2 extensions the Detroit Tigers should pursue, 2 they should pass on

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2 contract extensions the Detroit Tigers should pass on

Kerry Carpenter

Yet another homegrown Tiger, Carpenter came 18 rounds after Greene in the 2019 draft. He never cracked MLB Pipeline's top 30 prospects ranking, but he got a call up in 2022 after absolutely mashing his way though Double- and Triple-A, with a pretty unbelievable .313/.380/.645 line over the year. His first 31 games in the majors that year were similarly promising, and he put a .485 slugging percentage with six home runs and a triple. He got more playing time in 2023 but didn't quite hit 120 games, as the team made sure to get Cabrera his last at-bats in as their primary DH before retirement. When Carpenter did hit, he hit well, with a higher batting average and OBP compared to 2022, along with 20 home runs and 64 RBI.

Given those numbers, Carpenter might also seem like an extension candidate, but he does have weaknesses in the outfield. He actually got most of his turns there in 2023, with 91 appearances in right or left as opposed to 27 at DH. His arm strength is nearing elite, but he's fumbled in the outfield and ended the season with a -3 OAA. The Tigers heavily value versatility, which is why they have so many utility players on the roster, and conflicting reports can't seem to agree on whether or not Carpenter will be an everyday DH this year. If he's not, then the Tigers will kick him back to the outfield, which could be to the team's detriment. He's also a few years older than Greene and Torkelson, giving him less time to prove himself before the announcement of a significant contract extension would come down.

Tarik Skubal

Skubal was a standout for the Tigers' rotation last year, but only managed to pitch 80 innings after coming off of flexor tendon surgery. Those innings were the best of his career so far, and he wrapped up the season with a very nice 2.80 ERA and 102 strikeouts. However, look a little further back, and he's struggled a lot more. He pitched over 250 innings through 2021 and 2022 for a near-4.00 ERA, though he did manage to keep his walk and home run rates through nine relatively low.

The Tigers haven't seen enough consistent greatness out of Skubal to offer an extension, and he could be a potent trade piece that would net the team some nice returns. He's also already 27 and his effectiveness as a pitcher could depreciate with age. If he's performing well enough and the Tigers don't trade him this year, he's still under team control for three years before hitting free agency and could be an asset until then, but at this point, there may be too many factors not entirely in his favor that could eliminate the possibility of an extension.