There will be 31 pitchers reporting to Lakeland on Feb. 12; at least 20 of them could be candidates for one of six open bullpen jobs. This feels more like a job fair than the start of spring training, but that’s what you get when a new manager (Ron Gardenhire) and new pitching coach (Chris Bosio) inherit the worst bullpen in baseball. “These guys are young and hungry,” Bosio said last weekend during TigerFest. “They are eager to learn. The want-to is there. They love to compete. They want to win, but they know it’s going to take some time.” Just sorting out the pieces will take some time. Bosio has studied film and pored over the scouting reports, but with a few exceptions, he has yet to see these guys in the heat of battle. So, these pitchers are all starting with a clean slate and Bosio almost literally is starting the evaluation process from square one. “A lot of the things these guys have I had as a young player,” Bosio said. “The willingness to get better. The willingness to fight, compete and be the last guy standing. We have that. But collectively, it’s our job as coaches to get them better and to teach each other.” Let’s start with the known quantities (this won’t take long). Shane Greene enters the spring as the closer. There isn’t anybody even pushing him for the role at this point. “We have the right guy closing right now,” right-hander Alex Wilson said. “Greeney’s stuff is unmatched on our team, as far as pure stuff. He’s going to be a great closer for a long time.” But being a closer on a rebuilding team can be a fruitless job. Bosio and Gardenhire will have to weigh the pros and cons of saving their best bullpen arm for save opportunities that may or may not come with any regularity. Beyond Greene, though, nothing is secure. Wilson would certainly be at least penciled in as one of the late-inning set-up men. He has been a multi-role mainstay the last three seasons. But Wilson has asked for and been granted the opportunity to compete for a starting role.
Sorting out Tigers bullpen will have feel of job fair
Detroit News | Feb 1