The Detroit Tigers have the ability to bounce back into the playoff conversation in 2016, but it all starts with the offseason. According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Tigers will target good second-tier free agents.
While nothing is set in stone, it does not look like the Tigers will be bringing back David Price or Yoenis Cespedes, who they dealt away at the trade deadline. The report also indicates that Detroit will not be adding Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann or other top notch pitchers to their rotation.
Instead, the Tigers will look to compliment Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez and Daniel Norris with a few second-tier players.
General manager Al Avila should look to bring in names like Ian Kennedy, Kyle Kendrick, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija, Yovani Gallardo, Doug Fister or other players of the like. If the Tigers could wheel in two second-tier pitchers, they could find themselves in a good spot to contend with the Kansas City Royals for the American League Central division. .
Verlander, Sanchez and Norris have secured their spot for the 2016 rotation, but Matt Boyd is in a sticky situation. If the Tigers do grab two starting pitchers over the offseason, Boyd would likely be the sixth pitcher on a team that uses a five-man rotation. If any injury occurred, he would be the next man up to toss.
In 2015, the pitching staff posted a 4.64 ERA, which was second-worst in the MLB. The pitching struggles mirrored their record of 74-87 last season.
While Detroit would like two starting pitchers; they will chase a reliever.
As it was reported by Tony Paul of the Detroit News, the Tigers are interested in a reunion with right-handed reliever Joakim Soria. Detroit traded Soria to the Pittsburgh Pirates at the 2015 trade deadline for JaCoby Jones.
Soria logged a 2.53 ERA and 72 games pitched in 2015. Over his career, he was the closer for the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers and a part-time closer in Detroit. After being a set-up man with the Pirates, the 31-year-old will look to get a three-year deal in a closer role.
Verlander will lead the pitching staff for 2016. The righty went 5-8 with a 3.38 ERA over 20 games pitched last season. He was dominant from 2009-2013, but fell off the tracks in the 2014 season. Verlander, who will be in his 12th season, will look to pick up the slack and become the feared pitcher that he use to be in the Old English D.