There’s no way to sugar coat it, Santiago is garbage and going to create a logjam in the minor leagues. Yet, Avila brings him in with a rotation that already has enough “veteran” arms who are going to post ERA ratings above 4.00 and WHIP numbers far above 1.50 Even on a rebuilding team.
Looking at the rotation, with Boyd, Zimmermann, Turnbull, Nova, and Norris being slated as the five arms, there is no room for one of the young pitchers to get a trial run with the big league club. When Fulmer returns, it seems that Nova or Norris will be bumped from the rotation, although if the team has any brains whatsoever, they will keep left-handed Norris in the rotation in a “one-time through the order” guy similar to what the Tampa Bay Rays do with some of their pitchers.
For those curious, Santiago, who will be stationed in Triple-A, has not had an ERA below 4.00 since the 2015 season. In 2019, Santiago split time with the New York Mets and Chicago White Sox, managing to pitch in nineteen games, making two starts, finishing eleven games. His combined ERA over those nineteen appearances was 6.68 with a WHIP of 1.90, all while giving up forty-two hits over 33.2 innings of work. The thirty-two-year-old is a mop-up, inning eating pitcher that should have been avoided.
Looking at the young pitchers that reside on the Triple-A roster, only a few are candidates to see their first big league trial runs this season. Mize and Manning will not even sniff the big leagues this season with the additions of Godley, Nova, Santiago, and Dario Agrazal.
To clarify, this is totally acceptable, but it would have been nice to see Manning or Mize get a spot start at some point during the season to give them a taste of the big leagues as well as see how they fare against big-league talent.
Al Avila and the Tigers’ front office are going to create a logjam of young pitchers in the minor leagues by adding all of these useless veterans. For the record, personally, Godley should have a shot at claiming the fifth spot in the rotation over Nova, but instead, both he and Alexander will most likely be kicked to the bullpen/Triple-A rotation.
Adding Santiago into this mix of arms that are competing for the fifth starter spot and long reliever spot is just making it harder and harder to see these prospects putting on a Tigers jersey this summer.