Five Pitchers The Tigers Could Add if Eduardo Rodriguez Decides to Opt-out


If the Detroit Tigers hope to end the losing mindset they and the fanbase have had for nearly a decade, their rotation will need to stay healthy and efficient.

Although it’s refreshing that Tarik Skubal looked like a long-term ace this season, it will still sting if Eduardo Rodriguez, who pitched so well for Detroit, decides to opt out of his contract.

Rodriguez pitched in 26 games this season and finished with a 13-9 record. In 152.2 innings pitched, Rodriguez had 143 strikeouts, a 3.30 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP.

Scott Harris and the Tigers recognized how valuable Rodriguez was at the trade deadline, and they knew that there was a good chance he would opt out, so they did what everyone expected them to do: attempt to trade him. The Tigers and the Dodgers came to an agreement that would send Rodriguez to LA. However, Rodriguez vetoed the trade with the no-trade clause in his contract. He did not want to be a Dodger.

Although he finished the year with the Tigers and said he liked it here, Detroit may have seen the last of E-Rod in a Tigers uniform.

If Rodriguez is gone this off-season, the Tigers will need to make a move, but not a big splash because they need more help offensively than they do on the mound. However, some other concerns with the rotation could make the Tigers look even harder for good pitching help. The rotation can’t get healthy. There are a lot of questions surrounding former first-overall pick Casey Mize, who continues to battle two significant injuries. Joey Wentz is not good at all, and he needs to go. It wouldn’t hurt for the Tigers to add a couple of veteran arms to the rotation, but at least one is a must for them this off-season.

Five Pitchers the Tigers Could Target this Off-season

Even if Eduardo Rodriguez decides not to opt-out, the Tigers will still need to add a pitcher or two. However, whether or not he does will determine what kind of pitcher they would like to target this off-season. If E-Rod is no longer here, Detroit could spend more on a proven, efficient starter. If he stays, Detroit will likely add a cheap, somewhat quality starter.

Shohei Ohtani, Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, and Lucas Giolito are the big fish in this free agent class. As much as I would love for them to be in Detroit, it’s not happening. Chris Illitch doesn’t spend that kind of money, and in reality, improving their lineup is more critical this off-season, so getting one of the top pitchers in this year’s class will not happen.

There are still plenty of solid and affordable options out there, though. So, without wasting any more time, here are five players the Tigers could add if Eduardo Rodriguez opts out.

RHP Michael Lorenzen

Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a familiar face for Tigers fans. Lorenzen was a cheap off-season signing for Detroit before the start of this season. With some help from Chris Fetter, one of baseball’s best pitching coaches, Lorenzen had one of the best seasons of his career. It led to him appearing in his first career all-star game. He was so good that he turned into a big trade chip at the deadline for a Tigers team not ready to compete yet. The Tigers snagged one of Philadelphia’s top five prospects in a trade at the deadline. Soon after being traded, Lorenzen threw his first career no-hitter. He threw 124 pitches in that game. Despite struggling after that, Lorenzen would make sense for Detroit as Fetter would help get him back on track. Lorenzen finished the regular season with a 9-9 record, 4.18 ERA, 2.0 WAR, and in 153 innings pitched, he struck out 111 batters and walked 47.

LHP Martìn Pérez

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

32-year-old veteran left-hander Martìn Pérez has had a great season. He has been a big-time contributor on a Rangers team one series away from the World Series. This season is Pérez’s 11th season in the big leagues. He fits the veteran need for Detroit and would be affordable if Rodriguez opts out. One obstacle in making this happen would be whether or not Pérez would be willing to play for a team not expected to be very Rcompetitive even if they snuck into the playoffs in a weak division. If the Rangers win the World Series, I could see this happening with both sides satisfied. However, with Pérez’s career winding down, if he doesn’t get that ring, he will likely seek a contract with a strong contender, likely back with Texas. His record this season was 10-4 with a 4.45 ERA, 0.8 WAR, and in 141.2 innings pitched, he struck out 93 batters and walked 49.

RHP Sonny Gray

Photo Credit: Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

The Tigers should target Sonny Gray this off-season for a couple of reasons. The soon-to-be 34-year-old, who completed his 10th season, fits the need for an efficient veteran starter. An even more critical factor, though, is the fact that the Tigers will be battling the Twins to win the division. What better way to ensure that one of your rivals’ best players doesn’t resign than to sign him yourself? He should be affordable if Rodriguez opts out. He would be a perfect fit at the top of the rotation with Tarik Skubal. Gray’s record this season was 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA, 5.3 WAR, and in 184 innings pitched, he struck out 183 batters and walked 55.

RHP Frankie Montas

Photo Credit: MLB.Com

Montas’ career has been up and down, but he’s always shown great potential. At 30 years old, Montas is a guy you could trust to give a multi-year deal to. He spent the first 5½ years of his career with the Oakland Athletics. At the deadline in 2022, Montas was traded to the New York Yankees, where he struggled a bit towards the end of the season. He didn’t get a chance to redeem himself with New York because he was ruled out for the 2023 season before it started due to injury. Frankie Montas was once a big fish on the market, and I can only imagine what he can do with Chris Fetter here to help him if the Tigers sign him.

LHP Wade Miley

Photo Credit: MLB.Com

I know what you’re thinking, Wade Miley; he’s still around? He can’t still be very efficient? Well, the soon-to-be 37-year-old Wade Miley is still playing and pitching very well. Although his talent is a drop-off compared to others on this list, he has pitched as well as they have. In his second stint with the Brewers, Miley had a 9-4 record, a 3.14 ERA, 2.5 WAR, and in 120.1 innings pitched, Miley struck out 79 batters and walked 38. He would fit the need of a veteran and would easily be affordable. Miley is the most likely target on this list.

Gage O'Leary

I'm one of the writers for ITD Baseball, I cover the Detroit Tigers and I hope to have a career in sports some day.

One thought on “Five Pitchers The Tigers Could Add if Eduardo Rodriguez Decides to Opt-out”

  1. Scott Harris Stated a week ago that they believe their pitching problem for 2024 is how are they going to hide all their pitchers in a 5 man rotation.

    I would hope they speak with E-Rod and give him some Love – He will bring stability to this staff, but with or without E-Rod, I so not see them spending more than $700K each for any new pitchers.

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