Detroit Tigers: 10 Free Agents to sign heading into the 2021 season

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
Detroit Tigers /

Relief Pitcher/Closer: David Robertson

The Detroit Tigers could use a reliable bullpen arm or two heading into the 2021 season.  The former Phillies’ reliever missed the entire 2020 season due to an elbow injury. David Robertson appeared in just seven games during the 2019 season before being shutdown forced to have the ever so famous Tommy John surgery.

Needless to say, after signing the former reliable closer to a two-year deal worth $23-million, the Phillies didn’t get nearly what they’d expected out of their investment.  Philadelphia held a $12-million third-year team option, but it was unlikely to be exercised after completing Tommy John surgery.

Robertson, a 12-year veteran who has spent time between the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, and Phillies, had maintained a stable 2.90 career earned run average including an 80% save rate.  Robertson has flipped from being a reliable set-up man to a closer back to a set-up role throughout his career.

His versatility is something the Tigers bullpen will gladly welcome.  The Tigers have yet to find themselves a reliable closer since they dealt away Shane Greene.  The organization had high hopes for Joe Jimenez, but his 7.15 ERA last season proved he isn’t a reliable option.

The flame-throwing lefty Gregory Soto excelled as a set-up man but struggled with his closing opportunities.  The Tigers will consider using Jose Cisnero as their closer in 2021.  Cisnero posted a 3.03 ERA in 29.2 innings of work while striking out 34 batters.

Tigers manager Hinch recently mentioned that he’d be willing to use his ‘closer’ in a non-traditional role, possibly in the seventh inning if permittable.  Adding the calming presence of Robertson, who will be eager to prove he’s fully healed from surgery on a one-year deal, could be very beneficial to the Tigers in 2021.

Another viable option to consider would be free agent Brad Boxberger.