Detroit Tigers pitcher coming alive with hopes of earning a rotation spot

Things are getting down to the wire in Lakeland as the Detroit Tigers start ironing out their roster. Is Matt Manning going to lock down a starter spot?
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Manning (25) delivers a pitch.
Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Matt Manning (25) delivers a pitch. / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers are in the late stages of spring ball. They've made some more roster cuts and have finally ironed out their position player group, as the roster stands at 31 right now. The team has some further moves to make, but they still have to iron out their rotation.

On the same day, Casey Mize was lights out for the Detroit Tigers, working up to 98 mph on his fastball, and I published a piece saying he should not be in the starting rotation. I can only tip the cap and love it after seeing the @PitchingNinja clips. But I'm going to hold firm that Reese Olson and Matt Manning deserve to start jobs with the Tigers.

Olson has been great and proven he can start in the big leagues. He was great for Detroit in 2023 and got a good amount of work under his belt. He deserves a spot in the rotation, but Matt Manning is the other name to consider. Manning's a big question mark, but he provided some answers this spring.

I've been critical of him myself and think the team should be expecting more from him, but in spring ball this year, he has been pretty much dominant. He's throwing more strikes and yielding better results. Things are trending in the right direction for Manning, leading me to want to jump on his bandwagon.

Detroit Tigers should give Matt Manning a spot in the rotation.

It seems silly not to reward Manning with a starting spot to kick off 2024. He deserves a chance to do it. The issue with Manning in prior years has been health. He seemingly gets arm fatigue or has dealt with injuries along the way, stealing some time for him and making things tougher.

Manning has made five starts this spring and has accumulated 16.0 innings pitched. He allowed 8 hits, walked 7, and struck out 19 opposing hitters. He threw 65% strikes all spring and was able to live around the 4.1 pitches per plate appearance.

The Tigers may have six starters for a five-man rotation, but Manning should be one of them. Heck, if you threw Joey Wentz into the mix, you'd have seven starters for five spots, but Wentz is going to start the year in the bullpen, and that's already been announced. But a six-man rotation seems viable for Detroit.

Manning has made big league starts, with 45 under his belt over the years, but in 2024, he should really look to cement a role with the team. It would be huge for the Tigers if Manning can lock down a spot and produce at a high level for the team. Manning deserves his shot, and if he can stay healthy, it could be huge for the Tigers.