Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers desperately need bullpen stability in 2018

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MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Andrew Romine #17 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammate Shane Greene #61 after getting Zack Granite #8 of the Minnesota Twins out to end their baseball game on September 30, 2017, at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.(Photo by Andy King/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Andrew Romine #17 of the Detroit Tigers is congratulated by teammate Shane Greene #61 after getting Zack Granite #8 of the Minnesota Twins out to end their baseball game on September 30, 2017, at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.(Photo by Andy King/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 10: Francisco Rodriguez #57 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates with James McCann #34 of the Detroit Tigers after a 5-4 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on May 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

2016

Despite the struggles in 2015, Detroit’s relievers were much more successful in 2016.

The unit finished 12th in fWAR and 15th in FIP. The bullpen helped the franchise to an 86-75 record that finished just short of a playoff berth.

What changed?

The Tigers obviously made some offseason additions in the forms of Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson and Mark Lowe that provided an influx of talent.

However, the arrivals of Rodriguez and Wilson also helped the rest of the relievers settle into more consistent roles.

The 2018 bullpen

As it stands, the Detroit Tigers don’t have many established options for new manager Ron Gardenhire to turn to next season.

Closer Shane Greene and setup relief pitcher Alex Wilson are the only proven quantities at this point.

Outside of the duo and perhaps Daniel Stumpf, the rest of the bullpen is full of question marks.

In a perfect world, younger pitchers like Joe Jimenez, Bruce Rondon, Jairo Labourt and Bryan Garcia will take up prominent roles next season, but whether that happens obviously remains to be seen.

While Detroit’s lack of options isn’t ideal, Greene and Wilson’s respective roles as closer and primary eighth-inning option present some stability heading into the season.

The same can be said of Daniel Stumpf as the bullpen’s primary left-handed reliever.

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