After years of pitching staffs that dominated the American league, the Tigers boasted one of the worst staffs in baseball in 2015.
The Tigers rotation faced adversity before the first pitch of the season was even thrown. Losing Justin Verlander for the first two months of the season, along with Anibal Sanchez having trouble staying on the mound and keeping the ball in the yard, held the Tigers back right from the beginning.
After David Price was shipped north of the border, the Tigers pitching staff became nearly unbearable to watch.
But there were some positives. Verlander seemed to recapture his former glory in his final 12 starts, and new lifeblood was pumped into a rotation that was beginning to flatline when Daniel Norris was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Price.
Still, there were many questions to answer this offseason. With so much youth and injury questions, Avila went out and signed Jordan Zimmermann to add a veteran presence that could provide 200 quality innings.
Mike Pelfrey was also signed to a two-year deal as another veteran starter to help bolster the back end of the rotation.
But just adding Zimmermann was not enough. Pelfrey hasn’t had an ERA under four since 2010 and pitched the fewest innings for any pitcher that started at least 30 games in 2015.
With free agents like Scott Kazmir, Doug Fister, Yovani Gallardo ,and you cannot forget to mention the internal options such as Matt Boyd, Michael Fulmer, Kyle Ryan and Shane Greene, there were plenty of better options than relying on Pelfrey to show any glimpse of a decent pitcher for the next two years.
Sanchez’s injury past, Verlander’s age, Pelfrey’s inconsistencies, and Norris’ youth makes this rotation still a huge question mark. Even with the addition of Zimmermann.