Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers free agency primer: Seung-hwan Oh is intriguing buy-low candidate

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MIAMI, FL - MAY 09: Seung-Hwan Oh #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 09: Seung-Hwan Oh #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch during the ninth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on May 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /
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ST LOUIS, MO – JUNE 11: Seung-Hwan Oh #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO – JUNE 11: Seung-Hwan Oh #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches in the ninth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on June 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Hypothetical fit with the Detroit Tigers

Oh notched a 18.0 swinging strike percentage in 2016. That number dropped to a 12.0 in 2017, but it would still be a vast improvement over many of Detroit’s relievers.

Of Tigers bullpen arms with at least 10 innings pitched last season, just four had a swinging strike percentage over 11. Those four would include the since-traded Justin Wilson (14.3), the since-demoted Bruce Rondon (12.2), Jimenez (11.8) and Drew VerHagen (11.4).

Seung-hwan Oh would also give the team some flexibility in the ninth inning. He’d initially give the Tigers a veteran setup man to build a bridge to Shane Greene.

However, if Oh is successful, Detroit’s new manager could look to utilize Greene in a multi-inning role at times.

The former starter would still be the team’s primary closer, but Oh’s presence would allow more flexibility in the bullpen, something that could net the Tigers a few extra wins.

Adding the ex-Cardinals closer would also allow Detroit to use Greene or Oh in the ninth innings of tie games.

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Last season in high-leverage situations in the ninth inning the Tigers gave up the fifth-highest wOBA in the league. They also checked in at 20th in terms of WHIP in the same situations.

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