15 worst Detroit Tigers free agent signings in franchise history

Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics
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5. Mike Pelfrey, 2016-17

  • 2 years, $16 million. Traded to White Sox after one, Tigers pick up $7.46M of it. 
  • -0.1 WAR, 5.07 ERA (84 ERA+)

Prince Fielder making the list announces what is ironically one of Detroit’s best and worst periods of baseball. The team repeatedly won the AL Central and seemed destined for the ALCS every year. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown. Justin Verlander won the Cy Young. MVPs were a nearly expectation. Max Scherzer seemed to go toe-to-toe with Verlander in pitching prowess. In many ways it was one of the best runs during the history of the franchise – at least for anyone under the age of 50.

It also turned out to be a period of contracts where seemingly none of them would turn out well and taken together they helped choke the life out of the organization. 

A pair from 2016 make our list back-to-back, beginning with Mike Pelfrey, though you could probably put these in whatever order you like. 

Pelfrey signed a two-year deal worth $16 million in 2016. He made 22 starts with a 5.07 ERA and a 4-10 record. He never made it out of spring training in 2017, being released on March 30 of that year. The White Sox signed him, where he was actually even worse than he was in Detroit – but the Tigers picked up most of the cost. 

All in all, it went terribly.