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Detroit Tigers: Gardenhire Wants Casey Mize on his Roster. Here’s Why It’s a Good Idea

DETROIT, MI - JULY 06: Casey Mize #74 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 6, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 06: Casey Mize #74 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the Detroit Tigers Summer Workouts at Comerica Park on July 6, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Casey Mize has made an impression in the Detroit Tigers Summer Camp. So much so that Ron Gardenhire wants him on the roster.  Now.

It’s well known the Detroit Tigers have a lot of young arms in camp. So far, we have seen Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, and Casey Mize pitch. While the rotation is pretty much set, Jason Beck of Tigers.com got an interesting quote from Ron Gardenhire that was inspired by a former Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

In Beck’s story, he points out how Jim Leyland used Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, among others, without a lot of minor league experience and let them learn how to pitch in the majors by trial by fire. Leyland used the talent that the Detroit Tigers drafted to his advantage and did not hold back.

So as Jason Beck points out, Gardenhire finds himself in a similar situation. Just like Rick Vaughn in “Major League 2”, he wants just one guy.  Mize.

So I started putting together a pros and cons list. I got a few pros but it was the cons I was struggling with. With this short season just a week away and the uncertainly if the season will even finish, Detroit Tigers might as well get a few thrills that could come via the starting rotation instead of the nighly highlight-reel catches of Riley Greene and Derek Hill. I have no issue with those catches but we can all agree Detroit Tigers fans are ready to see the young pitching prospects in action.

The Pros

-Casey Mize dominated the Eastern League last season before his injury, holding batters to a .231 batting average and a FIP of 2.98. While he was slated to pitch in Toledo, Gardenhire’s comments indicate he could pitch on this level already.

"“But I just think he’s very poised, he knows what he needs to do and wants to do, and it’s fun watching him pitch. He’s in control, and he has a great plan on what he needs to do to be successful."

-You have to wonder how long Ron Gardenhire is going to stick around as a manager before he walks away. Mize may give him the best opportunity to put the best rotation out there. If and I say this putting word IF in bold, it could give the best chance to finish over .500 since he did in 2010 as the manager of the Twins. I can say this with great certainty that Tigers fans would rather see Mize pitch versus 10 to 12 starts of Jordan Zimmermann struggle through his final season in Detroit.

– With this strange season, each starter projects to get at least 12 starts. And let’s say Mize pitches six innings in each start, that’s 60 innings, which would be 49 fewer innings than he pitched in 2019. While the Tigers can’t do the old Dodgers strategy of putting arms in the bullpen and starting them (Bob Welch, Dave Stewart, Orel Hershiser) Tigers fans could feel better about Mize’s arm health, knowing he isn’t overdoing it after ending the season in August.

Con:

-Service time is the major one I could really think of but Jeff Passan of ESPN.com points out a scenario for Toronto may do for their pitching prospect Nate Pearson by keeping Mize in the minors for seven days to gain another year of control.

Look, I am realistic, more than likely Casey Mize may not start the season in Detroit but I am with Ron Gardenhire and I think most of Metro Detroit and Tigers fans everywhere. Let him pitch next week in Cincinnati or the home series against the Royals.

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