Detroit Tigers: A deeper dive into a Matthew Boyd reunion

Sep 27, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Matthew Boyd (48) pitches to the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Matthew Boyd (48) pitches to the Texas Rangers during the eighth inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /

Should the Detroit Tigers consider bringing Matthew Boyd back?

The Detroit Tigers will be making some changes during the 2023 season, which could result in some stopgap pitchers. The Detroit Tigers’ new President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris, is likely to make some changes.

This means the Detroit Tigers are going to need to fill some holes. For the team’s starting rotation, there will likely be a couple of stopgap arms brought in to eat up innings in 2023. One of those could end up being a familiar face.

Matthew Boyd may be someone the team considers. MCB Site Co-Expert Matthew Scheidel recently included Boyd in a four-player piece about which pitchers the Tigers may be targeting. Boyd could very well come back to the Tigers’ organization.

The team moved on from him after 2021, and he opted to sign with the San Francisco Giants, where Harris was the General Manager at the time. While there may not be a ton of excitement around the move, there’s a real chance it will happen.

Harris was keen on him with the Giants, and Harris will bring in players that he feels will bring value to the organization. As Scheidel suggested in the other piece, Boyd enjoyed his time in Detroit, so a reunion should not be off the table.

Boyd offered his stamp of approval for the hiring of Harris, which just adds to the idea that he could be returning to the Motor City. Beyond the links to Detroit and Harris liking him with the Giants, here’s a bit more into what a reunion would bring.

Detroit Tigers reuniting with Matthew Boyd brings a familiar face to eat innings.

While the 2022 season was not the kindest to Matthew Boyd, after being traded to his hometown Seattle Mariners, he was able to join the team’s bullpen. Boyd pitched in just ten games, logging only 13.1 innings of work. He pitched to a 1.35 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.

He punched out 13 opposing hitters and was serviceable when called upon by the Mariners. He had an eight-inning stint in the minors over six games with the Mariners Triple-A affiliate. After undergoing flexor tendon surgery leading into 2022, he was off the mound but finally got back and was exceptional in the relief role.

Looking deeper into his statistics using Baseball Savant, Boyd was still averaging around 92 mph on the fastball, but it did bump to 92.6 mph. While I’m not trying to read into it too much, it was interesting to note that the spin rates on his pitches were higher in 2022.

While this might be due to sample size, he was able to spin the fastball up closer to 2,500 RPMs, with the breaking balls both spinning in the 2,400s. Again, the change in sample size from fewer innings and fewer pitches in 2022 could be the factor, but there’s also a chance that recovery and rehab played a part.

Boyd has made changes to his delivery and his pitches over the years. Still, after an injury with a long road to recovery like that, there would ultimately be some changes to his delivery and the way he throws the baseball.

This trickles into the way he operates with the way he throws pitches and pressure from fingers on the ball as he works through delivery. The point is, with extensive recovery and rehab and two organizations of pitching coaches and medical staff (Giants and Mariners), it seems like he may have been able to smooth out some of his operation on the mound.

Now I am not trying to suggest that Boyd will come back and pitch to a 1.35 ERA as a starting pitcher. But if the option is there to get him stretched out and start games, the Tigers should be hoping that they can bring him back at a bargain.

Circling back to the start, the Tigers need pitchers. With Casey Mize undergoing Tommy John surgery and Tarik Skubal undergoing flexor tendon surgery like Boyd, they will both be out for quite some time. The Tigers should be looking to shake things up and add arms that help fill up some of the voids of the starting rotation.

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I know not everyone is a fan of Boyd returning, but I think there’s some value there that the Tigers should be looking to tap into this offseason.