Detroit Tigers: Time to consider move to the bullpen for Michael Lorenzen

Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch during his start against the Brewers.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch during his start against the Brewers. / Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Is Michael Lorenzen headed back to the Detroit Tigers bullpen?

The Detroit Tigers brought in Michael Lorenzen this off-season, bringing him in on a one-year contract. The deal is worth $8 million and could get up to $10 million in incentives, but things have not worked well for the right-handed pitcher here in Detroit.

During Detroit Tigers Spring Training, Lorenzen started the season on the Injured List (IL) with a groin injury. It started to become a nagging injury and leaked into his start of the season. He has been able to get back to 100% and was able to rejoin the rotation.

However, since getting out there in 2023 and getting into the rotation, he has made a total of three different starts. His first start was against the San Francisco Giants, where he allowed six home runs over 4.0 innings of work, which was not ideal.

He followed it up with a much better second outing against the Baltimore Orioles and got back on track. He threw five shutout innings, allowing just three hits. Then in today's contest against the Milwaukee Brewers, things took a turn in the wrong direction once again.

Lorenzen struggled to get out of the first inning and finished the day with five earned runs over five innings of work. Needless to say, things need to improve, and the Tigers need to expect better, to put it lightly.

Lorenzen's stuff just has not been the very best. It's a small sample size, but the rate he's getting barreled up is not ideal, being through the rough and well above his usual spot. It's been rough for him; looking at his Baseball Savant, it's easy to see that he's struggling to find his way on the mound.

First, he's throwing a billion different pitch types with the addition of the sweeper to things. But, that alone, looping in his fastballs and offspeed together, the metrics are still not pretty. His fastball is a dead-zone fastball, both the four-seam, and sinker.

This is not ideal at all. The cutter, the slider, and the sweeper are all just eerily similar in terms of profile. All three pitches have similar movement profiles. Simply put, the sweeper breaks the most horizontally, the slider is a little tighter, and the cutter is the tightest breaking of the three.

No shocker there, but with a pitch mix that is so similar to one another, he's going to run out of ways to beat hitters. Everything's too similar, and the hitters are able to attack, stay true to an approach, and execute.

Whether it's hunting fastballs or sitting on whatever variation he throws off the lateral breaker, hitters can adjust. The stuff's not missing bats a lot, and Lorenzen's run into trouble early in 2023. The results have not been pretty, even with a good start against the Orioles in there.

It's early to really freak out and jump to conclusions about him, but it might be worth considering a move back to the bullpen. It leaves a gap in the rotation which is a problem, for sure. But the Tigers may want to consider seeing if Lorenzen becomes better used out of the bullpen.

After all, he has had success in the big leagues as a reliever. He's proven he can do it as a reliever, and the Tigers should consider getting him back to his roots, especially since it's where he's had the most success.

Detroit Tigers announce good news on Tarik Skubal. dark. Next