We've established by now that the Detroit Tigers have a surplus of starting pitching depth. That's a good thing, for sure, especially when you consider the long list of injuries this rotation has suffered over the past two seasons.
Many people, myself included, think a trade involving one of the Tigers' starters could still be in the works. But as of this writing, Scott Harris has given no indication that that's the case.
So for now, we have to assume that this is the team the Detroit Tigers are heading to camp with. Up until this point, nobody has really thought that a six-man rotation was a possibility. That was, until Tuesday.
Evan Woodberry of MLive released his way-too-early 26-man roster projection for 2024, and he has the Tigers carrying six starting pitchers on Opening Day. Those starters are, in no particular order: Tarik Skubal, Kenta Maeda, Casey Mize, Jack Flaherty, Reese Olson, and Matt Manning.
Woodberry offered his rationale for suggesting that this could occur:
"Skubal, Maeda and Flaherty have guaranteed spots in the rotation. If Manning, Olson and Mize all have solid springs and come out of camp healthy, I bet the Tigers will find a creative way to carry all of them. Remember that Mize hasn’t pitched since April 14, 2022, and his workload will be monitored closely after Tommy John surgery."- Evan Woodberry, MLive
These are all good points by Woodberry. Mize's rehab didn't exactly go swimmingly. He had to be shutdown during a live BP in August. You know the Tigers are going to be very cautious with the former No. 1 overall pick.
Maeda and Flaherty will both be making a good chunk of cash this season, so there's no question they will be in the rotation. They didn't sign Flaherty for $14 million just to throw him in the bullpen.
And since this team needs innings, having a six-man rotation isn't the worst idea in the world. It would hopefully soften the blow for a bullpen that has been severely taxed over the past couple of years.
Speaking of the bullpen, adding an extra rotation spot would obviously come at the expense of one of the bullpen spots. Out of respect for Evan, we won't spoil anymore of the story here. We'll let you click the link above and read it for yourself.
A six-man rotation could certainly be in the cards for the Detroit Tigers in 2024. It's no guarentee, but it could be something worth experimenting with.