As the Detroit Tigers enter the 2018 season, many questions must be answered before opening day on March 29th. Of significant concern; who will be the five starting pitchers for the rebuilding Detroit Tigers?
The Detroit Tigers could opt with Mike Fiers to answer that question. On December 8th, 2017, the Detroit Tigers signed right-handed pitcher Mike Fiers to a one year $6 million contract. The contract provides control over the pitcher through 2019.
The signing partially answers that question. Fiers is projected to be a middle of the rotation pitcher for the Bengals. At first blush, it appeared that General Manager Al Avila signed another Mike Pelfrey for this year’s staff. But Fiers is a different breed of pitcher.
Going into his eighth year of pro baseball and now with his third team, one might be tempted to label Fiers as a journeyman. It is possible, however, to believe that Fiers may light it up this year in the American League Central Division.
Fiers was drafted in the 22nd round of the 2009 Major League draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. After spending two-plus years in the minors, he was called up by the big league club in September of 2011.
Since his call-up, he is 42 – 47, has a career 4.15 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP and 4.5 WAR. He has pitched a no-hitter, in August of 2015, while pitching for the Astros.
In addition, he carried a perfect game into the 7th inning on August 7, 2012. He finished the game after going eight innings allowing one run on three hits.
Of concern is Fiers last two years with the Astros.
Beginning with the 2016 season, Fiers ERA began to rise and while he finished with an 11-8 record, his earned run average was 4.48.
In 2017, the 6-2 220 lbs right-hander started, and pitched 153.1 innings more than any other Houston pitcher. In spite of this, he was left off the postseason roster.
A closer look at last year’s season is warranted. Going into August of 2017, Fiers was 7-5 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. To say he had a bad August is an understatement.
For a pitcher known for hitting batters such as Giancarlo Stanton, control is his forte. He lost control in August where he gave up six plus runs in three of six starts.
Fiers would finish the year with a 5.22 ERA and 146 strikeouts.
The 32-year-old pitcher would become a free agent when Houston declined to tender him a contract for the 2018 season.
After receiving potentially longer offers from other teams, Fiers selected the Tigers, according to Jerry Crasnick.
Chris McCosky noted that Fiers chose the Tigers so that he would be reunited with new pitching coach Chris Bosio.
While in the Milwaukee farm system, Fiers was under the tutelage of Bosio and went 11-1 during that span. Fiers seeks to regain that level of success now that he has been reunited with Bosio in Detroit.
Due to his age and considering the fact that Detroit is in a rebuilding phase, it’s not likely Fiers will be in Detroit for any period of time. It is hoped, however, that Mr. Fiers will be in Detroit long enough to show that he has regained his past.