Top free agent targets for the Detroit Tigers after Javier Báez

Gavin Kozlo
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila on the field prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on August 11, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City defeated Detroit 10-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 11: Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila on the field prior to the start of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on August 11, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Kansas City defeated Detroit 10-2. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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Top free agent targets for the Detroit Tigers after Javier Báez

On November 30th, 2021 at 1:51 am, MLB insider Jon Morosi broke the news that shortstop Javier Báez and the Detroit Tigers have reached an agreement on a 6-year deal worth $140 million.

Now, with the Tigers signing the shortstop everyone was waiting for, the question is who else should the Tigers target? I am going to give my favorite option for an addition at starting pitcher, relief pitcher, and hitter.

Which free agent starting pitcher should the Detroit  Tigers target?

I think the pitcher that Al Avila and the Tigers should make a strong push for is Marcus Stroman. The Tigers choosing Javier Báez over a Carlos Correa or even a Trevor Story means they should have more money to spend elsewhere. That’s where Stroman comes into play. He finished the 2021 season with a 3.02 ERA, 3.49 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, and 3.95 SIERRA. The 1.14 WHIP was the lowest in Stroman’s career.

Detroit Tigers
Javier Baez jokingly takes the hat off Marcus Stroman. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Stroman would be a good fit for the Detroit Tigers because they need one more starter due after losing Spencer Turnbull for the year and non-tendering Matthew Boyd. Along with that, Stroman would thrive in a park-like Comerica, he is a pitch-to-contact guy so in a big ballpark like Comerica would surely be appealing to him.

Secondly, Stroman has openly said he likes playing with Báez and would like to keep being teammates with him.  Many took that to mean  they were both going back to the Mets, but now with Báez in Detroit, he may be able to help persuade the Tigers to offer Stroman a contract and/or convince Stroman to come play in Detroit.

Which free agent reliever should the Detroit Tigers target?

There are a lot of relievers on the market right now, so just picking one was a very difficult task. But, the one player I think would be a great addition to the Tiger’s arm barn/bullpen is, Andrew Chafin.

Detroit Tigers
Relief pitcher Andrew Chafin sits in the dugout. Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

Earlier this November Chafin declined his $5.25 million option with the Athletics and decided he wanted to test out the free-agent market. Last season with the Cubs and Athletics he threw 68.2 innings with a 1.83 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 0.932 WHIP, and a 3.86 SIERRA. Chafin found something in his game after having his best ERA and WHIP of his 8-year career.

I think the Tigers go out and grab at least one relief arm this offseason, and there are a good amount of options left. But, I think Chafin is the best one available right now for them. He will be going into his age-32 season, and would head to one of the most pitcher-friendly parks while also working with one of the best pitching coaches in baseball Chris Fetter.

The Tigers don’t have a real veteran presence anymore in the bullpen, with Derek Holland, Buck Farmer, and Daniel Norris all gone. Chafin would be able to help younger pitchers like Kyle Funkhouser, Gregory Soto, Bryan Garcia, and Jason Foley. If they can get him for the right price I  think Andrew Chafin would be a great fit for the Tigers.

Which free agent bat should the Detroit Tigers target?

Last, but certainly not least, is the hitter I would love for the Tigers to go out and grab: Chris Taylor. Taylor would be a great utility guy to add to the team. He has a good bat, finishing last year slashing a .245/.344/.438 for a 110 OPS+ and a 113 wRC+.

Detroit Tigers
Chris Taylor is put out at second base by Javier Baez. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

Taylor can play well all over the field, but his main position is second base, and that is exactly where I would put him to start the year for the Detroit Tigers. Taylor plays second base until Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene are ready for the majors, and then they can move Taylor around the field to anywhere they need him to play.T

Taylor would give the Tigers great versatility, and we heard a lot last year from AJ Hinch that he loves a player who can play all positions. So, it would make a lot of sense for the Tigers to grab a guy like Taylor.

How much would each of these players cost the Detroit Tigers?

Well,as of right now there are no reports on what any of these guys are specifically asking for. So I am just gonna go through and give you what I think each player should be offered from the Tigers.

Let’s start with Stroman. He will be the most expensive player out of the three I have named. It has been rumored that Stroman wants over $18 million annually, along with Stroman saying himself on his Twitter account that he would like a five-year deal.

If I were the one offering Stroman a contract it would be a five-year, $115 million deal. Giving him $23 million AAV. This may seem like an overpay to some, but for a top-20 pitcher in baseball, arguably top-15, $23 million AAV is not a bad price tag.

Next Andrew Chafin. There have been no reports on Chafin since he declined his option, so it’s hard to gauge how much he would want, but it’s safe to assume he’d like more than $5.25 million. I don’t think he would ask for a double-digit AAV, or at least he shouldn’t. So, if I were in charge, I would send him a two-year, $14-15 million contract, which I think would be reasonable for a guy like Chafin.

Lastly, Chris Taylor. Taylor has been in a lot of reports about teams interested in him, but no real numbers have surfaces. My guess is he would want something in the $9-11 million range. He is not a necessity, like Chafin or Stroman, so I would offer him a three-year, $30 million contract.

Those are my current free-agent favorites that I think the Tigers should go out and pursue. Do I think the Tigers get all three? No.

But, if they only get one or two it would still do so much good for the team. The new players would bring so much more energy and life to the fan base and make the Tigers even more of a threat to the White Sox.

Next. Detroit Tigers offseason mailbag. dark

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