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Who Will the Detroit Tigers Replace Max Scherzer With?

Max Scherzer has reportedly signed a seven-year $180-plus million deal with the Washington Nationals. (Getty Images)

With the loss of Max Scherzer and spring training right around the corner, the Detroit Tigers’ time to settle their pitching rotation is running out.

Scherzer signed with the Washington Nationals, agreeing to a deal believed to be for seven years and more than $180 million. That leaves the Tigers with at least one question mark in their starting rotation moving forward–unless they make a move.

The Tigers’ starters look like this at the moment:

  • Justin Verlander
  • David Price
  • Anibal Sanchez
  • Alfredo Simon
  • Shane Greene

Two Newcomers

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The first three names are ones familiar to Tigers’ fans. The other two, not so much.

The Tigers picked up Simon in a trade this offseason. He’s a bit long in the tooth at 33 years old, but the right-hander is coming off a career year: He went 15-10 with a 3.44 ERA for the Reds in 2014. That was his first season ever as a full-time starter, and he was voted to the NL All-Star team.
Detroit also picked up the 26-year-old Greene this winter. The right-hander went 5-4 with a 3.78 ERA in his first season with the Yankees last year, including eight shutout innings versus the Tigers.

A Prospect

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There’s also a kid in the Tigers’ farm system who could vie for starters’ innings.

Kyle Lobstein, 25, made his major league debut for Detroit last season. The lefty went 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA in seven appearances, including six starts. He’s obviously still a little raw, but the Tigers could eventually work him into the rotation, as they did briefly in 2014.

Another Trade?

There’s also the possibility general manager Dave Dombrowski makes another move to shore up starting pitching. In fact, a recent report suggests
the Tigers have been in contact with free agent ace
James Shields.

Getty Images

Now that Scherzer has signed with the Nats, Shields is the premiere pitcher on the market. He’s 33 years old, but is coming off a great season with the Kansas City Royals. He went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA, and it was the eighth straight season he threw 200 or more innings.

The Tigers obviously have some money to work with now that Scherzer is gone, but will they use it on a pitcher who is probably past his prime? The Tigers were reluctant to give a 30-year-old Scherzer a long, expensive deal, so don’t count on them changing their tune with Shields (who has reportedly already been offered a five-year, $110 million deal).

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