Detroit Tigers: 3 Free Agents left to target before it’s to late

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
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Matt Shoemaker

Everyone likes a hometown hero.

The Detroit Tigers need to consider adding some rotational depth.  The addition of Ramirez is fine, but adding a pitcher like Matt Shoemaker may not appear to be much of an upgrade to what A.J. Hinch currently has at his disposal, but the hometown product at 34-years old is hoping for one more opportunity, so why not in Detroit?

Shoemaker was born in Wyandotte, Michigan, and played his college ball at Eastern Michigan.  In 2014, Shoemaker finished second in rookie of the year voting posting a 16-4 record behind a 3.04 ERA while making 27 starts with the Los Angeles Angels.  The right-hander pitched six seasons with the Angels producing an overall record of 40-32 in 545 innings of work, striking out 490 batters.

Shoemaker signed a pair of one-year deals in each of the last two seasons, pitching North of the border in Toronto, posting good numbers when he was able to take the mound, but durability became an issue.  Shoemaker had made just 11 starts over the last two seasons as he continued to battle through various forearm issues.  Not to mention he had suffered a skull fracture earlier in his career.

But in those 11 starts, Shoemaker guided the Blue Jays to a 3-1, backing his 3.14 ERA and 0.997 WHIP.

If all goes well, there will be a minor league baseball season in 2021, leaving the Detroit Tigers with some options.  Pitchers like Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Matt Manning will benefit from spending some time in Triple-A Toledo before returning to the show.

Both Mize and Skubal cut their teeth at the MLB level last summer in the abbreviated schedule mostly because it had been their only opportunity to face various live hitters rather than the same players assigned to the Toledo taxi squad.

Skubal seemed to fare a bit better than Mize starting seven games but still posting a 5.63 earned run average striking out 37 in 32 innings of work.  Mize struck out 26 batters in 28.1 innings but posted an ugly 6.99 ERA during his first taste of the MLB.

If the Detroit Tigers were to sign Shoemaker, it would add much-needed depth, and an arm manager A.J. Hinch, can trust within an inferior projected starting rotation in 2021.