Enjoy MLB's Hot Stove League while you can because there likely will not be any movement, etc., after the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement on Dec. 1. It's a fact that owners are going to lock out players, which will essentially shut down the offseason. Some big-ticket free agents will wait until after a new CBA to sign with a team but some will prefer to get out ahead of that. The first major domino has fallen as the rising Tigers have signed Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and there is a lot of chatter out there that Detroit's next addition will be Astros All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa.
Detroit finished 77-85 this past season, its fifth straight losing campaign but it was one of the better teams in the American League in the second half. The team's 77 wins were a 28-win improvement from winning 49 games in 2019, the last 162-game regular season. The Tigers had the third-largest increase in win percentage for any MLB team over that span (.292 in 2019 to .475 in 2021). Detroit went 28-25 (.528) against teams that made the playoffs, which was the fifth-best record against those teams in the majors.
With a stacked farm system, it was common knowledge the Tigers were going to be one of the big spenders this offseason. The AL Central has one good team in the White Sox, while the Indians and Twins are trending down the Royals still rebuilding.
Detroit's rotation is really young – led by top prospects Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize and Matt Manning -- so adding the 28-year-old Rodriguez makes a lot of sense. He got a five-year deal worth $77 million.
The southpaw was 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 185 strikeouts in 157.2 innings this past regular season after opting out of the 2020 shortened campaign. Getting out of Boston might work wonders for him as Rodriguez had a 5.95 ERA at Fenway and 3.95 on the road. Among AL pitchers with at least 100.0 innings pitched, he ranked seventh in strikeouts per nine innings (10.56) and posted career bests in strikeout percentage (27.4), walks percentage (7.0), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.94), & FIP (3.32).
There is zero question that the Tigers will sign one of the five elite shortstops on the free-agent market and they have an "in" with Correa as Detroit manger AJ Hinch previously was Correa's manager in Houston. Correa, 27, hit .279 with 26 home runs, 92 RBIs, 75 walks and 116 strikeouts last season. He won his first Gold Glove at shortstop by posting plus-20 defensive runs saved.
"Carlos is a great player," Hinch said recently. "As a manager, when you move from team to team and you carry good relationships around, there's going to be that natural bond, that natural tie and that natural trust, to be honest. Obviously, shortstop is an area we've looked at."
Earlier this month the Tigers acquired veteran Gold Glove catcher Tucker Barnhart from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for infield prospect Nick Quintana. Currently, Detroit is +4500 to win the 2022 World Series.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Which team will sign Carlos Correa?
- Tigers +250
- Yankees +300
- Rangers +500
- Mariners +700
- Phillies +1000
- Twins +1400
- Cardinals +1500
- Astros +2000
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