Detroit Tigers: Low-cost relief pitchers the team could target
By Andy Patton
The Detroit Tigers may want to consider these low-cost veterans, Huston Street, Tom Wilhelmsen and Jason Grilli to fill out their bullpen for the 2018 season.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has spent the last few months acquiring prospects at the expense of the Tigers’ Major League roster.
However, at the end of the day the Tigers will need to field a 25-man roster of actual Major League Baseball players heading into Opening Day 2018.
One spot where they could theoretically add low cost, Major League talent to patch the roster together is in the bullpen.
The Tigers are bringing back a bevy of relief pitchers who tossed meaningful innings last year; including Shane Greene, Warwick Saupold, Chad Bell, Alex Wilson, Daniel Stumpf and Blaine Hardy. The Tigers had 11 other relievers who threw in a game last season.
Quantity is not the issue.
Quality however, is a concern.
Of relievers who threw over 20 innings for Detroit last year only four had an ERA+ over 100: Shane Greene (172) Justin Wilson (171) Daniel Stumpf (120) and Alex Wilson (102).
Justin Wilson is gone, having been dealt with Alex Avila at the trade deadline for Jeimer Candelario, among others. Greene is a potential trade candidate as well, leaving the bullpen a bit thin heading into 2018.
Even assuming no one is moved the Tigers will go into 2018 with Shane Greene, Daniel Stumpf, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy as locks in their bullpen.
That leaves a few open spots for a veteran or two to be brought in to eat up some innings while some of the younger guys (Joe Jimenez, Chad Bell, Bruce Rondon, Drew VerHagen, and Jairo Labourt) can battle it out for the last few spots, while the others refine their craft in the minors.
Now, a look at some of the low-cost names available for the Tigers to plug into their bullpen.