Detroit Tigers: Kyle Funkhouser might be on roster bubble this offseason

Tigers pitcher Kyle Funkhouser walks off the field after pitching against Cleveland during the seventh inning at the Comerica Park on Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
Tigers pitcher Kyle Funkhouser walks off the field after pitching against Cleveland during the seventh inning at the Comerica Park on Tuesday, May 25, 2021. /

Detroit Tigers might part ways with Kyle Funkhouser this winter.

Two seasons ago, Kyle Funkhouser emerged as one of the trusted relievers in the Detroit Tigers bullpen. He came out and got the job done when called upon, being a serviceable right-hander. However, he has not pitched in a regular season game since the 2021 season ended.

Funkhouser was on the Injured List (IL) for the entire 2022 season. He’s been battling a shoulder injury that started in Spring Training, with lat soreness being the cause. The Detroit Tigers were forced to head into the year without him.

He ended up requiring surgery, which led to an uncertain timeline that eventually removed him from the bullpen for all of 2022. The Tigers may not be interested in waiting around to see what comes out on the other side of this lengthy IL tenure.

The Tigers’ new President of baseball operations, Scott Harris, will want to start making changes. This means players are going to be on their way out. Familiar faces will not return to the Tigers organization in 2023, and Funkhouser might be one of them.

Even after a promising 2021 season, Funkhouser may not get the chance to try and put up similar numbers in a Tigers uniform. He pitched in 57 games during the 2021 season, where he totaled 68.1 innings pitched, punching out 63 opposing hitters.

He managed a 3.42 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP for the Tigers. He did not step on the Tigers’ mound during the 2022 season, so who knows what that may have brought to the team’s bullpen.

Detroit Tigers might make the unfortunate decision to move on.

The Tigers roster is a massive construction site. With a plethora of injured players who need roster spots and only 40 spots on the roster, several players will have to go. This leaves Scott Harris with some decisions to cut players to get down to 40 and continue carrying out roster moves to get this team moving in a new direction.

The unfortunate reality is that someone like Funkhouser may get the short end of the stick because of this. The Tigers’ bullpen was able to get the job done during the 2022 season, and they should be aiming to see similar production moving forward.

This might mean finding some efficient and affordable options on the free agent market to batten things down. For Funkhouser, this could very well mean his time in the Motor City is over. This winter will bring changes, and with Funkhouser’s medical updates still bringing uncertainty, it’s easier to categorize him as someone the team may move on from.

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The Tigers are in a new era and moving in a new direction; it might mean that Funkhouser does not get his chance to be a serviceable relief arm in a Tigers uniform in 2023. After all, he’s closing in on 30 years old, and the Tigers may be looking for a younger option or a more experienced veteran for the bullpen.