Shelby Miller hoping to disrupt Detroit Tigers bullpen (positively).
The Detroit Tigers made some moves this off-season, adding new faces to the pitching staff. The bullpen has firmed up over the years and looked much better than it did after the wrecking ball of the rebuild left it high and dry for a few years. One of this year's new additions is looking to make a name for himself again.
The Detroit Tigers signed Shelby Miller to a one-year contract worth $3 million in December. A move that bolstered the depth of the pitching staff and gave the team another arm to be able to call upon this year. The question is, where does Miller fit with the Tigers pitching staff?
As the Tigers sort things out in Lakeland during Spring Training, expected Miller to be a disruptor. He's going to come in and look to pitch himself into a backend role. He has the stuff to get away with it. He's a much different pitcher than he was during his days as a starter.
Converting into a high-leverage relief arm would be super beneficial for the Tigers. If he can disrupt things and get the back end of the Tigers bullpen to compete, things could get interesting. Jason Foley has been money, and Alex Lange is up and down, but still a solid relief option.
Not to mention, Tyler Holton had an incredible year in 2023, and Andrew Chafin is looking to reproduce his results in 2022 with the Tigers, giving them two left-handers to call on. It's a much more sound bullpen, structurally. But in terms of carving out roles, I'd love to see Miller come in and blow things up.
Think about when Shane Greene moved from the Tigers' rotation into the bullpen and worked his way into the closer role. Competition on the pitching staff is good. It's not like Foley or Lange are some league-wide heralded closers. It's a bullpen full of guys fighting to maintain spots, and while A.J. Hinch will be loyal to the guys who have gotten it done for him, it's time for competition.
As the Tigers get underway in Spring Training, I'm hoping that Miller tries to cement himself into a high-leverage backend role with Detroit, creating some competition. After a 2023 season where Miller pitched in 36 games with 42.0 innings pitched, boasting a 1.71 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has to be ready to go.
It's been a long road to return to the mound for Miller, so he's got to have some fire under him right now after such a promising 2023 campaign and a fresh deal in Detroit. I don't think Miller's the Tigers closer this year, but coming out this spring and gunning for a closer job or just a high-leverage position would be huge and get the bullpen amped up heading into 2024.