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3 mistakes the Detroit Tigers need to avoid making this offseason

Tyler Kotila
Oct 5, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Javier Baez (28) breaks his bat while hitting an RBI-single against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 5, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Detroit Tigers designated hitter Javier Baez (28) breaks his bat while hitting an RBI-single against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers, Gregory Soto
Sep 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Gregory Soto (65) reacts after the game against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers need to avoid trading Gregory Soto.

Last but not least, the Detroit Tigers need to avoid trading closer, Gregory Soto. I will be the first to admit I am not a huge fan of Soto in the closer role. I still feel that he’s more valuable to the Tigers in a setup man role or in a role that leads up to a closer.

But trading him now and having to breed a new closer from within until another option comes into place is silly. The Tigers can sign a closer if they want to do so and shift Soto to the setup man role. Again, that’s with my “armchair GM” opinion panning out.

If not, Soto did lock up 30 saves for the Tigers this year. He’s been in the role for some time and has “settled in.” While he likes to leave the Tigers faithful unsettled with his dramatic finishes to games, he did pick up 30 saves in 2022.

Soto pitched to a 3.28 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP while punching out 60 opposing hitters over 60.1 innings of work. Trading him now and pulling that piece out of the bullpen seems silly. The bullpen functioned well; they got the job done at a far higher rate than they had in prior seasons.

In prior years the bullpen was shaky and terrifying, but in 2022, A.J. Hinch had more arms that he could turn to get the job done. Why dismantle a viable bullpen when they can add more beneficial pieces to it?

Giving up on Soto and dumping him seems counterproductive. Even with my suggestion of dropping Soto into a setup-man role, where they would have to bring another closer, they are spending money to better the bullpen without losing any of the current pieces.

After all, the Tigers want to move in the right direction; giving away Soto to spend money on new bullpen pieces, including a closer, seems silly. Keep Soto in the bullpen, but maybe consider bringing in another high-leverage arm for the back end of the bullpen.

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