Detroit Tigers State Of The Union 2014 – Part 2: The Pitchers
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No team had better Starting Pitching in the game of baseball than the Tigers in 2014, while I love their top 3 Starters again, I am worried about their depth in the rotation at the back end.
The Bullpen is a lot better at the Closer’s position with Joe Nathan.
Added to the bringing in Nathan, the team also signed Chamberlain for 1 year, and added Ian Krol through the Doug Fister trade.
Among several returnees are Luke Putkonen, Phil Coke, Al Alburquerque, Jose Ortega and Evan Reed.
By 1st glance, I like the Closers position being solidified by Nathan, however at this point, and consider that Rondon is out for the year, the 2014 Bullpen may be worse than the 2013 team.
Drew Smyly and Joaquin Benoit were the best 2 guys on the team last year.
I am predicting Nathan to net nearly 50 Saves this year, and he is not the problem.
Chamberlain had been touted to work the 8th at least to start, but he carried a 4.93 ERA and 1.738 WHIP in his 40 Appearances last year.
Ian Krol is a nice lefty specialist out of the pen, but he sported a 3.95 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in the NL for the Nationals last year. That is a far cry from the 2.37 ERA and 1.039 WHIP Smyly put forth last campaign.
Phil Coke is lucky to still have a job. He has a 4.20 ERA for his lifetime, and that is not saying much for a Reliever playing half of his games in Comerica Park.
His best stint with the franchise was during the 2012 playoff run. Coke slamming his glove on the ground after the AL clinch versus the Yankees has clouded people’s perception of the guy.
The LHP veteran has failed to keep a WHIP under 1.438 in his 4 seasons with the Tigers.
Alburquerque was filthy dominant in his 1st few years in Motown, however 2013 was a different story. A 4.59 ERA and 1.49 WHIP doesn’t cut it.
It is apparently clear that the Detroit Starting Staff better work long into the night. I project bad news for their Relief Core.
Maybe they can do it with smoke and mirrors.
Before the year is finished, there must be adjustments to this depth chart.
Verlander has been battling health all winter, and is questionable for his Opening Day start with having completed abdominal surgery on Mar.17.
The third starter, Anibal Sanchez, won the AL ERA title last season, and is capable of being the #1 pitcher on many teams in the Majors.
He is suffering a minor ailment from his shoulder, but the team is not completely worried.
These guys should be projected to win double digit games by themselves.
Here are my projections for the Starting Staff.
Justin Verlander: 30 GS: 210 IP, 18 – 9, 3.17 ERA
Max Scherzer: 17 – 9, 3.61 ERA
Anibal Sanchez: 13 – 10, 3.25 ERA
Drew Smyly: 12 – 9, 3.85 ERA
Rick Porcello: 12 – 12, 4.50 ERA
Starting Staff, 3.55 ERA: 72 Wins and 49 losses.
Robbie Ray, (acquired for Fister), may be the 1st one called up in the case of injuries at any point in the season.
I love the Tigers Starting Pitching staff more than any other team in the AL, and second to the Washington Nationals Roster.
Having said this, I still hate the Doug Fister trade. If the Tigers get into injury trouble to any of their top 3, it could be disastrous.
Smyly was perfect in his Bullpen efforts, while Fister was the best #4 pitcher in the Majors. You took 2 strengths for your team, and replaced them with none in that trade with Washington.
Krol is not as good as Smyly, and Smyly may not fare well as Fister.
The potential Wildcard in the rotation has got to be Rick Porcello. At just 25, this RHP has started 149 contests in his 1st 5 years, lugging 870 IP.
This is a make or break year for the man from NJ originally.
If Porcello can exceed projections, than Smyly could be average in the rotation.
Stretching Smyly from 70 IP by adding another 100 IP will be different.
Again for the price tag of $8 MIL, the team should have kept Fister.
Detroit still is in a great position to win the AL Central based on “Strength of Schedule”, the Division they play in, and having 3 world class players in Miguel Cabrera, Verlander and Scherzer.
Speaking of the 2013 AL Cy Young Winner. There is no way the Tigers can re-sign him and then ink Cabrera on the dotted line in 2016.
A decision by the teams brass needs to think of the window only being 1 more year as the team is currently constituted.
Sanchez and Verlander will earn $45 MIL each for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons. You can’t add another $27 – $30 MIL AAV for the 3rd member of the staff being Scherzer.
Smyly and Porcello will also earn in the $15 – $18 MIL per season in Arbitration too, although Porcello could be let go in future years in favor of Robbie Ray.
My point is, add Nathan or replacement Closer, and you simply can’t have $105 – $110 MIL on team payroll locked up on your staff.
It will take at least $30 MIL AAV to re-sign Cabrera too.
The team will lose DH and OF Hunter for sure in Free Agency if you sign Scherzer. Look at all of the Tommy John Surgeries going on right now. Do you want to have two $27 MIL+ pitchers on the team?
The only way I see the club pulling Scherzer off is if they decide to walk away from Cabrera in 2016.
My prediction is that Scherzer will outprice himself out of the city, and the Tigers will move to a rotation of Verlander, Sanchez, Smyly, Porcello and Ray for 2015, and ink Cabrera in the 2015 winter.
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Posted on March 23, 2014, in MLB Teams State Of the Unions and tagged 2012 AL MVP, 2012 ALCS, 2012 world series, 2013 AL Cy Young Award Winner, 2013 AL MVP, 2013 ALCS, @MLBreports on twitter, @prosportsroster on twitter, al alburquerque, andy dirks, anibal sanchez, austin jackson, Baseball 2012 AL Cy young Award winner, bryan holaday, chicago white sox, Chuck Booth, cleveland indians, comerica park, don kelly, Dotel Bruce Rondon, doug fister, Drew Smyly, evan reed, ian kinsler, ian krol, jeff kleiner, Jeremy Bonderman, joba chamberlain, joe nathan, Jose Alvarez, Jose Iglesias, justin verlander, kansas city royals, max scherzer, miguel cabrera, mike illitch, minnesota twins, ne, new york yankees, nick castellanos, oakland athletics, Octavio, phil coke, POSITION PLAYERS Alex Avila, prince fielder, rick porcello, Stephen Lombardozzi Ramon Santiago, tampa bay rays, texas rangers, Torii Hunter, victor martinez, washington nationals, www.prosportsroster.com. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.