Detroit Tigers: Shota Imanaga an option to add to pitching staff

Detroit Tigers could consider signing Shota Imanaga.
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA team during the WBC.
Mar 21, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Japan starting pitcher Shota Imanaga (21) pitches against the USA team during the WBC. / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit

Detroit Tigers need to look into LHP Shota Imanaga.

The Detroit Tigers organization has made it apparent that they want to start making a difference on the international market regarding players from the Nippon Professional Baseball League. This mostly started making some waves when it was announced that Yoshinobu Yamamoto would be posted.

Yamamoto is the prized pitcher posted by the Orix Buffaloes, which is leaving teams scrambling to try and put together offers to sign the right-hander. The Tigers had been linked to him before his official posting, but the Tigers may not be in the market for an arm like Yamamoto.

This is mainly because Yamamoto will require a deal around the $200 million mark over eight years if things match the projections; that being said, Detroit may want to take a different route on the market. A couple more players are posted, and Shota Imanaga needs to be considered.

The Tigers also signed Kenta Maeda to a two-year contract, locking him into a spot with the rotation for the 2024 & 2025 seasons, barring a trade. Maeda brings benefit to the organization in his own right and could help them work to keep establishing this pipeline to Japan.

Imanaga is another arm to consider. The rotation had a bit added when it came to Maeda, providing some depth after he was added. Now, Imanaga would bring in a left-handed pitcher to help the rotation, but he's certainly worth considering.

Imanaga is on the older side, rather than a young, up-and-comer like Yamamoto, but there's still some intrigue. He's 30 years old and has pitched in the NPB for the last eight seasons with the Yokohama Bay Stars before being posted.

Imanaga pitched in 24 games in 2023, where he logged 159.0 innings. He managed a 2.66 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP last season. He had just 24 walks to 188 strikeouts overseas and could very much so be a high-whiff-rate left-hander to add to the rotation.

The plus side of Imanaga being on the older side is that he could be a temporary addition and possibly be a cheaper option for the Tigers. It would also work in their favor as Detroit continues to work toward establishing this pipeline in Japan.

Nothing currently ties Detroit to Imanaga, but with Yamamoto's high price, Scott Harris could look elsewhere and try to get a deal done with Imanaga. While they may not be looking to spend that much for another starting pitcher, but Imanaga is worth a conversation, especially given the notion that Detroit wants to keep working on a pipeline to signing players out of Japan in the future.

dark. Next. Wild trade idea from MLB Network is actually one that Detroit Tigers should consider. Wild trade idea from MLB Network is actually one that Detroit Tigers should consider