Across the league this season, injuries played a role in how creative teams got when it comes to their lineups and pitching staffs. It was no different for the Detroit Tigers as injuries took a toll on the starting rotation.
When it came to the bullpen, the Detroit Tigers saw improvement and were able to overcome injuries to Gregory Soto and Jose Cisnero towards the end of the season. Cisnero was one of the most consistent relievers in the American League early in the season, allowing just one run in 13 innings of work in the month of June (0.68 ERA, 13K).
Soto’s body of work as his first year of closing out games was impressive, limiting batters to just a .198 with a min of 60 innings pitched, the lowest since Joaquin Benoit in 2013.
A healthy Michael Fulmer and the emergence of Kyle Funkhouser as effective relievers gave the Tigers a solid bullpen for the first time since 2016. One of the first off-season pieces I did praise the improvement of others like Alex Lange and his impressive changeup that provided to be a difference-maker towards the end of the season.
One of the items Al Avila discussed at his end of the season press conference was that the Tigers were not going to go after any bullpen arms. If you look internally, Jason Foley could be the next arm to step up and play more of a role in 2022 or Angel De Jesus, a minor league right-hander who pitched in Toledo and Erie last season and is currently playing winter ball in the Dominican with Drew Carlton.
Also, you have to consider Rony Garcia, coming back from his knee injury, and how Alex Faedo may look post Tommy John surgery. But in my opinion, you can never have too many arms. Take a look at how the post-season has looked so far with the respective bullpens for Houston and Atlanta.
Let’s take a look at the free-agent market and see what arms could be a good fit for the Tigers bullpen, should they decide to add an arm or two to fortify the bullpen.