Here are four New Year’s resolutions for the Detroit Tigers to put into place whenever the season starts.
The first week of 2022 is upon us. A time for new beginnings, diet routines, and endless optimism for personal growth with resolutions to hold ourselves accountable for. Hopefully, in day five, you are sticking to your resolution. It’s the perfect time to do so. For sports fans around Metro Detroit, the college football season is over and depending on who you root for, it either ended positively or in a whimper. For Detroit Tigers fans, now, just the wait for lockout to end and for some regular activity begin again, such as free agent talks, roster positioning, MLB sites to have their rosters back with faces and what prospects we could see during the season.
Speaking of prospects, that’s where we will start our first resolution.
1. Building out the rotation internally or externally
The Tigers will still need to address the starting rotation and, looking from an internal option, the options are slim in terms of starters who could step in right away. Right-hander Alex Faedo is coming back from Tommy John surgery, but they will monitor him closely. The question is, will they will use him as a reliever or as a starter?
It was recently reported in the Freep ($) that Faedo rehabbed without the team’s input and until the lockout is over, we will have a better idea of what he could be long term. Recently, our own Michael Critchley discussed his long-term future in Detroit that puts him out of the bullpen.
With the way the current immediate depth is in the system, it would make sense to start Faedo so he could make possible spot starts whenever an injury occurs.
Lefty Joey Wentz will be in the mix, but beyond that, there seems to be a drop-off. The Tigers signed right-hander Markus Solbach, who last pitched in the Dodgers system and could be used as a starter in Toledo. The status of Paul Richan, who suffered an injury in the middle of June, is unknown. 2021 draft picks Jackson Jobe, Ty Madden and Dylan Smith have yet to make their debuts, but Madden could move up quickly. Franklin Pérez will return, but what he will be is yet to be determined.
As far as free agents go, Wily Peralta, who pitched well last season in Detroit, could join the backend of the rotation. The idea of Carlos Rodón, which we discussed this year and last year, is appealing but loss of velocity is concerning. Another one is Michael Pineda. He doesn’t walk a lot of batters (21 in 109.1 IP in 2021) but he had several trips to the IL in 2021, including right elbow inflammation.
The Tigers could buy low on right-hander Carlos Martinez from St. Louis as a minor league option. His season was cut short because of a thumb injury back in June. As far as fastball velocity is concerned, it has dropped gradually since 2018, but hitters hit just .186 against his slider and changeup in 2021.
2. Adding another outfielder
This idea is interesting among the fanbase. You have one side with the impression that the Tigers have enough in the outfield with Grossman, Baddoo, Reyes, and a combination of Hill, Hasse and Harold Castro with Riley Greene around the corner.
There are no guarantees about the players above who played last season. Baddoo finished the season on a high note, hitting .263 with 3 home runs in September but hit just .214 against lefties on the season. Grossman’s 23 home runs and 20 stolen bases to go along with 14.6% walk rate was a solid investment by the Tigers, but can he repeat that performance again? If he can give something similar and hit for a higher average, that would go a long way.
There are still questions about if Derek Hill can stay healthy based on his style of play. Haase is platooning in left with Castro and Reyes taking reps at centerfield. Reyes is what Reyes is, which is an outfield with little power but can play solid defense.
I am a fan of Michael Conforto. He is a lefty bat that will turn 29 this season. He has had a WRC+ over 100 since 2017. While he has had some hamstring issues the last few seasons, he is a veteran bat that can get on base. Let’s not forget in 2019, he hit 33 home runs. Eddie Rosario is out there, fresh off his World Series win in Atlanta.
3. Figuring out a role for Isaac Paredes
The Tigers are in a unique situation. They have Jeimer Candelario at third, Baez at short and Schoop splitting time between second and first with Willi Castro in the mix as a backup. Paredes can play anywhere in the infield minus first. So where to put him? Do you trade him for pitching help in the rotation? Do you give him the third base job and trade Candelario, since he is up for a raise?
Paredes’s lack of power is a concern, but he has a good eye at the plate and his future could be as a gap hitter. Either way, it seems like something that should be addressed as soon as the lockout is over.
4. The Detroit Tigers need to continue to be aggressive
The YouTube channel “Urinating Tree” did a great job explaining the situation with the A’s and a few months back, I wrote about a hypothetical deal to be made with Oakland. A trade to continue to upgrade the team like Oakland, who is financially “strapped” or perhaps seeing after the landscape is laid out after the lockout is over, maybe make another run at Carlos Correa.
Detroit got Tucker Barnhart and Eduardo Rodriguez early in the off-season and getting Baez as the lockout was pending gave Detroit a good solid base to build on, but they have to continue. While it doesn’t appear that Cleveland will spend, they still have good pitching that has shut down the Tigers’ bats.Chicago is the team to beat in the AL Central but despite the Twins’ 2021 season, there is a lot of talent there and reportedly, will spend to make some upgrades.
This lockout may not end soon, but Detroit should be ready to pounce and add a few more pieces.