with Mikie Mahtook in right until Christin Stewart is able to take over the position full time in 2018.