Detroit Tigers: Let’s talk about Chris Tillman

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 30: Chris Tillman
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 30: Chris Tillman /

The Detroit Tigers have a known interest in adding another pitcher before the season starts. Former Baltimore starter Chris Tillman may be the guy.

The rumors that the Detroit Tigers remain interested in veteran starter Chris Tillman have been confirmed, as the right-hander threw for the Tigers on Saturday. According to Baltimore Sun writer Eduardo Encina, both the Orioles and Tigers are in play for Tillman.

Of course, it does not come as a big surprise that Tillman is being considered by the Tigers. General Manager Al Avila recently stated that the team is looking to add another pitcher before the season starts. In fact, the Tigers were one of many teams in attendance at a workout by former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum last week.

However, the Tigers have a logjam in their starting rotation, making Tillman seem like an odd fit on paper. As of now the starting rotation looks like it will be comprised of Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Fiers and left-handers Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd. While Norris and Boyd have had their fare share of struggles at the big league level, the team also has Buck Farmer and offseason signee Ryan Carpenter on hand as depth. Plus, veteran relief pitcher Alex Wilson is competing for a spot in the rotation as well.

Why Tillman makes sense

Still, there’s good reason for the Tigers to consider Tillman. Although he is coming off a terrible 2017 campaign, he has a solid track record of success at the big league level. Perhaps a change of scenery, and a no pressure situation in Detroit, will help him bounce back.

The right-hander had an ugly 7.84 ERA in 24 appearances last season. He went 1-7 with a 6.1 K/9 and 4.94 BB/9. However, from 2012-2016 Tillman tossed 884.2 innings with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He was even an All-Star in 2013.

If Tillman can crack the rotation and pitch well, there’s another bonus for the Tigers: he will make a great trade candidate. Teams are always looking to add pitching at the trade deadline, and Tillman could be flipped for prospects that would help the rebuild process in the Motor City. Even if Tillman does not pitch well, his contract will not cost much.

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Based on his ugly 2017 numbers, Tillman may have to settle for a minor league deal. If the Tigers can get him at that price, they should sign him. His track record points to a solid possibility of a rebuild, and he would make a great trade piece as this team collects prospects for their future.