Starter 1: Matthew Boyd
A strong trade candidate after a nice 2018 season, I think the Detroit Tigers will hold onto Boyd for another year, possibly making him available at the trade deadline. On the heels of a career-year, I think Boyd will get the ball on Opening Day.
Starter 2: Michael Fulmer
Fulmer’s trade value has completely tanked at this point, so it makes sense for Detroit to hold onto him and hope he can regain some of the form that made him the 2016 Rookie of the year and an All-Star caliber arm in 2017.
Starter 3: Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmermann and the $50M+ the Tigers still owe him aren’t going anywhere this offseason. Hopefully the right-hander can maintain the solid K/BB ratio he had last year, while limiting some of the home runs so he can return to his old ways. It’s a longshot, but Detroit doesn’t have much choice with his gargantuan contract.
Starter 4: Marco Estrada
I think the Tigers will once again turn to the free agent market to pick up cheap veteran starting pitching, and Estrada reminds me a lot of the Mike Fiers signing last year. While I don’t expect Estrada to post a 3.38 ERA like Fiers did, I think a move to a low pressure situation in Detroit, not to mention a much bigger park – which is a big deal for a fly-ball pitcher – should help him rebound from an ugly 2018.
Starter 5: Daniel Norris
I believe the Tigers will give Matt Hall and Spencer Turnbull an opportunity to compete for the fifth rotation spot. I also think Tyler Alexander and possibly even Blaine Hardy will be in the mix as well.
Ultimately though, I don’t think the Tigers are ready to move on from Norris as a starter yet and if he is healthy I expect him to start the season out in the rotation. I won’t guarantee that he will finish the year there though.