Tigers general manager Al Avila already has made his intentions known throughout the baseball community: He is open for business. And he may not wait for the Winter Meetings, which get under way Monday at Disney World, to start dealing. Avila and his staff have been hunting for veteran starting pitching (one, possibly two) and for a veteran reliever. The requirement — experience and durability. The stipulation — willing to accept a lower-end, one-year deal. “That’s no secret,” Avila said during the general manager’s meetings last month. “We are looking for pitching help, maybe a couple of starting pitchers. And we’re always looking for bullpen help. “But look around. There are 29 other teams here and they are all looking for starting pitching and bullpen help.” Obviously, Avila wasn’t about to tip his hand as to which pitchers the club is targeting. But, from various industry reports and interviews, it appears the Tigers have been kicking the tires on two starting pitchers in particular, both looking for bounce-back opportunities — right-handers Mike Fiers, formerly of the Astros, and Chris Tillman, ex-Oriole. Fiers, 32, was left off all three post-season rosters by the Astros last fall and was non-tendered by the club last week. He has averaged 167 innings over the last three seasons, with an enlarged 4.43 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. He was 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA in 2016 before falling out of the rotation last season (8-10, 5.22). Fiers yielded a career-most 32 home runs last season, but he also may have endured some bad luck. According to FanGraphs, his hard-hit rate was down 5 percent last season, from 35 to 30. Also, opponents’ batting averages were down on both his fastball (.247 from .332 on his fastball) and change-up (.244 from .281). Opponents his .211 on his curve ball, up from .192 in 2016.
Tigers considering SPs Chris Tillman, Mike Fiers
Detroit News | Dec 7