The Tigers have already been active this offseason, adding Kenta Maeda to the rotation and Mark Canha to the outfield, but there’s still holes to fill on this roster.
We can’t pretend that replacing Eduardo Rodriguez with Maeda is anything but an obvious downgrade, and this offense was DREADFUL last season even despite taking a step forward.
The Tigers aren’t too far off from competing in a watered-down AL Central, and signing one or more of the players below could go a long way toward making that a reality.
Free Agents Tigers Should Target at Winter Meetings
The MLB Winter Meetings will take place in Nashville, TN from Dec. 3-6 this year, with front office representatives and agents working toward compromises.
There’s sure to be signings and maybe even some trades, too, and the Tigers can’t afford to stand pat.
Here are four free agents they should at least look into in the coming days:
Michael Wacha, SP
This is one of the most ideal signings Detroit could possibly make this offseason.
Maeda hasn’t reached 110+ innings in a season since 2019 and it feels foolish to rely on him to hold down one of the top spots in the rotation.
That’s where Wacha comes in. The soon-to-be 12th-year player isn’t a workhorse himself, but he’s been a model of reliability over the past two seasons.
In the past two seasons he has: thrown 127+ innings, recorded a sub-3.35 ERA, a sub-1.20 WHIP, and a K/BB rate of better than 3-to-1.
The price tag on Wacha is likely in the mid-tier range, which appears to be the likely ceiling for Detroit after giving Maeda a 2-year, $24 million pact already.
Sean Manaea, SP
Whatever happened to Manaea? The once-promising Oakland A’s starting pitcher has since been converted into a bulk pitcher who throws behind openers.
That might not be a bad fit in Detroit, especially considering that several of the team’s starters are coming off injuries (Casey Mize and Matt Manning, especially).
The bullpen could certainly use a multi-inning pitcher to pair with Tyler Holton (or stick Holton in a later-game role) OR it could try to turn Manaea back into a starter.
He posted an ugly 4.44 ERA across 117 ⅔ innings last season, but his underlying stats give room for optimism, like his 1.24 WHIP, a 9.76 K per 9,
You have to think that Maeda’s transformation into a bullpen arm has to reduce the associated cost as well, putting him firmly within the Tigers’ spending limits.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Hello, old friend. It was clearly a mistake to get rid of Candelario last season, as he went on to post a .251 batting average with 22 home runs and an .807 OPS.
Those numbers would be welcome in Detroit, and the Tigers could use another veteran in the infield as it might be too soon to rely on Justin Henry-Malloy or Colt Keith to hold down a full-time role.
It also doesn’t hurt that Candelario is a former Tiger, and player consistency is something that’s been hard to come by over the past few years for us fans.
Detroit has a chance to fix its mistake by bringing back the Candy Man.
Wade Miley, SP
It’s hard to ever really get excited about signing a 37-year-old pitcher with mileage like Miley has, but he’s been EXTREMELY consistent!
You can never have too many arms in baseball and Miley could be a cheap alternative to Wacha (or an extra rotation option behind him).
The veteran posted an impressive 3.14 ERA with a 1.14 WHIP across 120 ⅓ innings last season with a 2.5 WAR!
It’s likely that Miley is both cheap AND willing to take a short-term deal, considering his age. Adding any arms at this point is almost a must for Detroit, and Miley isn’t as bad of an option as you might think.
It’s going to be fun to see which players the Tigers try to add in the coming days, and you can join in on the fun with a chance to win big at FanDuel! Just sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on ANY team’s moneyline odds. If your team wins, you’ll win $150 in bonus bets. Sign up with FanDuel today!
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