Detroit Tigers: Expect closer role to be a revolving door under A.J. Hinch

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the Detroit Tigers‘ newly hired manager A.J. Hinch working to implement his strategies, the team may see a revolving door of closers in 2021. While with the Houston Astros, Hinch did not need to do this a whole lot because the team was winning, but the Tigers do not have a lockdown closer.

There are some arms who could be gunning for the job or looking to earn the closing job, but it seems like Hinch is best served to go for the revolving door approach. He has made it clear that he will use a plethora of arms in closing situations if he feels that is the best option to go for the Detroit Tigers.

Spring Training continues down in Lakeland, Florida, where the Tigers are tuning up for the 2021 season. Some of the organization’s arms are starting to lock in certain roles and begin prepping for the start of the season rather than just getting back into the swing of things.

With players like Buck Farmer, Bryan Garcia, Joe Jiménez, and Gregory Soto being the “favorites” to win the job, Hinch will have some decisions to make. Frankly, there are reasons to like a revolving door approach in the Tigers’ case and the state of their rebuild.

The Detroit Tigers may go into 2021 without a named closer.

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Being brief on Jiménez, he has struggled greatly and is far from deserving of the closer role. But being that he was the organization’s closer in 2020 (at times), he might garner a few looks if his spring performance shapes up to be better than he looked last season.

But if Hinch feels Jiménez is the best option, then I am all for the revolving door approach because, in 2020, Jiménez could not hold things down.

When it comes to Buck Farmer, he has been someone who has very quietly become a reliable arm for this bullpen.

He has snuck up the ranks and become a “set-up” man or eighth-inning option for the Tigers, and he could possibly move into the closer’s role, but he also seems to be best served as a set-up man or eighth-inning guy.

Similar to how former Tigers pitcher Andrew Miller has never found success as a closer. However, Farmer should still be considered as Hinch works through his options. Bryan Garcia finished the 2020 season as the organization’s closer, and frankly, he was able to get through the end of the season with numbers that warrant a look as the closer.

Lastly, Gregory Soto is going to be considered for the job once again. The flame-throwing left-hander has not been the most impressive this Spring, and it seems as if there is some work to be done before he could get into that position.

He is poised for a much better season in 2021 and will be gunning for the closer’s role, but Hinch is likely going to opt to go with the revolving door approach. When Spring Training comes to a close, do not be shocked to see the Tigers without a closer.

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Hinch will likely be reluctant to name a closer for 2021 and opt to test out guys and put his relievers into different situations as the year goes on without having a true named closer, at least to start the year.