Detroit Tigers need to find more left-handed pitching for bullpen

Scott Harris and company need to drum up a lefty or two on the free agent market.
Sep 22, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Tyler Holton (87) pitches the
Sep 22, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Tyler Holton (87) pitches the / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers need to add another left-handed pitcher or two.

The off-season is in full swing and the Detroit Tigers are working hard to piece together their team for the 2024 season. One of those things will be building out their pitching staff, which is already well underway with the signing of Kenta Maeda to a two-year contract.

But one of the things that the Detroit Tigers need to keep in mind is that they only have three left-handed pitchers on their roster as things stand. This includes starting pitcher Tarik Skubal, who will hold down the front of the rotation in 2024.

Looking at the bullpen, the team will rely on Joey Wentz to serve as a fringe/spot starter or dive headfirst into the role that Tyler Alexander has held the past few seasons. Since Alexander was DFA'd and claimed by the Rays, Wentz may have the perfect opportunity to carve out a bullpen role with the team if he cannot successfully move into the rotation in 2024.

Then, there's Tyler Holton. Coming into 2023, the Tigers picked him up off waivers, and it turned out to be nearly one of the best moves from the entire off-season after the year he posted. He managed a 2.11 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP over 85.1 innings of work. Heck, at one point, folks were joking about Holton deserving Rookie of the Year votes for how well he performed.

But with only three lefties on the staff, they will have to go out and bring in some more. It's not to say they need to peruse the market to broker a deal with some big-time arm, but a couple of lefties in depth roles, even minor-league contracts with Spring Training invites, would serve Detroit well.

Looking inside the organization, there is not much help on the way. All of the lefties, both starters and relievers, are players who are not currently on the 40-man roster and are unlikely candidates to be added any time soon.

That will result in Detroit looking outside the organization, in the free agency pool, to see if they can find themselves a couple of southpaws. There are some lefties on the market that could be interesting for the Tigers to take a look at signing.

In terms of left-handed starters, there are names like Sean Manaea, Wade Miley, Alex Wood, and Eric Lauer are some names of note. They're not the top-tier arms, but spending big is unlikely to be in the cards, so looking for short-term contracts, these could be candidates for the Tigers to look at.

But the team may just want to focus on relievers. In that case, it will be names like Brent Suter, Andrew Chafin (hello, old friend), Aaron Loup, Amir Garrett, and Daniel Norris (hello, old friend x2), amongst others.

The market is not overly plentiful with left-handers, but there are still players out there who would be able to help the team or at least come in and try to compete for a spot with some of the lesser-known names out there.

The Tigers have found value in players they signed to minor league deals and invited to spring training before. I'd bet they can drum up a few guys to perform around league average once again. Rolling the dice on those types of players may not overly excite the fanbase or sell more tickets, but they will help the team's competitiveness.

For Detroit, as they continue working through this off-season, they need to find themselves a couple more lefties to bring in and help add some depth to the pitching staff and the organization as a whole going into 2024.

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