Detroit Tigers: Making Due For the DL: The Starting Rotation Story

The Detroit Tigers got the news that Jordan Zimmermann is having forearm issues and it does not look good. Here’s a few possible scenarios that could work as Opening Day approaches.

The news today for the starting rotation was bad as Detroit Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann is on the 45-day DL with a forearm strain.  The 45 day is essentially the 60-day so due to the shortened season, the number changed.  With Michael Fulmer throwing in camp and Daniel Norris coming back from COVID-19, the rotation seemly has taken some sort of shape but overall, we can all see Fulmer is healthier but until we see him in real game action, we just have scrimmages to look at and we do not know the long term effects of the virus may have on Norris.

You can pencil in Matthew Boyd, Ivan Nova, and Spencer Turnbull in the Detroit Tigers’ rotation. With Zimmermann going on the DL, you would expect the likes of non-roster invites Shao-Ching Chiang or Dario Agrazal to get a look. Chiang has looked well in camp but Agrazal got rough up in his start earlier in the week. So with all of this to consider, here are some options to consider.

Bullpen Starts

Another chance to come up with clever names for those bullpen starts. Gregory Soto, Beau Burrows, and Kyle Funkhouser all have started in the minors. While Detroit has made it clear that all three are bullpen arms, Soto had a few spots starts last year when he was called up so perhaps Soto to start the game if its a lineup that was right-handed dominated. While his splits are a very small sample size, the first time against Soto through the order, the numbers favored Soto. According to Fangraphs, the first time through the order looked like this.

While there is a big drop-off in starting pitching numbers second time through, his second time as a reliever, only a small sample size of just five innings of work with an ERA of 0.00. Combine him with Funkhouser or Burrows for the “SotoBurrows” start or the “Funksoto”. Or if another non-roster invite makes the club,  Nick Ramirez, who threw 79 innings for Detroit last season in long relief, a “RamBurrows” start or “RamFunk”.  All these nicknames just add to a long year that has been 2020.

Began the Casey Mize Experience

I did an article about Casey Mize starting in Detroit already this week but it would make a lot of sense. If the Detroit Tigers want to wait for service time (7 days to start the 2020 season) or as a few fans suggest to tank, they can do so but the vibe is, Mize will be here this season.

None of the Above

It could be the simple case that the Tigers will just put Fulmer and Norris in the rotation and we may not see the bullpen starts or non-roster invites make the roster but it will be interesting how Detroit moves with this going forward. The feeling is that we may not see Jordan Zimmermann in a Tigers’ uniform again, which is really too bad. But as Opening Day approaches, Detroit will look from within to fix the rotation.