The Detroit Tigers have starting pitching high on their list of priorities to address this winter
It is no secret that the Detroit Tigers founded their rebuild upon pitching. Double-A Erie’s rotation once featured Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Alex Faedo all at the same time. Two have established themselves as legitimate, big-league starting pitchers. One still developing. One injured.
It’s just about how the whole pitching thing goes. Many were justifiably concerned that the organization was relying on a bunch of maybe’s and what-if’s that may ultimately fizzle out, leaving an even-longer playoff draught forthcoming. Timing is everything, though, and new pitching coach Chris Fetter and Director of Pitching Development and Strategies Dan Hubbs have made full-length strides to catch up in all-things pitching and performance.
Most knew the Detroit Tigers could never have an entirely homegrown rotation. So then, they would still need to rely on external sources, and internal dollars, to make their team competitive– a proposition many were skeptical of. But, as evidenced in a recent article from Freep’s Jeff Seidel ($), the Detroit Tigers realize a starter is on their needs list and Siedel argues he feels the Tigers will sign a high-end starter.
Coupled with that thought, though, is his sentiment that the high-end starter will not be Justin Verlander, who will be looking for a high-dollar, multiyear deal despite coming off Tommy John Surgery. I am not a GM for reasons like this. Even if Verlander was not the right piece for the puzzle, my admiration would get the best of me and I’d go get him. Call it financial or fit, but it doesn’t sound as if the Detroit Tigers will be in play.
Other aging stars will hit the market as well: Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. It’s difficult to picture Kershaw buttoning up any other uniform and Scherzer is likely to have more ready-made options than the club that insulted him with a six-year extension offer in Spring, 2014.
If not Verlander, Scherzer, or Kershaw, then who? Let’s examine.