Free agent predictions: Four players linked to the Detroit Tigers

Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One
Wild Card Series - Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals - Game One / Stacy Revere/GettyImages
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Detroit Tigers are a possibility for four of the top 50 free agents, according to MLB Trade Rumors

The Detroit Tigers are on phase three of their organizational revamp and it comes as the most vital of them all: roster construction. They have primarily filled out their front office and coaching staff and have done a fair bit of house cleaning with their roster, too--cutting Harold Castro, Willi Castro, Jeimer Candelario, and Victor Reyes. Now becomes the time to fill these needs by upgrading through trade and free agency.

MLB Trade rumors recently dropped their annual Top 50 Free Agents piece with predictions from contributors from the site on where each might land. While there were no consensus picks for the Detroit Tigers, they are listed as a possible destination for four players: Jameson Taillon, Jose Quintana, Zach Eflin, and Jurickson Profar.

Making predictions is an inexact science, but MLBTR does an excellent job, particularly on their contract guesses. For context, last year, they predicted Javier Baez would sign a five-year, $100 million deal with two experts picking the Rangers and one picking the Tigers. Of course, Baez would ultimately agree to a six-year, $140 million deal with Detroit.

Taillon is projected to get the largest deal of the foursome--a four-year, $56 million projection. Taillon was the quintessential mid-rotation arm for the Yankees last season; supplying a 3.91 ERA across 32 starts and 177.1 innings. While he averaged nearly a hit per inning in 2022, his sublime 1.6 walks per nine innings demonstrate that strike zone domination that Scott Harris has publicly alluded to.

Jose Quintana, after a rocky 2021 campaign with the Angels and Giants, had a nice rebound season split between the Pirates and the Cardinals. Over 32 starts, Quintana supplied a 2.93 ERA and pitched for the Cardinals last postseason. Similar to Taillon, Quintana makes up for his lack of stuff with finesse and command. His 2.6 walks per nine innings last year ranked in the 61st percentile across the league. Quintana, though, does not get hit hard and generates plenty of ground balls. It's no longer a top-of-the-rotation arm, but at a two-year, $24 million projection, he doesn't need to be.

Zach Eflin is projected to fetch a two-year, $22 million deal and is exactly one spot below Quintana on the rankings at 31. Eflin's market may be tricky--he's split time between the rotation and the bullpen in 2022 and teams will likely price him out at both capacities. The article alludes to sustained knee troubles throughout his career, which could mean a bullpen role long-term. Nevertheless, his 1.8 walks per nine innings make him attractive out of either spot. If the Tigers insert him into their rotation, it's likely as their fourth or fifth starter. If he converts to relief, Eflin's firm sinker could find its way into leverage situations rather quickly.

Jurickson Profar, MLBTR's 33rd-best free agent pickup, is projected by two at the site to land in Detroit. Profar, once an exciting prospect in the Texas Rangers system, has bounced around but found a home in the Padres' outfield most recently. Profar is another play on Harris' strike zone control emphasis, though this time on the other side of the ball. His 103 strikeouts in 152 games in 2021 puts Profar in the 84th percentile of the league; likewise, his 73 walks landed him in the 85th percentile. It's an unconventional corner outfield profile, but for a club that has struggled both with working counts and swing-and-miss, Profar's presence would be a boost.

Next. Detroit Tigers: 2 prospects who could be traded this offseason, 1 who should be untouchable. dark

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