After four consecutive seasons of wins reaching double digits, the right-hander is looking to reinvent himself after compiling a 1-7 record and 7.84 ERA over an injury-riddled 2017 campaign. Tillman, 29, has spent all nine years of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, posting a career 73-55 record and 4.43 ERA over 198 starts.
Talks between both sides are still in preliminary stages, as Morosi reported.
The Tigers are looking to patch up a rotation that saw Justin Verlander traded in August to the eventual World Series champion Houston Astros. Michael Fulmer is rehabbing from elbow surgery and Jordan Zimmermann is reportedly being eyed by his former Washington Nationals club.
Named Opening Day starter from 2014-16 and owning a trio of postseason appearances, Tillman’s veteran presence could prove to be beneficial to youngsters like Daniel Norris and Matthew Boyd, both lefties who hope to consistently stay in the rotation in ’18.
No longer in play as the free spenders, the rebuilding Tigers hope to add a “couple of starters” this off-season, according to general manager Al Avila. Tillman is likely in the Detroit price range as a second-tier arm on the market after making just over $20 million combined over the last three seasons.
Doug Fister’s signing with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday could prove to be a domino-effect for teams like the Tigers in search of bargain-like free agent arms. If Detroit passes on Tillman, it could look in the direction of guys like Matt Garza, Miguel Gonzalez, or Andrew Cashner to slide into the rotation.
Tillman was named to the All-Star team in 2013 en route to a personal-best 16-win season, good for a fifth place finish. Typically a ground ball pitcher, a spacious Comerica Park could play an important role in the California native’s career revival.