Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene was the American League’s reliever of the month for March and April. Yes, we know that is two months, but with the regular season starting in late March, the league combines the two. The award was created prior to the 2017 season; he’s the first Tigers player ever to win it.
Shane Greene has been fantastic closing out ball games for the Detroit Tigers this season. It’s been quite some time since the Tigers have had a lights out force at the backend of their bullpen. I remember how excited I was every time Jose Valverde entered a game while going 49/49 in 2011, Greene is starting to give us that same type of feeling this season. Sometimes runners get on base, and things get a bit nervewracking, but they seem always to get the job done. I mean Greene was excellent two years ago posting a 2.66 ERA with a 1.24 WHIP, striking out 9.7/9 innings pitched.
Last year Greene pitched well in spurts with the Tigers, but overall it was a down year especially when you compare it to the year before. He had an elevated 5.12 ERA in 63.1 innings pitched. Greene was still able to lock-down 32 games and only recorded 6 blown saves. This year is starting out to be a special season for the 30-year-old closer, much better than last.
Shane is off to a historical start having saved 12 games in as many opportunities. He leads the entire league in that category in a season that is still very young. He was able to start the season with eight straight saves, during that stretch he did not yield a single earned run. Through 14 appearances to date Greene’s posted an impressive 1.29 ERA, 0.643 WHIP and striking out 11 per 9 innings pitched.
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The Detroit Tigers will be fielding offers for their middle-aged right-hander leading up to the Major Leauge Baseball’s trade deadline. This should be the year the Tigers move on from Shane Greene especially if he’s able to provide an encore pitching performance during the month of May. If he’s able to continue being this efficient at the back of the Tigers bullpen, many playoff hopefuls will be calling General Manager Al Avila hoping to add Greene to bolster a pen elsewhere.
The most attractive feature for a team with interest would be Greene’s current contract. He’s very much outperforming his 4-million dollar 2019 salary. Better yet, he’s under team control until the 2021 season; then he will be able to become an unrestricted free agent. He is once again eligible for arbitration this Winter for the final time before hitting the open market.
So, why should the Detroit Tigers be interested in trading Greene? Well, the Tigers are very much in lock-step with all the other professional sports teams in this city; in the midst of an extensive rebuild. The team should be able to get a generous return IF Greene can continue to perform at a similar clip. Detroit will not be a playoff team for a couple more seasons anyway, by then Greene will looking to cash in elsewhere.
The organization has a cupboard full of up and coming prospects; it wouldn’t hurt moving a 30-year-old for potentially a pair of younger prospects. The Tigers could finish games with Buck Farmer, Victor Alcantara and Joe Jimenez for the second half of the season, that is if Joe can work himself back into the form he pitched with the first half of last season.