The Detroit Tigers may not see the field in 2022 for quite some time, but when they do, the team’s bullpen has to be looking to show more improvements. The team has been much better than they were in the mid-to-late-2010s but still has plenty of room to improve and perform better.
If there’s something to be said about having a reliable bullpen, the Detroit Tigers will have to build/develop one if they want to be competitive. Looking at the past few years of successful postseason teams, they had enough bullpen arms to shut down the opposition once the fifth inning passes.
Whether it’s the New York Yankees and Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Chad Green, Zack Britton, etc., or the 2021 World Series Champion Atlanta Braves with Will Smith, Chris Martin, and A.J. Minter who held things down, the point is, these successful teams will build a stable of arms to rely upon.
Tell me this, if the Tigers made the playoffs today and you had to hand the ball to the bullpen in the seventh inning, do you feel comfortable with any kind of a lead? If you answered yes, more power to you, but I certainly do not feel good about any lead with the Tigers’ current bullpen.
The Detroit Tigers bullpen has to continue to improve in 2022.
The only two arms I would feel comfortable giving the ball to are Gregory Soto and Michael Fulmer. Soto is still shaky at times and would likely be a nerve-wracking inning. If the Tigers are going to make him the closer, they have to ensure that he can deliver and get outs when called upon without the blown save as often as it happens.
On the other hand, letting Michael Fulmer try his hand at closing and keeping him away from the rotation has started to sound like a more and more intriguing idea as time goes on. While Kyle Funkhouser and Alex Lange have gotten better over time, there’s still plenty that needs to improve to consider the quality and reliable big-league arms.
Some might make the argument for Jose Cisnero, but I’d rather get him off the roster and pay another reliever to come in and be a stud in the back end of the bullpen. While it seems like it’s going to be a steady mix of trial and error with the Tigers bullpen, something has to give for the team to trust their bullpen options.
Whether it’s a mix of players from within the system or a few signings, the Tigers have to start piecing together a bullpen that can contain a postseason run. While it may not be 2022, the time will come sooner than later, and the Tigers cannot get beaten due to a lackluster bullpen.