1. The Bullpen
Bullpen arms are becoming more valuable in today’s game. It is luxurious to have an arm capable of handling leverage spots throughout a game. Additionally, starting pitchers have not been going as deep into games, leaving teams to require 4-5 reliable arms to get through contests while keeping their guys fresh.
The Detroit Tigers got a taste of what a quality bullpen is like in 2021 with their four-headed monster of Gregory Soto, Michael Fulmer, Jose Cisnero, and Kyle Funkhouser. Each will be back for 2022, but can each be relied upon in the same capacity? Tough to know, but odds are that one or two arms will regress due to injury or just lack of performance. There aren’t any specific indicators for this–it’s just the reality of the position group.
Each of those arms is coming off of a breakout campaign–that lack of experience should be concerning to the front office. Gregory Soto put up a combined 0.4 bWAR before his 1.4 WAR campaign in 2021. Kyle Funkhouser was a -0.3 WAR player in 2020 before his 1.0 WAR season last year. Fulmer was a combined 0.2 WAR over his previous two seasons before his 1.9 WAR season. Cisnero, meanwhile, actually regressed a bit year-over-year, with a 0.3 WAR campaign following his 0.7 WAR 2020.
In short, they should seek help despite their success. As for options, Kenley Jansen remains the top reliever on the market, with Collin McHugh and Joe Kelly as other options.