Once a staple in the Detroit Tigers’ four years of dominance, the 2015 Tigers pitching staff showed no resemblance of the Tigers’ staffs of recent vintage that featured an MVP and Cy Young winners.
Injuries, inconsistent performances, and an influx of youth trying to find success for the first time at the next level, weighed down the success of what was once one of the game’s best staffs.
The Detroit staff, as it currently sits, is underwhelming. Justin Verlander is once again the ace of the rotation. Anibal Sanchez looks to bounce back off a season that was shortened by injuries. The home run ball killed Sanchez when he was able to get on the mound. Daniel Norris is trying to prove that he can become a mainstay in the Tigers’ rotation for years to come.
The fourth and fifth starter spots are up for the taking. The Tigers, after trading away David Price and Yoenis Cespedes, have legitimate options within their farm system. Matt Boyd had a cup of coffee as the Tigers fifth starter last year and produced mixed results. Michael Fulmer was very impressive between his stints with the New York Mets and Tigers farm teams, posting a 2.24 ERA in 124 2/3 innings pitched, while striking out nine hitters per-nine innings whip a solid 1.075 WHIP.
With unproven youth and a dedication to try and compete once again for a World Series title in 2016, going outside of the organization to fill the voids in the rotation is something new GM Al Avila has said he plans to do.
With a payroll that has a lot of big contracts tied to aging veterans and a team that has a lot of voids to fill, a reunion with David Price or the fantasy of having Zack Greinke and Verlander leading the Tigers rotation is highly unlikely.
The Tigers are going to have to look for bargain buys and value in players that no one expects to succeed. Which of these five free agent pitchers could potentially provide in 2016.