By: Kurt Snyder
I would like to put a capper on the week’s analysis of the Kansas City Royals. It’s mainly because I am tired of talking about them and of course, it’s the end of the week.
We have drawn all the comparisons, discussed KC’s philosophy and aggressive approach to the game and of course the Tigers and whatever their approach is and where it needs to be in the future.
So we know the plan right? We know the needs. Pitching and outfield help. But I would like the Tigers to narrow their focus of team improvement to one area and one area only.
The Tigers will indeed be a better team in 2016 just by filling their pitching needs, both in the rotation and the pen. As far as the outfield goes, if they just sign Davis and run him out to left for another year, it will buy us time.
Rajai holds underrated value to this team. It’s really quite funny how at the end of a long season, people forget how important his role was for the Tigers. He jump started the offense on many occasions with his speed and I would have no problem beginning the season with him in left, even if it’s in a platoon with Tyler Collins.
Any real upgrade in left can wait. There isn’t going to be any big bopper like Cespedes brought in to fill the void anymore. That’s just no longer in the cards. It’s no longer in the bank account. Almost every dime should go towards arms and a JD Martinez extension.
If the Tigers acquire solid pitchers who fit, keep them in games and win, there is enough offense to carry them.
I would be much more comfortable at the trade deadline if the Tigers felt they could put themselves in a position for a playoff spot by adding an outfield bat, with no additional pitching required. It’s a tall order for sure, but aren’t we due for things to fall in place for a change?
After he smartly fills two (at least) critical needs in the starting rotation, Avila must concentrate on a different approach, at least for the Tigers, to filling the bullpen holes, which appears to be his intent.
Studying the success of other potent bullpens has revealed an approach that consists of taking pitchers who had been starters with good arms and putting them in late inning bullpen roles where they can excel more than they did as starters.
There are so many starters out there who have the ability to throw 95 mph fastballs but can’t throw them deep into games. There are starters out there who have good enough stuff to fool hitters the first time through the lineup, but their success rate thereafter hits the skids. So it’s going to be interesting what we end up with and how successful we will be in pumping some energy into that pen.
So I can’t yell at Al just yet. I intend to give him a shot at figuring this out. He is considering a different and maybe less expensive approach to improving the pen because he must realize that the pieces we choose for the rotation will be far from inexpensive.
It’s just a shame that our pitching situation has become so dire; because if this team was in better shape on the mound, a versatile but expensive Ben Zobrist would be a tremendous acquisition. He would allow the Tigers to unload Castellanos for some more pitching!
It’s quite the vicious circle isn’t it?