The Detroit Tigers should consider signing a pair of relievers in free agency.
This is certainly not the priority it once had been, but the Detroit Tigers should look to add a veteran arm they can rely upon into their youthful bullpen. It seems like the Tigers finally have the makings of a respectable bullpen. We know all too well what it’s like to have a shaky bullpen. Fans needed to keep a bottle of Pepto Bismol handy when the ball game got into the late innings.
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I say the makings of a respectable bullpen because, as a whole, Detroit’s team bullpen ERA sits third last in the American League at 4.79, with an AL-worst 1.46 WHIP. That being said, there are some serviceable pieces out there that will have a future with the club.
Closer Gregory Soto had been the Tigers’ lone All-Star in 2021, and he anchors the group. Detroit has gotten positive production from Kyle Funkhouser, Jose Cisnero, and starter turned reliever Michael Fulmer. The rest are very much expendable.
The Detroit Tigers should consider signing pending free agent Brad Hand.
Brad Hand is a 31-year old left-hander that currently pitches for the Toronto Blue Jays. Hand was dealt at the 2021 MLB Trade Deadline from Washington to Toronto for catching prospect Riley Adams.
The veteran lefty has a solid track record and has pitched to a career ERA of 3.66 with a WHIP of 1.231 over 654.2 innings of work during an extensive 11-year career. Before joining Washington this past offseason, Hand spent parts of three seasons with the Cleveland Indians.
Hand has experience as a closer and led all of Major League Baseball with 16 saves last season with the Tribe. Hand also enjoyed a 32 save year in 2018 between San Diego and Cleveland plus a 34 save season in 2019 with Cleveland.
I would be very comfortable adding Hand to compliment Soto and Cisnero as another late-innings option for the Tigers. Hand is earning $10.5 million in 2021, and I expect he’d like something similar next year but perhaps on a two-year deal to provide some personal insurance rather than signing another one-year deal for perhaps a touch more.
The Detroit Tigers should consider signing Raisel Iglesias.
Raisel Iglesias is another veteran arm general manager Al Avila needs to consider signing in the offseason to help bolster the Detroit Tigers bullpen.
Iglesias has a career ERA of 3.13 over a seven-year span and also has experience closing ball games. With Tigers manager A.J. Hinch not committing to having a traditional closer but using his relievers strategically in specific situations, it would be beneficial to have multiple late-innings options.
If the team could somehow replace a couple of bullpen arms with Hand and Iglesias, suddenly, the Tigers bullpen should be able to climb out of the American League basement and perhaps find a reliable middle-ground.
Iglesias has a 3.00 ERA with the Angles in 2021 to go with a .902 WHIP. He’s struck out 76 hitters over 51 innings of work to produce a stellar 13.4 K’s per 9 innings rate.