Detroit Tigers: 3 starting pitchers Al Avila should go after in free agency

(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers have some very talented, young pitchers, but this offseason is filled with a wide range of talent the team could use on the mound.

The 2022 MLB free-agent class is highlighted by some big names: Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer. But before the Tigers look at the big names, they first have to realize what they have.

The Detroit Tigers’ future aces.

It is never safe to say any pitcher is going to be your team’s future ace; injuries happen. But what we can say about the Tigers’ future on the mound is that they have three very projectable arms, Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize, and Matt Manning.

I believe Tarik Skubal is, right now, the best of the three. Despite his tendency to give up the long ball, Skubal has the stuff to put away some of the best hitters in the game. With an electric fastball and hard-breaking offspeed pitches, Skubal sets himself up nicely.

Casey Mize and Matt Manning are off to good starts to their major league careers as well. Both have had growing pains but have had their moments of being phenomenal.

The Detroit Tigers have three legitimate starters heading into 2022, but that leaves two starting spots on their rotation open. Of course, manager A.J. Hinch could elect to use one of his bullpen arms as a starter (Michael Fulmer), or they could call someone up from Toledo or Erie.

But the more realistic and better option would be for general manager Al Avila could go from one if not two starting pitchers in free agency this winter.

Who should Al Avila go after this winter to help the Detroit Tigers pitching staff?

The buzz down Woodward Ave. from Tigers fans is that they want to bring home AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander and I have no objections. However, you can’t pay Verlander for what he was; you have to pay him for what he is.

Verlander, who turns 39 years old in February, is coming off Tommy John surgery. He is getting paid $33 million a year in Houston with the Astros, and the Tigers simply can’t afford to pay him that much money.

If Verlander isn’t willing to take significantly less money to come home to Detroit, to finish out his career where he started it, then the Tigers shouldn’t sign him.

Another starting pitcher Al Avila should go after is Marcus Stroman. He is only 30 years old, so he could be a multi-year arm the Tigers keep around. Stroman doesn’t have electric stuff, but he is one of the more reliable pitchers in the game. He keeps the walks and home runs low while getting a lot of groundballs.

Stroman’s market value is placed around $21 million, putting him near the top of the 2022 free-agent class when it comes to pitchers, but that doesn’t mean Avila can’t spend some money on him.

Lastly, another pitcher I would like to see the Tigers make a run at is Steven Matz, also 30 years old. Matz isn’t going to be an ace, but he is a solid back-end of the rotation starter. He is another arm that is going to keep the home runs low, and at a time where home runs are increasing, it might just be what is needed.

Not to mention if Al Avila can get Matz, he will have plenty of money to grab another arm or sign an extra position player because Matz will cost anywhere from $4-7 million.

Of course, there are other options on the mound in this free-agent class—players like Kevin Gausman, Dan Duffy, and Eduardo Rodriguez. The list goes on; there are plenty of options.

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At the end of the day, it all depends on what Avila spends at shortstop. Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, and Trevor Story will all cost a pretty penny. But the Tigers do need pitching, and a combination of low-cost pitchers may have to do suit if the Tigers “overspend” at shortstop.