Besides the ace Matthew Boyd, Michael Fulmer and Spencer Turnbull, the Tigers will have to send Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Norris to the mound. However, there is a way the Tigers could improve upon their use of Norris, to make him more valuable to this rebuilding club.
This next pitcher who will be trotted out to the mound once every five days in 2020, is an excellent reminder that the Tigers chose to sign him instead of Max Scherzer. Enter, Jordan Zimmermann, the “ace” of the Tigers. For those wondering, this will be the last season that the Tigers have to deal with Zimmermann taking the mound, making $25 million to lose around fifteen games with terrible statistics.
In 2019, Zimmermann started twenty-three ballgames for the Tigers, where he carried a 1-13 decision record with a 6.91 ERA, a 1.52 WHIP, giving up 145 hits over only 112 innings pitched. Personally, it seems like its more than fair to say that Zimmermann never had a good season with the Tigers.
For a five-year, $110 million contract, he has never posted an ERA lower than 4.50 or a WHIP below 1.25 while Scherzer wins two Cy Young awards and has been an all-star every year in Washington.
On a non-ruthless note, the Tigers will see Daniel Norris return to the mound in 2020 for some starts. Norris pitched in thirty-two games for the Tigers last season, making twenty-nine starts where any baseball fan learned, he is only good one time through the lineup (which is totally okay). Over 144.1 innings of work, Norris carried a 4.49 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, while striking out 125, but gave up 154 hits with a 3-13 record.
Now, there may be a more effective way to use Norris as a starter, as mentioned above, he gets through the batting order once with little problems, it’s the second time through. If baseball teams have learned anything from the Tampa Bay Rays and Kevin Cash, it is that a pitching staff can be manipulated to win ballgames.
For example, The Tigers should throw Norris for three innings, let him get his nine outs with ease, and immediately turn the ball over to a righty, say Rule-5 draft pick, Rony Garcia, or John Schrieber.
This will not be a perfect solution or win this rebuilding team ballgame after ballgame, but it should give Norris more value and keep the Tigers from being down 10-0 after six innings where Norris falters after three.
The Rays can get away with this and exponentially win more games because they have far better arms than Daniel Norris and Rony Garcia, but adopting this same strategy should prove beneficial to Norris.