Inside the Article:
The Detroit Tigers have made some moves this offseason, mainly in the way of Minor League deals, waiver claims, and two significant trades. President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris, doesn't feel like the offseason is over, and there are a couple of moves he can make to improve this team for 2023.
Why it matters:
The Tigers finished the 2022 season with a disappointing 66-96 record and were the worst offense in baseball.
- Javy Baez got off to one of his worst career starts but rebounded for the final 82 games.
- Newly acquired Austin Meadows played only 39 games for the club due to injury.
- Prized top-pick Spencer Torkelson looked overmatched for most of the season.
- Players like Harold Castro, Willi Castro, and Victor Reyes were never good enough to carry the load for an MLB team.
A lot was wrong with the team last season, especially given their terrible misfortune with injuries, mainly to their entire pitching staff. 2022 was a weird year, and one you'd hope was only an aberration.
3 Free Agents the Detroit Tigers should target
Harris has said that the offseason for the Tigers isn't over yet. There is a priority to find a left-handed reliever, even with some of the recent waiver claims they've made. However, there is still some uncertainty with the lineup. Yes, they traded for three bats from the Phillies and one with the Braves, but those are still somewhat unknown and may not contribute right away in the case of Justin-Henry Malloy. Here are three guys they can sign immediately to satisfy their offseason goals:
Trey Mancini – 1B/DH/OF – Bats/Throws: R/R
Trey Mancini should be at the top of the list for Scott Harris for the remainder of this offseason. He was a breakout star with the Baltimore Orioles until he was forced off the field by cancer, which he beat. A World Series Champion after a trade from the Orioles to the Astros last season, Mancini's power numbers were dramatically affected by the change of dimensions to Camden Yards.
Signing Mancini allows the Tigers flexibility, especially if they lock him up for about three to four years. With the departure of Miguel Cabrera, and the need to pace him in order to get the most out of him, the Tigers will need to fill their designated hitter role.
They have very little depth behind Spencer Torkelson at first base, a position where Mancini is a positive defender. His bat has some holes: a 7.8% walk rate and a 23.0% strikeout rate for his career, but he has power, something the Tigers dramatically lacked last season.
- Spotrac Market Value: $18.1 million per season
- Suggested Contract: 3 years, $51 million ($17 million per year); with a vesting option for year four based on performance ($17 million). Total contract: 4 years, $68 million.
Jurikson Profar – OF/INF – Bats/Throws: S/R
Profar is an interesting case. Once a top prospect in the Texas Rangers organization as an infielder, he spent all of 2022 playing the outfield for the San Diego Padres. However, should Torkelson struggle again for a team that lacks a third baseman and first base depth, Profar could fit that need.
Yes, he struggled defensively in LF last season (-5 OAA), but in 2021, he was a positive defender at first base. His bat profiles well for the Harris approach at the plate, with an 11.1% walk rate and only a 15.7% strikeout rate. He was a productive offensive player for the Padres (110 wRC+) and a 2.5 fWAR, and he's entering his age-30 season.
- Spotrac Market Value: $14.9 million per year
- Suggested contract: 2 years at $26 million ($13 million per year)
Andrew Chafin – LHP
In November, Chafin declined his one-year, $6.5 million option with the Tigers. With the Tigers looking to add a lefty reliever and have added some via waiver claims, Chafin is still a viable option.
Chafin was reliable in 2022 for the Tigers as part of their top bullpen in the Majors. He did well with a 10.5 K/9 and 2.98 BB/9, with an ERA and FIP nearly identical: 2.92 and 3.06, respectively. You usually look for a guy like Chafin to be a lefty specialist, but he was tougher on righties while still effective versus lefties last season. He's entering his age-33 season, so a couple-year deal should do the trick.
- Sportrac Market Value: unknown
- Suggested contract: 3 years, $24 million ($8 million per year).