Detroit Tigers Projected Pitching Staff

Starting Pitchers

Justin Verlander – as Jim Price says every time he talks about JV, “best pitcher in the world.” Will make $20,100,000 this year but worth it. Hopefully they will get him extension during Spring Training.

Max Sherzer – avoided arbitration with a 1 year 6,700,000 million dollar deal.  Hopefully they will be able to lock him up for a long time.  I still think that the Tigers are huge winners in the Granderson deal because for a while last year he was better than JV.

Doug Fister – Dougie Fresh is a great move that the Tigers made to get him away from Seattle. Dombrowski also avoided arbitration with Fister with a 1 year 4,000,000 million dollar deal. 

Anibal Sanchez – has to be the highest paid 4th starter ever with his new 5 year 80 million dollar contract.  I did not think that the Tigers would resign him because of the money involved but I also didn’t think the Tigers would sign Prince Fielder until V Mart got hurt, Mr. Illitch really wants to win.  Love to have him back, especially since it’s not my money.

Drew Smyly – I really like Smyly better as the 5th starter vs Porcello at this point in their careers. I like the left handed pitcher in the rotation too.


Relief Pitchers

Rick Porcello –  Last year he had about 2 good innings and then the flood gates opened. Shows great potential and at this point I would love him in long relief because he has not learned how to be effective consistently in a whole game.  If he doesn’t get traded might I add.

Duane Below – Will be a good left handed long reliever for specific situations.

Al Albuquerque – Great slider and I love the way he pitches.  Will be a great guy to have, will get a chance to pitch in some big situations. 

Octavio Dotel – Great guy who can pitch in any situation; close, set up man, or any other.

Bruce Rondon – Young pitcher who has been hugely rumored to be the closer.  I am not a big fan of having young players in the closer position.  I see it in his future from what I’ve heard about him but the closer has to be a guy who is has incredible mental toughness.

Joaquin Benoit – Set up guy, struggled with giving up home runs last year but hopefully he will get it back this year.

Phil Coke – A lot of people may disagree with me but I loved what I saw in the playoffs last year and he has the mental toughness and the bulldog mentality that you need in a closer.  Another guy that came in the Granderson deal that makes the Tigers huge winners.


I love their pitching staff, they have some young guys with talent that will have to prove themselves and they have veterans who know that they deserve to pitch in the league.  I think that the Valverde loss is a big one. I was in the minority being a supporter of him, but I really enjoyed the closer who has the highest save percentage and the most saves in in the league over his tenure with the Tigers, the last 3 years. 

Papa Grande did struggle in a few games last year but it seemed like everyone was on his case the previous year when he did not blow a save in 49 opportunities.  Tigers fans have never liked closers, from Todd Jones who was a pretty good closer in his career to Fernando Rodney who has great stuff and showed last year that he is a great pitcher .  Last year Valverde blew 5 saves all year which isn’t bad when a fan realizes that 15 relief pitchers blew 5 or more saves last year, including All Star Aroldis Chapman.  I agree with the Tigers getting rid of him because there is no possible way that Valverde could have pitched effectively with most of Comerica Park booing him when he is coming in.  I think it’s best for Valverde too because I would never want to play for a city that boos me every time I come in to play.  I am excited to see what Leyland does with the closer position.  It seems that every one wants Rondon to become it.  I am weary that if he struggles in the first part of the season that Tiger fans will become anxious and boo him.  He could become one of those players who never recover from underperforming in their rookie season and can’t recover in a less than supportive atmosphere.  I would prefer Coke because of the way that he carries himself and I think his mental toughness is perfect for a closer.


Feel free to comment and tell me your ideas.  This is my opinion and I would love to hear yours too.  Make sure to follow me and read the other articles about the World Baseball Classic, the Tigers and many more to come.


~ Benjamin Brown


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About brown4bd

I am currently enrolled at Central Michigan University. I am obtaining my Bachelor of Applied Arts degree in Sports Studies (Sports Management), with a Minor in Marketing and an Endorsement in Athletic Coaching. I am looking for an Internship over the summer so I can develop my career and improve my business skills to become a well educated and skilled member of the business community.

10 responses to “Detroit Tigers Projected Pitching Staff”

  1. Big John Stud says :

    How far does the Ilitch money train go? Can they really sign JV and Max? Both will be looking for 5+ years and 100+ million. Would love to have them both, but money may be a factor.

    Love Smyly as the 5. Gives a nice Right Left long relief pitching combo in Porcello and Below. Would love to see Big Al get a chance as the SU guy down the road. If they have Coke as the closer, they need another lefty out of the pen in my opinion.

    Spring Training is right around the corner. Go Tigers!

  2. brown4bd says :

    Yeah thats why I was surprised they gave that much money to Sanchez… Or even Prince but I can see that more because of the Motown Connection with his dad… I could see them signing JV and Fister maybe but Mr. I keeps on throwing more money out there because he definitely wants to see a WS winner before he dies… It would be amazing if they got to keep their top 4 but that seems highly unlikely…

    Who do you wanna see as the closer?? It does seem like Rondon is going to be it from all the stuff I have been reading… I’m a little nervous about it but I think him and Big Al are going to be the go to guys a few years down the road, which is also exciting… I could see Big Al going into the set up guy role right after Benoit is gone… I also thought that they should have picked up another lefty relief guy so they could put Coke as the closer…

  3. Big John Stud says :

    Yeah I want Coke as the closer. Have Rondon close in AAA and pick up a lefty relief pitcher. Then if Coke isn’t cutting it, bring Rondon up and at least he will have more experience closing. I believe Cokes best spot on this team is closer. He is not a starter and he does great in tense situations. Would love to see him sprint in from left in the 9th.

  4. Alex Brown says :

    Good incite Mr. Brown. You know your Tigers. Look forward to your thoughts on this team as the season unfolds. Keep up the good work.

  5. jtrainjaymzm says :

    Do you feel like the Tigers shoul have made an effort to give Brain Wilson a shot for the closer role? Maybe even have made an attempt at Ryan Madson even though was out last year due to injury?

    • brown4bd says :

      Brian Wilson is a great closer and Ryan Madson is a good one too… In my opinion with the injuries that they had last year I would have been scared me away… The closer role takes a very special person to fill it, I believe that it is the most mental position in all of sports… If they are not fully confident in their arms then it could all go up in flames… You never truly know what a person is thinking so they could just be saying that they are confident to get a shot again…

      Wilson would have definitely wanted a lot of money and probably for more years because he has been a highly proven player… I think that Soriano was going to be the best shot out of any closer to come into the Tigers situation… Madson would have been my other favorite option if Soriano didn’t come… He is a pretty good closer and would not have wanted as much money as Wilson, so there is less of a risk if he fails with almost as much reward… The Angels were pretty careful about his contract, with only 3.5 guaranteed and then 500K bonuses for 45, 90, 135, and 180 days on the roster if he stays off the DL with a right arm injury… They also have a 250k bonus for 35, 40, 45, and 50 games that he finishes… I’ve been hearing that the Tigers and their scouts feel extremely confident in Rondon, it still does make me nervous putting a rookie at the closer role… I still feel that Coke is the best option and we’ll see what happens in Spring Training…

      Thank you for commenting…

      • jtrainjaymzm says :

        I would have given Wilson a offer with incentives, if he didn’t want it, I’d walk. Anything is almost better than Valverde. Except probably chad qualls! i would have thrown brad lidge something simple and an invite if he was good enough, thats because I like him. I’m not confident enough in Soriano, he’d be another Fernando Rodney…

  6. Alex Brown says :

    It would be nice to have confidence in a closer year after year wouldn’t it? The closers role in Detroit lately reminds me of the Red Wings goalie situation in the late 80’s-early 90’s with Cheveldae and Hanlon and guys like that who would get chances but once they messed up the fans were all over them. Hopefully Rondon can take the reins, if not Coke will be ready.

    • brown4bd says :

      That is correct, Alex… People expected Valverde to save every game, which he did in 2011, and a lot of “fans” still hated him… Not every one is Mariano Rivera, even though Valverde had a higher Save Percentage with the Tigers than Mariano does in his career or over the last 3 years… (And I just have to clarify that yes I know that Rivera was hurt last year lol)

      Valverde’s time with the Tigers he had 26, 49 and 35 completed saves in 29, 49, and 40 attempts… That’s 110 out of 118, 93%… That’s pretty good… Rivera had 33, 44, and 5 saves completed while 38, 49 and 6 opportunities… That is an 88%, which also isn’t bad, even if you take out the year he got hurt in it would still be an 88%… And no I am not saying that Valverde is a better career closer, I am just saying that his time with the Tigers Valverde was up there with the GREAT closers… He was the best closer in the league during his tenure with the Tigers…

      • Alex Brown says :

        The worst thing Valverde could have done for himself he did, going perfect in a regular season. You can’t possibly match that over and over in the majors. It’s like when Chris Shelton had that April he had, everyone expects you to play like that all the time and you just can’t.

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