The Detroit Tigers are actively pursuing starting pitchers, according to a report by Jon Morosi of MLB.com. They have shown interest in former Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn as well as free agent right-hander Seth Lugo.
Lugo, who is now 34 years old, made the transition to a starting role in 2023 after serving as a reliever for many years. He had an impressive season, posting a 3.57 earned run average over 26 starts and throwing 146 1/3 innings. He declined a player option worth $7.5MM to remain with the Padres for 2024 and is anticipated to sign a three-year deal worth $42MM this offseason.
The Tigers’ pursuit of starting pitchers comes in response to the departure of lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who opted out of his deal, and the non-tendering of righty Spencer Turnbull, both of whom are now free agents. While the Tigers’ current rotation has some talent, there are lingering question marks.
Young left-handed pitcher Tarik Skubal had a strong 2023 season after returning from flexor tendon surgery but has had limited innings and may have workload concerns. Similarly, Matt Manning had a promising start, but his performance may not be sustainable. Additionally, several other pitchers on the roster have little to no major league experience. As a result, the Tigers are considering adding a stabilizing force to their pitching staff.
While the Tigers were recently linked to Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the likelihood of signing him seems slim due to the expected cost. However, financially, the Tigers have the flexibility to make additions to their roster, with projections estimating their 2024 payroll at just $74MM.
The Tigers’ front office appears to be cautious in their approach to spending, but they have the means to pursue short-term deals with pitchers like Marcus Stroman, Jack Flaherty, Kenta Maeda, and Michael Wacha, among others.
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