There has to be more to all the starting pitchers the Detroit Tigers are signing
With last night's signing of Michael Lorenzen, the Detroit Tigers have an influx of starting pitchers, both veteran and youngsters. Both Scott Harris and A.J. Hinch have said in the past that you can never have too muc pitching, and there's certainly some truth to that.
The Detroit Tigers went through 17 different starting pitchers in 2022 due to injuries. That simply can't happen again. They need some arms to eat up some innings for them since Casey Mize will probably miss the entire 2023 season while he recovers from Tommy John surgery, and Tarik Skubal will likely miss at least half the season while he recovers from flexor tendon surgery. The signings of Lorenzen and Matthew Boyd make sense.
But now the Tiger have a surplus of starting pitchers. As of right now, the 2023 starting rotation will look something like this:
1. Eduardo Rodriguez
2. Spencer Turnbull
3. Matthew Boyd
4. Michael Lorenzen
5. Matt Manning
This leaves Joey Wentz, Beau Brieske, Garrett Hill, Alex Faedo, and others on the outside looking in. Plus, Skubal will likely return at some point. That's a lot of excess arms, which is a good problem to have. But Scott Harris is a creative mind. The Tigers have done virtually nothing to improve the offense yet this offseason. Could a trade of a starting pitcher be on the horizon? It would certainly make sense.
Last week I wrote a piece about a potential Eduardo Rodriguez trade, and I still believe he's the most likely pitcher to be dealt. As I discussed in that article, E-rod has an opt-out in his contract after the 2023 season. With how much starting pitchers are being paid this offseason, he's almost certainly going to opt-out. It would make sense for Scott Harris to try to get some value for him in return.
Harris could also trade a young starter like Brieske, Wentz, or even Matt Manning. One could easily argue that Harris could a larger return for one of those pitchers, especially Manning. But it makes less sense for the Tiger to trade a young, controllable arm instead of a veteran arm on a relatively cheap contract.
Trading a starter for some offense makes a ton of sense here. As we've said before, the Detroit Tigers still have gaping holes at third base and in the outfield. They've already traded from their strengths to address their weaknesses by trading Joe Jimenez to the Braves for Justyn-Henry Malloy. Trading a starter would be in the same line of thinking.
Scott Harris is up to something. He's got something in the works. It's clear that he has a plan. It'll be fascinating to see what that plan entails.