Detroit Tigers Sign Free Agent Reliever Mark Lowe to Two-Year Contract


The Detroit Tigers have signed free agent reliever Mark Lowe to a two year, $13 million contract to serve as a setup man out of the bullpen.

The Detroit Tigers agreed to contract terms with free agent relief pitcher Mark Lowe today on a two year contract. Ken Rosenthal provides the financial details.

Lowe’s career has been an up-and-down one — and often marred by injuries — but he put everything together last season with the Mariners and Blue Jays and had a terrific season. In 55 innings between the two teams, Lowe posted a 1.96 ERA (2.57 FIP) while striking out over 28% of the batters he faced and walking fewer than 6%.

Those were stellar numbers for the new presumed eighth inning man, but the question is, can he repeat it?

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Eno Sarris of FanGraphs looked at Lowe’s career — including a recent velocity uptick and a new slider grip — and concludes that he might be a younger, better version of Ryan Madson at this point.

The Tigers aren’t paying him to put up an exact replica of his 2015 season — $6.5 million per season just isn’t that much money in baseball anymore — but it seems clear that they will be relying on Lowe to be a major player out of the bullpen in 2016 (and 2017).

General manager Al Avila promised to address the bullpen this offseason, and he has, but they’re now to the point of only minimum competency for a team hoping to contend.

Ideally they would have at least one more reliable pitcher for the late innings (either a seventh inning guy or an eighth inning man with Lowe taking the seventh). Current internal candidates include Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, Buck Farmer, Matt Boyd, Bruce Rondon, or Shane Greene. None of those names inspire a great deal of confidence if asked to lock down the seventh inning on a nightly basis.

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I’m now calculating the Detroit Tigers’ current roster to cost around $173 million, meaning they’ve already match last season’s franchise record mark. Anything further would be setting new highs for the organization.