Detroit Tigers: What Travis Wood’s injury means

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 25: Travis Wood
MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 25: Travis Wood /

The Detroit Tigers lost some key depth when veteran left-hander Travis Wood tore his ACL in his first outing of the spring.

Detroit Tigers’ left-hander Travis Wood ran into some serious bad luck in 2018. After a crossbow accident nearly cost Wood his finger, he managed to return to the mound in time to throw two scoreless innings for the Tigers on Thursday.

While the outing was strong, Wood fell awkwardly on his left knee during a rundown. He was clearly in a lot of pain, prompting manager Ron Gardenhire to say simply that it didn’t look good.

Gardenhire was unfortunately spot on, as reports came on indicating that Wood tore his ACL and his meniscus, and will miss the entire 2018 season.

Wood, 31, was competing for a roster spot, either in the starting rotation or coming out of the bullpen. He was a longshot to make the rotation, being joined by Matt Boyd, Francisco Liriano, Ryan Carpenter and Alex Wilson in competition for that final spot.

However, a bullpen spot seemed attainable for the left-hander, who has a career 3.48 ERA and a 8.6 K/9 out of the pen.

So what does this mean?

For starter’s, Francisco Liriano and Ryan Carpenter each have a better chance of making the opening day roster. The pair of left-handers are competing for a rotation spot at the moment, but either could be placed in the bullpen if necessary.

Carpenter is a 27-year-old career minor leaguer who the Tigers signed back in November. He went 10-9 with a 4.15 ERA and a 9.3 K/9 in Colorado’s farm system last year. He has made one start so far in spring training, throwing two scoreless innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

Carpenter is unlikely to make the big league rotation to start the season, barring injury. However, he has had a lot of success at Triple-A and makes for great depth for a team that has had their fare share of injuries to the starting rotation.

Liriano was added on a minor league deal in February. While his primary big league experience is in the starting rotation, he has not fared well there since 2015. The Astros acquired him at the tail end of last season and used him exclusively out of the bullpen, something the Tigers should consider doing with the veteran.

Liriano could make a case to be the team’s LOOGY next season. For his career, he has held left-handed hitters to a .222/.297/.306 line with a stellar 3.16 K/BB ratio. Even in 2017 when Liriano struggled he held opposing left-handers to a .247 average and posted a 4.40 K/BB ratio.

Next: Who will be the opening day second baseman?

Wood was probably on the outside looking in for a roster spot before his injury. However, this is why rebuilding teams sign multiple veteran’s on minor league deals. Liriano and Carpenter each have a better chance of making the big league roster now.

Hopefully, one of them can step up and help this team as they power through their first full-season of the rebuild.