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Detroit Tigers Free Agent Review: Matt Shoemaker

Aug 4, 2020; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (34) on the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 4, 2020; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker (34) on the mound against the Toronto Blue Jays during the first inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers will be looking for an arm to eat some innings in 2021 and Matt Shoemaker could be the answer.

Matt Shoemaker is a Michigan native, born in Wyandotte and he played collegiate baseball at Eastern Michigan University. It would be a nice homecoming for Shoemaker and having family and friends closer to games could be enough of a reason to sign with the Detroit Tigers.

Why Shoemaker?

When healthy, Shoemaker is a reliable arm that will eat some innings. Over his eight-year career, his record is 43-33 with a 3.86 earned run average. In 2014, his rookie season he had a 16-4 record but finished second in the rookie of the year race behind Jose Abreu. He can also perform when it matters in his one appearance in the 2020 playoffs pitching in 3 shutout innings against the eventual AL champs.

A statistic that Shoemaker shines in is his strikeout to walk ratio which is 3.67, the league average in this statistic is 2.00. Last season the Tigers pitching staff had the 19th most walks in the league and dead last in team earned run average.

Getting a pitcher like Shoemaker would bring more consistency to the pitching staff by limiting the number of free passes and limiting runs allowed. If Shoemaker can stay healthy he could be a real steal for the Tigers this offseason.

Why not Shoemaker?

He is on the wrong side of 30 and has a long history of injuries. In 2016 he took a line drive to the head which lead to a fractured skull and eventually ended his season. In 2017 and 2018 his seasons were cut short by a forearm injury and in 2019 he tore his ACL. The big question is not if Shoemaker has the talent anymore it’s if he can stay on the field to prove it. With this long history of injuries, he has not been able to get past 100 innings pitched since 2016.

We saw what he was capable of in Game 1 of this year’s playoffs against Tampa Bay. With Detroit needing pitching, this could be a low-risk, high reward arm to add to the bullpen or the rotation.

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