Why the Tigers Should Sign Doug Fister in the Offseason

The 2015 Detroit Tigers starting pitching experiment has not gone to plan. Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene came out of the gates firing strikes and generally pitching extremely effectively. The results since have been awful.

Even with his one-hit shutout of the Texas Rangers, Simon’s ERA over his last 13 starts is 7.83. 7.83!

Greene’s ERA over his last 15 appearances isn’t much better. In fact, it’s worse. The former Yankee’s ERA is 9.35 over that span.

Going on those nuggets of information, it makes sense that the Tigers will target starting pitching this offseason.

One starting pitcher the team should target is former Tiger Doug Fister.

Fister has had a rough go of things in the capital this season, posting a 4.45 ERA in 21 appearances. The Nationals have shuttled him to the bullpen, where he’s made six appearances and allowed eight runs in 11 innings.

It’s safe to say he probably won’t be back in with the Nats com next year.

The Tigers should sign him.

Not only is Fister a known commodity to the Tigers, but he also won’t be too expensive. The former Mariner would likely be out of the Tigers’ price range if he put up his usual excellent numbers this year, but he’s struggled, so here we sit.

Justin Verlander and Daniel Norris are the only real locks for the Tigers to be in the rotation next season. Matt Boyd has showed flashes of potential so far in his rookie season, and could start again next season. Another incumbent who could return (should he decide to stave off retirement) is the ageless-wonder Randy Wolf. The other two members of the Tigers’ current staff (Alfredo Simon and Anibal Sanchez) could move on. Like Fister, Simon is a free agent at season’s end and will likely depart. Sanchez’ salary could be flipped for another big contract if Detroit needs to vacate a spot in the rotation for a new arrival.

(RELATED: Detroit Tigers 2016 Pitching Staff: Locks, Uncertainties and Likely Departures).

Fister makes all the sense in the world for Detroit, especially given his success at Comerica Park. The right-hander has posted a 3.18 ERA in 232 innings at the Tigers’ home stadium. Over those 232 innings he’s made 35 starts, striking out 180 batters and allowing opponents to hit only .255 against him.

The potential situation makes even more sense when you consider that the Tigers don’t want to rush any of their prospects making their way through the minors. Adding Fister on a short-term contract to act as a place-holder for young arms such as Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa. The move would also allow Fister to rebuild his value in search of a bigger contract.

Detroit needs starters and, barring a change of events, Doug Fister will likely be available on the free agent market this coming offseason. Given the likely high cost of other starters, the Tigers should jump at the chance to bring the comparatively-cheaper Fister back into the fold. It would benefit all parties.

Not only would it benefit all parties, but it would allow new Tigers general manager Al Avila to (in a way) make up for one of his predecessor’s biggest mistakes.

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All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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The Detroit Tigers Aren’t Out of the Playoff Race Yet

Entering Friday, the Tigers sat an uninspiring 13 games out of the American League Central lead. However, they also began the day only five games back of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the second wild card spot.

Why is this important?

Because Miguel Cabrera is back.

The slugger returns from a lengthy disabled-list stint and immediately gives the Tigers a massive shot in the arm (understatement of the century).

Cabrera’s numbers on the season? A .350 batting average, a .456 OBP, a 1.034 OPS (!), 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 32 extra-base-hits.

Yeah, he’s going to help the Tigers.

Detroit opens a three-game set in Houston against the Astros on Friday before facing the Cubs in Chicago before returning home to face Texas. The former Marlin slots in at third in the Tigers’ batting order. His arrival means the red-hot Ian Kinsler (.374 batting average, .979 OPS since the start of July) receives more at-bats in the second spot in the order. It also means less pressure on Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, who slide down the order. At the very least, Cabrera moves everyone but Kinsler down in the lineup, thereby lengthening it considerably.

To put Cabrera’s importance to the team in perspective, his WAR is 4.0. That’s for wins above replacement. Four wins. Add four wins to the Tigers and they would be .500 on the season.

Not only is Cabrera back, but Bruce Rondon is pitching like the pitcher most thought he would become. Rondon owns a 1.80 ERA over his last 11 appearances, striking out 14 batters in ten innings in the process.

Rondon’s resurgence gives the Tigers three dependable, late-inning arms at the end of games. With Rondon, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy, there less of a need to feel anxious when the Tigers close out games.

Further stats of note on Rondon? His FIP (Fielding independent pitching—basically an ERA that the pitcher can control) is 2.43, lower than every reliever the Tigers have used this season. He’s also allowed only three base-runners (one hit, two walks) over his last six outings. He’s struck out 40% of the batters he’s faced over that span. In terms of his last six outings, Rondon’s opponents are managing a .259 OPS.

If he continues to pitch like that down the stretch in save-situations, the Tigers are going to be tough to beat.

The tricky part of the wild-card situation is that the do have to beat a number of teams (at least in the standings) in order to make it into October. The Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays all sit ahead of Detroit in the wild card race. That’s not to mention the New York Yankees and the Angels, who lead the race. Even with all those teams ahead of them, the Tigers can take solace in the fact that all of them (with the exceptions of Tampa Bay and Texas) have struggled as of late. New York and Baltimore are both 4-6 over their last ten respective games while Anaheim is 5-5. Minnesota is the fastest sinking ship in the harbor with a 3-7 record over the team’s last ten contests.

With Miguel Cabrera back in the fold and the back-end of the Tigers bullpen gaining some much needed consistency, the Tigers aren’t out of the playoff picture yet, not even close. Throw in some uncertainty ahead of the team in the standings and Detroit has the potential to make some noise down the stretch and once again make the postseason.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Should the Tigers Take a Flier on Garrett Jones?

The New York Yankees recently designated first baseman/corner outfielder/pinch-hitter extraordinaire Garrett Jones for assignment. Should the Tigers take a chance on the one-time Minnesota Twin?

The book on Jones is pretty straight forward. He mashes right-handed pitching (.265 career batting average .473 career slugging percentage and .803 career OPS) and plays first base as well as both corner outfield spots. His defense isn’t anything to write home about, but his offense is what keeps him around.

Detroit could have used him when Miguel Cabrera was out injured, but with Cabrera set to return to the lineup on Friday, the team’s need isn’t as dire. Still, Jones could provide the Tigers with a feared bench bat that has been missing in Detroit for a number of years.

Jones would likely be used in a timeshare with Tyler Collins and Rajai Davis in left field, but mainly as a pinch hitter.

One thing that stood out, among others, during last season’s American League Division Series sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles was the team’s lack of bench depth. After Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez brought the Tigers within a run thanks to back-to-back doubles, the team sent Bryan Holaday, Nick Castellanos and Hernan Perez to the plate. Holaday struck out, Castellanos was walked and Perez promptly grounded into a double play.

With the season on the line, the team sent Hernan Perez to the plate. Hernan Perez! Now, Perez has some potential, but he isn’t with the team any more.

We’ve seen a number of baseball teams (looking at you Kansas City) build deep benches that help them succeed in October. Adding Jones would give Tigers a somewhat deep bench. The team would have their go-to pinch-hitter in Jones, a go-to pinch-runner in Davis, as well as a super utility option in Andrew Romine.

Jefry Marte has hit well for the Tigers while filling in for Cabrera at first (.271 batting average, seven extra-base-hits and seven RBI in 19 games), but if he isn’t playing full-time, you might as well send him to Triple-A Toledo to receive some at-bats and then recall him when rosters expand in a few weeks.

There’s also the fact that Cabrera won’t be completely ready to play full-time when he returns, so Brad Ausmus will have to spell him at first base on occasion. While Jones isn’t a Gold Glove winner at first, he has played 489 games at the position in the big leagues and can be considered a first baseman by trade. The same cannot be said of the Cabrera’s injury replacements Marte (naturally a third baseman), Romine (utility infielder, better suited for the other three infield positions) and Alex Avila (a catcher).

Throw in Jones’ .306 batting average at Comerica Park (also seven extra-base hits and two stolen bases in 11 games) and you have a solid bench option for the Tigers. He’s at least worth a look.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Players the Tigers Should Target at the Trade Deadline: Tyler Clippard and Scott Kazmir

With the baseball season reaching its annual All-Star break, things aren’t exactly ginger-peachy in the Motor City. The win-now Detroit Tigers own a .500 record at 44-44 and are nine games out of first place. Given the Tigers’ recent track record and desire to win, you’d expect them to be major buyers at the trade deadline. Here are some of the players Detroit and general manager Dave Dombrowski should target at the trade deadline.

Tyler Clippard

Since leaving the New York Yankees in an ill-fated trade for Jonathan Albaladejo, Clippard has long since established himself as one of the premier relievers in the league. Since 2009, his accomplishments include two All-Star appearances, a 32 save season (2012) and another season in which he won 11 contests without starting a game.

Clippard’s ERA since ’09 is a sparkling 2.62 over a whopping 490.2 innings. Over that span, he’s struck out 557 batters. The reliever is now in Oakland following an offseason trade, and has predictably thrived in the cavernous confines of the O.co Coliseum. He’s solidified himself as the team’s closer with 17 saves on the campaign.

Adding the reliever would do a number of things for Detroit’s bullpen. Not only would the addition of Clippard improve the group, it would also ease pressure on the other pitchers. Clippard set-up Joakim Soria in the eighth, therefore allowing Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, Al Alburquerque, Neftali Feliz and Bruce Rondon to pitch the seventh inning or earlier in situations with more margin for error and less pressure.

(RELATED: Neftali Feliz Signing a Smart Move by the Tigers)

Scott Kazmir

While Clippard would help stabilize the bullpen, Scott Kazmir would bring much needed help to a rotation that is practically begging for it.

David Price has been everything and more in terms of being the team’s ace, while Anibal Sanchez has rebound as of late (5-0 record, .182 batting average against and a 2.84 ERA over his last six starts). Outside of those two and a seemingly rebounding Justin Verlander, there are major question marks in the Detroit rotation. Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene both started out pitching superbly. The key words there are “started out”. Both have been horrible lately, and Kyle Ryan and Buck Farmer haven’t been much better.

If healthy, Kazmir would fix some of those issues. He can’t clone himself, but he’d be a massive upgrade.

The former Tampa Bay ace hasn’t been racking up the wins like last season when he posted 15. Still, Kazmir has lowered his ERA by nearly an entire run, going from 3.55 last season to 2.49 this year. His walks are up slightly (2.4 last season, 3.0 per nine innings this season), but so are his strikeouts— 7.8 in 2014, 8.5 in 2015.

With only five wins on the season, Kazmir could follow a similar route to Doug Fister in terms of winning significantly more games in Detroit thanks to much-improved run support. He may not be an ace, but he’d fit in well in Motown as the Tigers’ second or third starter.


The A’s farm system is not what it once was, specifically in the pitching department. Six of Oakland’s top eight prospects (including their top four overall, according to MLB.com) are position players. Going on that, a number of Tigers pitching prospects could interest Billy Beane and company. Angel Nesbitt showed flashes of potential, as well as a blazing fastball, during his stint in Detroit earlier this season. He may benefit a stint pitching in the O.co Coliseum. Tigers’ Futures Game representative Joe Jimenez could also interest Oakland.

(RELATED: Players the Tigers Could Move at the Trade Deadline)

The Tigers’ rotation struggles have been well documented, but one thing they have brought to light is the number of starters who are near big-league ready. Any one of Farmer, Ryan or Drew VerHagen could thrive in spacious Oakland. Detroit could also dangle infield prospect Dixon Machado.


While both players are rentals, but they might be the difference in the Tigers making or missing the playoffs. Beane will likely sell high on two of his better assets, but Detroit should at the very least kick the tires on both, if not acquire them outright.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Detroit Tigers Remaining Schedule Without Miguel Cabrera

With Miguel Cabrera missing what will amount to six weeks, here’s a look at the Tigers upcoming schedule over those six weeks.

(RELATED: Miguel Cabrera Replacements).

After taking two of three against the Blue Jays, the Tigers travel to Seattle to face the Mariners. Here’s the rest of the schedule.

3 games at Seattle (the M’s are six games below .500 and nine games out of first place in the American League West).

3 games at Minnesota (Detroit is 7-2 versus their American League Central rivals this season).

4 home games against Baltimore (Entering Monday, the O’s are 44-39 and a game back of the Yankees for first in the American League East).

4 home games against Seattle.

3 games at Boston (Boston is last in the AL East and only one win better than the M’s).

3 games at Tampa Bay (the Rays are two games above .500, but also field one of the worst offenses in baseball).

4 games at Baltimore.

3 home games against Kansas City (Detroit is only 3-4 against the Royals this year, but given the rivalry between the two, you can expect the Tigers to come out swinging).

3 home games against Boston.

3 games at Kansas City.

3 games at Houston (the Tigers are 2-2 against Houston this season, and will look to claim the series against the young Astros).

Verdict: The Tigers certainly have a manageable schedule without Miggy. They’ve been afforded a few breaks with series against teams the Tigers excel against, teams with poor records, and teams with equally poor offenses.

It won’t be easy. This is, after all, Major League Baseball, but the Tigers have the chance to put up a winning record without their star player.

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3 Stats from the Detroit #Tigers 12-4 Win vs the New York Yankees

Rejoice! The stats are back. After a short hiatus, these kind of pieces are back to stay at Know Hitter. Here’s three stats from Detroit’s triumphant 12-4 victory against the Yankees.

  • Three

The number of home runs by J.D. Martinez. Safe to say the dude was on fire. He drove in six runs on the say, propelling the Tigers to the win. The outfielder has never hit more than two bombs in a game, but on Sunday he mashed three.

  • Four

Victor Martinez is officially back ladies and gents. V-Mart posted a very… well, V-Mart stat line during Sunday’s win, going three-for-six with four RBI and two runs scored. In typical fashion, he didn’t strike out once. Like J.D., Victor also went yard. Although in Victor’s case he was limited to one home run. Still, a fantastic day at the plate for one of the league’s best pure hitters.

  • One

The number of times Miguel Cabrera failed to reach base. Miggy collected two hits and two walks, while scoring two runs. He’s hitting an absurd .346 on the season.

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4 Stats from the Seattle Mariners 3-1 Loss vs the New York Yankees

  • 13

Again the M’s struck out 13 times in a game, this time most of the Ks came from the top of the order as Logan Morrison went down on strikes three times while Austin Jackson, Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz combined for four more punch-outs.

  • Eight

The number of innings thrown by Mariners starter Taijuan Walker. The youngster collected seven strikeouts while only allowing three runs (all earned) on five hits. He walked one batter.

  • Six

The number of baserunners managed by the M’s. When your team’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is 13-1, things aren’t going too well offensively. Masahiro Tanaka was good for the Yankees, but the M’s just couldn’t muster up enough offense.

  • One

The number of combined hits by Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager. Seager had the only hit of the trio, but struck out three times. On the day the middle of the Mariners batting order went 1-for-12 with six strikeouts. Again, not going to cut it.

For more on Seattle sports, check out Kingdome of Seattle Sports.com.

5 Stats from the Seattle Mariners 5-3 Loss to the New York Yankees

  • 13

The number of strikeouts by the team. This number simply isn’t going to cut it. It keeps the M’s from pulling away from bad teams, while it serves up victories to the better teams on silver platters.

  • 23

The number of pitches thrown by Mariners closer Fernando Rodney. Rodney blew the save while allowing a run and two hits, plus a walk, in one inning. He struck out one batter.

  • 6

The number of innings thrown by Mike Montgomery in his Major League Debut. The former top prospect allowed four hits, one run (earned), walked two and struck out four.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by Mark Lowe, Charlie Furbush and Carson Smith. The trio kept the M’s in the lead, but after Rodney blew the save…

  • Six

Tom Wilhelmsen and Joe Beimel allowed a combined six hits and three runs while walking a batter over two innings. They allowed a homerun (Beimel) and didn’t strike a batter out. Wilhelmsen was tagged with the loss.

For more on Seattle sports, check out Kingdome of Seattle Sports.com.

3 Stats from the Seattle Mariners 7-2 Loss vs the New York Yankees

  • One

The number of hits by Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison in four at-bats. The Former Marlin also added a strikeout. In a surprising move, he hit leadoff.

  • Seven

The number of runs allowed by Felix Hernandez in 4.2 innings pitched. King Felix suffered only his second loss of the season, also allowing six hits, five walks and a home run. He only struck out four.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the M’s after Felix exited. Mayckol Guaipe and Dominic Leone pitched a combined 4.1 innings, allowing one hit while striking out four.

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Four Stats from the #Detroit #Tigers 8-6 Loss to the Los Angeles #Angels of #Anaheim

  • Seven

The number of runs allowed by Tigers starter Shane Greene in 1.2 innings pitched. Greene also gave up six hits, walked one and struck out one.

  • Five

In addition to the seven runs on six hits in 1.2 innings (and a walk and a strikeout), Greene gave up a whopping five home runs against the Angels.

  • Four

The number of Tigers with multi-hit games. The middle of the Tigers’ order, Miguel Cabrera (two hits), Yoenis Cespedes (two) and J.D. Martinez (three), accounted for seven hits while Jose Iglesias also added two hits.

  • One

The number of runs allowed by the bullpen after Greene exited. Considering the former Yankee only threw 1.2 innings, the bullpen could have imploded, but the trio of Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy and Al Alburquerque allowed a combined three hits, one run, two walks and five strikeouts.

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