Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Low-cost relief pitchers the team could target

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DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 27: Carlos Perez #58 of the Los Angeles Angels and Huston Street #16 celebrate a win over the Detroit Tigers on August 27, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Angels defeated the Tigers 2-0. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 27: Carlos Perez #58 of the Los Angeles Angels and Huston Street #16 celebrate a win over the Detroit Tigers on August 27, 2015 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. The Angels defeated the Tigers 2-0. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 24: Jason Grilli #37 of the Texas Rangers tosses the ball to first for the out on Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the eighth inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 24, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA – AUGUST 24: Jason Grilli #37 of the Texas Rangers tosses the ball to first for the out on Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the eighth inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 24, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Jason Grilli

A familiar face, Grilli was a member of the Detroit Tigers bullpen from 2005-2008, where he threw 171.1 remarkably average innings.

He puttered around for a few more years before putting together two very strong seasons as the primary closer in Pittsburgh in 2013 and in Atlanta in 2015.

The magic wore off the last few years, as the 40-year-old posted his ugliest stats since 2004 last year with the Blue Jays and Rangers, finishing with a 6.30 ERA and a 75 ERA+.

However, Grilli’s strikeout numbers have remained elite as he has posted a 9.5 K/9 or higher every season since 2009.

FanGraphs reports that his fastball velocity of 93.1 mph last season is right on par with his career norms, so there is reason to believe the high strikeout numbers are legit.

He suffered from a freakishly high 2.70 HR/9 last year, another product of playing in both the Rogers Centre and Globe Life Park, two fields known for elevated home run numbers.

Grilli may not have much left in the tank, but a small incentive-laden contract could pay dividends if he is able to keep his strikeout numbers up and keep the ball in the park.

Next: Tigers should sign these 4 former 1st-round picks

There is no guarantee that any of Street, Wilhelmsen or Grilli are serviceable Major League relievers next year, but in a rebuilding season with little to lose, there is plenty of reason for the Tigers to give one (or two) of these guys a chance while they let some of their younger arms marinate in the minors a touch longer.

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