There are a handful of MLB free agents linked to Detroit Tigers, according to MLB Trade Rumors.
With the Major League Baseball offseason in full swing, Detroit Tigers‘ President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris, has started the process of assembling the team for next year's Spring Training. MLB Trade Rumors analysts Anthony Franco, Tim Dierkes, Darragh McDonald, and Steve Adams have compiled a list of the top 50 pending free agents who are expected to enter the market, and several of these players have been linked to the Tigers.
RHP Sonny Gray
The first MLB pending free agent that could find himself on the Tigers' radar is pitcher Sonny Gray, whom McDonald believes could be a fit in the Motor City.
“Gray, who turns 34 tomorrow, is likely to earn AL Cy Young votes after placing second in the American League with a 2.79 ERA. The Twins’ 11-year veteran righty is one of the more desirable starting pitchers on the market this winter, despite his age and the burden of the qualifying offer.”
He could be an intriguing option for Detroit, especially since they were recently informed by Eduardo Rodriguez that he intends to opt out of his contract and test free agency.
RHP Jordan Hicks
McDonald once again has a pitcher linked to the Tigers in RHP Jordan Hicks, who was taken by the St. Louis Cardinals in the third round of the 2015 MLB draft and has also played with the Toronto Blue Jays.
“Few pitchers can match Hicks’ raw arm strength. The 6’2″ righty has owned a triple-digit fastball dating back to high school. By age 21, he’d not only secured a spot on the Cardinals’ Opening Day roster but had earned enough trust to get high-leverage work. He pitched to a 3.47 ERA through a season and a half before his elbow blew out, necessitating Tommy John surgery in June 2019. The injury and the pandemic kept him off the field through 2020. Since he suffers from Type 1 diabetes, Hicks was able to opt out of the shortened season while still collecting a full year of service time.”
RHP Jack Flaherty
It's Anthony Franco's turn to link a pitcher to the Tigers, and he believes that RHP Jack Flaherty could be a fit.
“Flaherty recently turned 28, and his youth plus his early career brilliance could lead a team to lock him up on a three-year term. We’ve seen this scenario with Phil Hughes and the Twins after he posted a 5.19 ERA in 2013, as well as Tyler Chatwood and the Cubs coming off a 4.69 ERA campaign. This approach could capture some upside for the team while still allowing Flaherty a shot at a big contract heading into his age-31 season. Certainly opt-outs could be in play on a two or three-year deal, or Flaherty could sign a straight one-year contract to return to the market quickly. He makes more sense for a team that is not necessarily a top-tier contender in 2024.”
RHP Tyler Mahle
Mahle, who has a career ERA of 4.30, could work for the Tigers in the mind of McDonald.
“He’s likely to look for a two-year pact. That’d give him financial security while he works back from surgery. The team could get below-market production if he returns healthy down the stretch and into 2025. That’s fairly common for talented pitchers midway through TJS rehab. The two-year, $20MM extension that German Marquez signed with the Rockies could serve as a template.”
3B Gio Urshela
Urshela, who played last season with the Minnesota Twins, could be a possibility for the Tigers according to McDonald.
“He’s a high-contact hitter who runs strong averages to compensate for low walk totals. He’s typically a threat for double-digit homers and 20-plus doubles. His defensive reputation should also work in his favor. Urshela is generally regarded as a strong defender despite mixed reviews from public metrics (plus grades from DRS, well below-average marks from Statcast). He can moonlight at shortstop and could perhaps draw consideration as a second baseman in a weak middle infield market.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- The MLB offseason is in full swing, and Detroit Tigers President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris, has started the process of assembling the team for next year's Spring Training
- Analysts at MLB Trade Rumors have linked several top available free agents to the Tigers
- Sonny Gray, Jordan Hicks, Gio Urshela, Jack Flaherty, and Tyler Mahle are all options for the Tigers in their minds.
Bottom Line: What moves will Scott Harris make?
The Tigers made significant progress last season, and they're aiming to continue their rebuilding process and become a more competitive team in the American League Central Division.
Out of the mentioned names, which player do you think would be the most intriguing option for Harris?