A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my Four Players I Don’t Want to See Next Year in a Detroit Tigers uniform. We all know this Tigers’ lineup is not packed with talent, but aside from the prospects, here are four players I would like to see return to the roster as the team hopefully looks to compete next year.
Grossman is a perfect third or fourth outfielder for a team looking to compete. He works pitchers deep into counts and has an On-Base Percentage of .368, well above the league average of .311. His 23 walks are good for third in the League, the making of a solid end-of-the-lineup table setter. Grossman has speed in his toolkit as well, as the veteran is a perfect 6-6 in 2021. In addition to his above average approach at the plate, he has not made an error since July of 2018. As the Tigers prospects begin to come into their own and the team hopefully begins competing soon, it would be wise to keep Grossman on the squad as a fourth outfielder. He would be a perfect late-inning pinch-hit plate appearance with his knack for getting on base and his speed once he gets there. He has more postseason experience than many other players on the roster, heading to the playoffs three times in his nine year career.
Candelario has been the most consistent hitter on this Tigers team the past two years. After posting a .297/.369/.503 clip last season, Candelario is following up with a .284/.346/.405 slash line this year. He has been heating up as of late, including a three-run home run in the 10th inning against the Boston Red Sox to lead the Tigers to a win. Candy plays solid defense at both third base and first base and will likely move over to first base when Spencer Torkelson is ready for the Big Club. Candelario could fit in well with a competitive squad as he is a six-year MLB veteran who has been through the trenches with this Tigers Organization. He is not a middle of the order hitter but could prove to be a threat from the two spot or towards the bottom of the order in the future.
From the Starting Pitching side of the ball, the Tigers have been better than I expected. A large part of this is the rising success of Matthew Boyd. Unfortunately, it appears he tweaked his knee in his most recent start, but prior to that, he was dealing. In his six starts, he posted a 2-3 record with an ERA of 2.27. His pitch selection and location was lights out and he was looking like a true number one starter. Boyd tossed 4 Quality Starts, with the two exceptions being a 5 2/3 inning outing in which he shut out the Indians and the 1 inning outing against the White Sox that ended in an injury. For a pitcher who led the league in Home Runs allowed the past two years, Boyd appears to have quelled that storm, giving up just one home run in nearly 36 innings of work thus far. Unless the Tigers are offered a large compensation package for Boyd at the Trade Deadline, it would be a good decision to keep the veteran on board as the team begins to compete.
Urena is another starting pitcher who has exceeded expectations. He has been a Double Play machine and has tossed three straight seven-inning gems after imploding in his first start and having a shaky second outing. Urena has been a victim of the Tigers’ offense, as they have wasted two of his seven inning outings with no run support. Urena is a candidate to be traded at the Trade Deadline, but I think he could fill a role at the back end of the Tigers’ rotation as they work toward competing in the years to come. He is a relatively cheap option who will go out and compete each start. Urena was a nice addition at the beginning of this season, and I would like to see him continue with his tenure on the squad as he is a reliable option in the starting rotation.