The Detroit Tigers are heading into 2022 as an organization ready to compete. They are going to be measured in their signings, save for a big name or two.
In the last couple of years, the Detroit Tigers have signed some lower-end free agent players in hopes of either keeping them for an unexpected push or primarily to trade at the deadline for some prospects. In 2021, names like Derek Holland, Jose Urena, and Julio Teheran were brought on board to varying levels of success.
To fully complete, the roster will need some finishing touches along the way, and as our own Roger Castillo provided cost-efficient relief pitching options, below are a few free-agent starting pitchers that fit the description.
One last bit of business before we get started. Before you cry out for the Justin Verlander reunion that I am personally dreaming about as well (I’m not the only one), please remember these are cost-efficient options and JV will be wrangling in at least $10 million per year.
A name Tigers fans know very well from his days in Cleveland, Kluber pitched to a 3.83 earned run average in 16 games for the New York Yankees in 2021.
Kluber made $11 million on a one-year deal, but missed a significant amount of action with a shoulder injury.
Kluber is primed to earn less than he did last year, and if he can be acquired on a reasonable “prove it” deal, he could be a significant piece for a newly competitive Tigers team.
Another former All-Star who saw his 2021 held back by injuries, Archer appears to need a fresh start to prove he’s both healthy and still effective.
He could be a great veteran presence who could help both in the rotation and in the bullpen.
If he can find a glimmer of who he was around the time he was traded to Pittsburgh in that blockbuster deal, he’ll undeniably be a positive influence both on the field and off.
South Paws (Get it? Because of the Tigers Mascot.)
A hot commodity around the 2021 trade deadline, Anderson is a proving veteran who could be a solid back of the rotation option.
The Tigers will certainly be in competition for his services, but signing him to a one or even two-year deal surely won’t break the bank.
Besides, if the team isn’t quite where they need to or are expected to be mid-season 2022, he will most likely be in high demand and could bring back some young talent in return.
The Red Sox currently has a $6 million dollar club option on the veteran left-hander. Should they decline that option, Perez would probably garner less than the $6 million the BoSox said no to on the open market.
Like Archer, Perez could slide into a spot start when needed, but also work out of the ‘pen.
Perez doesn’t strike many batters out, and would probably be used similar to how Holland was used in 2021 for the club, but he is still worth a flyer and could be beneficial to the club as he’s played on winning teams and knows how to do just that – win.
One More Shot
The aforementioned Teheran was brought to Detroit after many successful, All-Star quality seasons in Atlanta.
Sandwiched in between Detroit and Atlanta was a failed season in Anaheim in which he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and never really got going upon his return.
The Tigers signed him to a very affordable $3 million dollar deal, but the Colombian right-hander only pitched in one game before losing the rest of the campaign to a shoulder injury. If healthy, he could look to pick up where he left off in 2021 following a positive Spring Training performance.
The club knows him well and he could return on a minor league deal in hopes of paying dividends and raising his stock going forward.
A member of the Tigers rotation for a hot minute in 2018 before he was traded to the A’s, Fiers had a successful season as recently as 2019 going 15-4 with a 3.90 ERA in Oakland.
In the two years since Fiers had battled injuries and been in the news for … other reasons. With a bit of tarnish on his name in some clubhouses, it may not cost as much as he could otherwise earn if the narrative was different.
There’s no reason to think he doesn’t have much left to offer, and a team where he had a bit of success before being dealt might be just what the doctor ordered.
This group is fluid, and ever-changing based on availability. There are also some other names that could be intriguing candidates, but all in all the Tigers are becoming more complete on their own as prospects get chances, and young hurlers start to figure it out and stick at the major league level.