Detroit Tigers: Henderson Alvarez a potential depth option

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Henderson Alvarez
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 23: Henderson Alvarez /

The Detroit Tigers may be looking to add another starting pitcher as depth heading into 2018. Henderson Alvarez could be that guy.

The Detroit Tigers have already made two signings this offseason to address their starting pitching. First, the Tigers signed 27-year-old Ryan Carpenter to a minor league deal.

Carpenter is expected to compete for the fifth starter role with veteran Mike Fiers, who the Tigers signed earlier this week.

Fiers and Carpenter join a rotation that is led by Michael Fulmer, who has been the subject of numerous trade rumors this offseason.

Left-handers Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd, along with veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann, fill out the rotation.

After the Fiers signing, it seemed like the Tigers would be done adding to their rotation. That still may be the case, but a tweet by Detroit Free Press writer Anthony Fenech may suggest otherwise:

Car-based puns may be Avila’s way of trying to connect with fans in the Motor City, but this certainly makes it sound like the Tigers are considering adding more depth to their rotation.

Rotation depth is a crucial part of any team’s success, whether they are competing for a World Series or rebuilding for the future. Last season, the Tigers saw 11 different players start a game on the mound. Three of those players (Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Myles Jaye) are no longer in the organization.

Two of them, Chad Bell and Drew VerHagen, spent more time in the bullpen than in the rotation in 2017.

Overall, it would make sense for the Tigers to add a low-cost starting pitcher that could come up and contribute should one of the starters get injured.

At the very least, it cannot hurt to have more depth for the rotation at Toledo.

One non-maserati option the Tigers could pursue is former All-Star Henderson Alvarez.

Henderson Alvarez

Injuries have limited Henderson Alvarez to 37 big league innings since the start of the 2015 season. In that time he’s given up 23 runs, walked 18 and only struck out 15.

Obviously those numbers are concerning, but Alvarez was an All-Star in 2014 with the Miami Marlins. He finished 12th in Cy Young voting that season with a 2.65 ERA and a 140 ERA+.

Expecting Alvarez to return to his All-Star form is far-fetched, especially after the injuries have taken a lot of the zip off his fastball. Alvarez averaged 94.6 mph on his heater in 2014, compared to only 91.5 last season.

However, despite all the injuries it is worth pointing out that Alvarez is only 27 years old. He’s healthy right now and could come right in and compete for one of the final rotation spots with Ryan Carpenter and Matt Boyd.

If he doesn’t win a starting role out of camp he can start out at Triple-A Toledo where he has had success recently. Alvarez made three starts at Triple-A in 2017, pitching to a 2.84 ERA.

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The Tigers have six solid starting pitching options. However, depth is never a bad thing. Taking a chance on Henderson Alvarez to rebound is worth it for a rebuilding team like the Tigers.