Despite making a splash in free agency headlined by signing Javier Baez, and Eduardo Rodriguez, Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila still has work to do after the work stoppage putting the finishing touches on the 2022 roster.
One of the main holes remaining on the roster that will need to be addressed is a spot in the starting rotation.
As it stands, I expect the Tigers to deploy Casey Mize, the aforementioned Rodriquez, plus Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and either Tyler Alexander or perhaps Michael Fulmer. I’d prefer to see the last two mentioned in Detroit’s bullpen for the 2022 season.
Alexander can be an effective spot starter, opener, and long reliever. Alexander saw plenty of career-bests in 2021 while making 41 appearances, including starting15 games plus finishing seven. Alexander totaled 106.1 innings while producing a 3.81 ERA, striking out 87 batters.
Fulmer rejuvenated his career last season, becoming a high-leveraged reliever for manager A.J. Hinch pitching to a solid 2.97 ERA, striking out 73 in 69.2 innings of work. Fulmer also compiled 14 saves, started four games and finished the year with a record of 5-6 and a career-best 3.46 FIP.
Matthew Boyd’s time with the Detroit Tigers is likely done, but don’t completely rule out a reunion.
If Avila can’t come to terms with any of the remaining free agent starting pitchers, don’t be surprised if Detroit’s general manager goes back to a familiar well and brings Boyd back on a one-year deal to pitch at the backend of the rotation.
Some alternative options and perhaps preferred options are Clayton Kershaw, Chris Archer, Carlos Rondon, Zach Davies, Yusei Kikuchi, or even Zack Greinke.
Boyd made just 15 starts in 2021 due to a lingering arm issue. Boyd suffered from ‘arm fatigue’ and underwent surgery to repair a flexor tendon in his left arm.
The 30-year old southpaw did pitch well in limited duty during the ’21 season, pitching to a 3.89 ERA to go with a career-best FIP of 4.10. Boyd fanned 67 hitters over 78.2 but yielded nine home runs.
The long-ball has been Boyd’s kryptonite over the past few seasons. Boyd led the league in 2019, allowing 39 home runs in 185.1 innings of work, followed by leading the league again during the 2020 COVID-19 shortened season, allowing 15 in just 60.1 innings. Boyd also led the league in 2020, allowing 45 earned runs.
Last season with the Detroit Tigers, Boyd produced a Wins Above Replacement (WAR) of1.4, that following the 2020 mark of 0.0. According to FanGraphs, Boyd provided the Tigers with a strikeout rate of 19.9% and a 13.1% strikeout to walk rate.