The Detroit Tigers did not have the most active trade deadline, but they did part ways with a high-leverage reliever, Michael Fulmer. In a deal with the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers sent Fulmer across the tunnel during the series in exchange for right-handed pitcher Simon Gipson-Long.
The Detroit Tigers opted to part ways with the pending free agent, getting something in return, knowing they will need to build up their bullpen a little more over time. But the Tigers will have to get busy this offseason, once again.
After the summer of 2022 shaping up the way it has, there is no reason not to make some moves, aiming to shake things up and re-energize this team as they get into another season. Obviously, this is quite far down the line, but the Tigers will need to make some moves.
Beefing up the bullpen once again is going to be a must. With that being said, the team is going to need to find replacements for Fulmer and dig into the free agency market.
Here are four relievers the Detroit Tigers can sign to replace Michael Fulmer.
1 Seth Lugo
The Detroit Tigers should aim to go out and sign Seth Lugo in free agency. He’s served as a veteran reliever in the New York Mets bullpen for the last seven seasons. He’s had some ups and downs but would be someone the Tigers could trust to be a go-to arm in high-leverage situations.
Lugo has pitched in 40 games for the Mets in 2022, accruing 40.1 innings pitched. He’s pitched to a 3.35 ERA with a 1.22 WHIP while punching out 37 opposing hitters. He’s not going to compete for a closer role or be the team’s ninth-inning option, but he’s a solid option to call upon from the Tigers’ bullpen.
Lugo is someone to consider if the Tigers want to replace Fulmer with a veteran who has proven he can be efficient out of the bullpen. He’s likely going to be cheaper and be an efficient piece the Tigers’ front office could go out and get.
2 Archie Bradley
Someone the Detroit Tigers might consider going to get for the backend of their bullpen moving forward is Archie Bradley. He will be an unrestricted free agent this winter, and after being a projected closer at one point, things have not gone well for him in 2022.
For the Tigers, this could be a low-risk, high-reward opportunity to add a piece to the bullpen. Bradley has pitched in 21 games for the Los Angeles Angels, totaling 18.2 innings pitched during the 2022 season. He has managed a 4.82 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, with 15 punchouts to his credit.
While the stats do not jump off the page, if he gets back to a level of performance he’s been at before, he’d be in the mix to be a closer for the Tigers. While that’s a big “if” statement to make, the Tigers are in a position where they can take that risk.
3 Anthony Bass
One of the names that I have hoped the Detroit Tigers would be hot on for a few seasons now is Anthony Bass. The right-handed reliever has been able to really figure things out and be a solid bullpen piece the last few seasons. The Toronto Blue Jays had him in their bullpen in 2020 for the pandemic-altered season.
He’s spent the last two seasons with the Miami Marlins and was traded back to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline. For the Marlins in 2022, Bass pitched in 45 games, accumulating 44.2 innings pitched. He’s pitched to a 1.41 ERA, a 0.94 WHIP, and has punched out 45 hitters.
If one thing is certain, Bass has found his footing as a big league reliever. He’s been an exceptional piece for the Marlins in 2022, and even if he performed as he did in 2020 and 2021, the Tigers would be replacing Fulmer with a solid bullpen piece.
4 Blake Treinen
If the Detroit Tigers want to replace Fulmer with a questionable option, they should consider poaching Blake Treinen out of the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen. While the Dodgers do have a club option on the right-hander, the Tigers should be ready to pounce if the option is not picked up.
For the last three seasons, Treinen has been a stable piece in the middle of the Dodgers bullpen. While he may be a little pricey with an $8 million club option, injury trouble in 2022 could be a deterrent. He’s only pitched in three games for the Dodgers and is dealing with a nagging “shoulder discomfort” injury that keeps him on the Injured List.
He’s expected to be back on the mound in 2022 and has been a benefit to that team’s bullpen in years past, which leads me to believe there’s still reason to want to sign the right-hander. I really like his pitch mix; the Sinker, Slider, Cutter, and four-seam fastball can be dangerous. They profile well and play well off of each other.
The Tigers have to do something to replace Fulmer. They will need to go out and add some bullpen depth this offseason, and these are just four names to have on their radar. It will take time for the offseason to arrive, but the Tigers will need to make an impact signing or two for the bullpen.