If the Tigers are going for it this year, here are some players to help them make the push.
When baseball returned after the lockout, Tigers fans were excited to see what this new-look team would have to offer. A new head of the rotation, the first baseman of the future, and a last-minute trade to sure up the lineup had the city buzzing. Now, as we enter the second month of the 2022 season, the Tigers are looking for ways to break through their current slump and get back on track.
We have seen injuries derail the ball club in a variety of ways. Javier Baez went down with a thumb injury that had him placed on the Injured List early on. Casey Mize is currently dealing with an elbow issue that has him without a timetable to return. Matt Manning should soon make his return to the rotation after dealing with a shoulder injury. Combine that with the slumps throughout the lineup and you can see why the Tigers aren’t living up to the pre-season expectations.
There are many ways that the front office can look to help the team get back on track. This article is going to highlight a few players that can be brought in to help the team take charge in 2022 and make a run for the post-season.
Help in the Rotation
Yu Darvish, RHP – San Diego Padres
The Tigers rotation has been shuffled around quite a bit in just one month. Inconsistencies, and injuries, have not allowed them to get into a rhythm. Adding another established veteran to the mix can help provide the stability that this rotation is in desperate need of.
The Padres are currently competing for the top spot in the NL West so it might be a little confusing as to why they might be willing to move on from Darvish. However, unlike many teams in baseball, the Padres have plenty of starting pitching depth with the return of Mike Clevinger, and the emergence of their rookie phenom MacKenzie Gore.
Darvish is currently under contract through the 2023 season and is set to make $18 million next year. The Padres have made it known that they are looking to shed payroll to avoid going over the luxury tax threshold, making the opportunity to acquire Darvish that much more possible.
With the addition of Darvish, the Tigers can make the push to take over the AL Central and show the fan base that they are all in.
Two Birds with One Stone
Ramon Laureano, OF – Oakland Athletics
Detroit has had issues with driving runners throughout the season. As of late, they have been able to get runners on base, but are stranding them at one of the highest clips in the league. On the other hand, more stability with defense in the center field could also go a long way in run-saving production. Recently reinstated Ramon Laureano could help with both of those.
The A’s are in a retooling phase as we continue to move through the 2022 season. Before the start, they moved on from their All-Star first baseman Matt Olson and starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. Frankie Montas has openly been shopped around. Laureano could be the next Oakland A to be moved out as they look towards the future.
Before his suspension, Laureano has been lauded for his defense in center field. Roaming the outfield in the spacious colosseum is no easy task, yet his defense has always rated near the top of the league. When it comes to hitting, he has always found himself at, or near, the top of the A’s lineup, adding him to the roster will bring in a career .260 hitter with runners in scoring position. While that might not seem like a great average, it is an improvement over what the Tigers are currently doing with runners on base.
Add the speed factor he brings with his game and you are looking at a new leadoff hitter that is also able to create runs on his own.
Late Inning Stability
David Bednar, RHP – Pittsburgh Pirates
A bright spot for the Tigers this season has been their bullpen. As of the writing of this article, they rank fourth in all of baseball with an ERA of 2.67. So, why add another piece?
With the rotation being shuffled around the way it has been, adding more depth to the bullpen can help shorten the game for the Tigers going forward. David Bednar has been a reliable late-inning option for the Pirates for quite some time. He has been rumored to be targeted by many playoff-hopeful teams and, up to this point, the Pirates have been reluctant to trade him.
If the Tigers were able to add an arm like Bednar to the back end of their bullpen, A.J. Hinch would be able to deploy his pen in ways that match up with opposing lineups. The flexibility, and security, would be a huge boost to a pitching staff looking for the stability that a strong bullpen has proven to give to teams making deep postseason runs.