The Detroit Tigers have now lost five games in a row and are currently sitting in 4th place in the American League Central with a 14-15 overall record. There is no question about it that a shakeup needs to take place and the Tigers should always be searching for ways to improve their overall roster, especially their starting rotation.
Other than Jordan Zimmermann, who has been amazing, the starting pitching has left much to be desired. Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey, and Shane Greene (no longer in rotation) have all struggled out of the gates and have to get back on track. Michael Fulmer, who has made a couple of starts as of late, could very well blossum into a top of the rotation guy, but he needs to work on a third pitch if he wants to be successful at the MLB level.
Anybody who knows baseball understands the importance of solid starting pitching if a team expects to contend for a championship. That being said, the Tigers must improve in that area or else they will be on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Here is a list of five free agent pitchers that the Tigers should at least consider moving forward. As you will see, some convincing may need to be done in order to sign many of these guys.
Mark Buehrle, who is 37, is a familiar name who could very well make a difference for the Tigers if they end up needing to make a move. One draw of signing Buehrle is that he is a lefty, something the Tigers do not have in their current starting rotation. In his last three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, Buehrle had an overall record of 40-28 while posting an ERA of 3.78. The veteran has not committed to either retiring or coming back, but if the Tigers do end up needing to add a starter, Mark Buehrle should be near the top of their list.
A.J. Burnett was 9-7 with a 3.18 ERA in 2015 and was selected as an NL All-Star. After looking at his last season, it’s hard to imagine the 39-year-old righty has played in his final MLB game (even though he said he is done) and it would be wise for the Tigers to at least make the phone call if they end up wanting to add a starter.
This one is a real wild-card. Cliff Lee, who is 37-years-old, has not pitched since July 31st, 2014 and though there was rumor that he would make a comeback, his agent has said otherwise. Lee was once considered to be one of the best left-handed starters in baseball and could help a team in need of a SP, if they can convince him to give it a go.
Tim Lincecum, who was once considered to be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, is hoping to sign with a team soon. In fact, the 31-year-old showcased himself this Friday in hopes of impressing a team enough to make him an offer. Reports are that upwards of 20 MLB teams had scouts in attendance, including the Tigers, but according to Tony Paul of the Detroit News, they do not have any interest. Maybe they should considering Mike Pelfrey is now sitting at a 6.23 ERA.
Aaron Harang, who is 37 years old, last pitched in 2015 with the Phillies. In 29 starts, he posted a 6-15 record with and ERA of 4.86. Those numbers are far from good, but depending on how bad things get, bringing in a veteran pitcher may be the move. It’s important to remember that if Harang was signed, he would likely be replacing a struggling Mike Pelfrey and would not be expected to be a world-beater. Though Harang has said that he “is not planning to pitch this season,” if the right opportunity presents itself, he may change his mind.