Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Way-too-early 25-man roster prediction

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DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 24: Joe Jimenez #77 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning at Comerica Park on August 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The teams are wearing their Players Weekend jerseys and hats. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 7-2. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 24: Joe Jimenez #77 of the Detroit Tigers pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the eighth inning at Comerica Park on August 24, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The teams are wearing their Players Weekend jerseys and hats. The Tigers defeated the White Sox 7-2. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – MAY 21: Blaine Hardy #36 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on May 21, 2018 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Long: Blaine Hardy

I teased the idea of the Tigers trading either Hardy or Alex Wilson, but ultimately I think they provide more value to this team than whatever they could get back in an offseason trade. Hardy had a career-year as a hybrid starter/long reliever last season, and I’d like to see him reprise that role again next year – even if some regression is coming.

Middle: Victor Alcantara

I think Alcantara will steal a bullpen spot from guys like Warwick Saupold and Zac Reininger, who both saw innings last season. Alcantara finished the year on fire, tossing 30 innings with a 2.40 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He has the tools to be an eighth inning guy down the line, and I think he begins the year in the Motor City.

Middle: Drew VerHagen

The Tigers successfully turned two starters, VerHagen and Buck Farmer, into decent middle relievers. Neither are going to be all-stars, but VerHagen had a nice 8.47 K/9 and 3.84 FIP last year, so he’s already a decent option for this bullpen.

Middle: Buck Farmer

Farmer and VerHagen will always go together in my head, as starters-turned-average relievers with electric stuff. Farmer is fun to watch pitch, if only he had enough consistency to put it all together. He will begin 2019 as one of Detroit’s middle relievers.

LOOGY: Daniel Stumpf

Daniel Stumpf wasn’t very good last year, but I think he will reprise his role as Detroit’s LOOGY next season, with Hardy as their long-man. His role is precarious to say the least though, and I think he’ll face competition from Saupold, Reininger and Zac Houston during spring training.

Set-Up: Alex Wilson

Again, I don’t think Wilson’s trade value is worth more than keeping him around at his expected $2.5M arb salary next season. Wilson had a nice season, posting a 3.36 ERA with a 1.05 WHIP. I expect him to be a reliable eighth inning option for this team again in 2019.

Set-Up: Trevor Rosenthal

Detroit’s bullpen wasn’t very good last season, but I don’t expect them to invest big money in fixing it while they are rebuilding. However, Rosenthal is coming off Tommy John surgery and could be a nice low-cost gamble on a one-year deal for this team. If he proves he is healthy and pitches well in the first half, this former Cardinals closer would command a hefty payday at the trade deadline. Of course, a lot of teams will be interested in Rosenthal, so he may price himself out of Detroit’s range. If he doesn’t, I like him a lot as a bounce back candidate.

Set-Up: Joe Jimenez

Jimenez is Detroit’s closer of the future, although as long as Shane Greene is in the fold I think he will retain that role. Greene is a prime candidate to be traded next July, so Jimenez might be the closer by midseason.

Closer: Shane Greene

Greene had an up-and-down season in Detroit, which likely cost him a chance to get traded to a contender at the deadline. I don’t see Detroit dealing him over the offseason, when the reliever market is much quieter, but I think he finishes the 2019 season in a different uniform. Until then, he will be Detroit’s closer.

Next. 5 offseason tasks for GM Al Avila. dark

Ultimately, this roster doesn’t look wildly different from what the Detroit Tigers already have. However, a few small moves here and there could help Detroit stay somewhat competitive next season. Plus, buying guys on the cheap who could bounce back is a great way to flip them for prospects, which will help the team get to the rebuild quicker.

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