Detroit Tigers Pitching Prospectus

Joe UnderhillCorrespondent IIIOctober 25, 2008

The success of the Tigers in the offseason will be judged on how they fix their bullpen and starter issues.

Based on what the Tigers' manager Jim Leyland has said, only Justin Verlander and Armando Galarraga have spots guaranteed in the rotation. The Tigers have to figure out what to do with Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Wills who will both receive a big pay day next year.

There is a good chance either Robertson or Wills will end up in the 'pen. The big question for the Tigers is whether or not Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya will be healthy. Dave Dombrowski has already said the Tigers will not be big spenders, so pitching help may have to come from within.

It is doubtful the Tigers will resign Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth did not pitch well giving up home runs and had an ERA of 4.48 this year. Booby Seay and Freddy Dolsi will most likely be back as will Aquilino Lopez and Clay Rapada. The Tigers may also have some help coming from the minor leagues next year. 

One minor league player who will have a shot at making the Tigers roster out of Lakeland is Casey Fien. Fien had a combined 2.82 ERA and struck out 59 in 59 2/3 innings and was third in the Tigers minor league system with 13 saves. Eddie Bonnie and Chris Lambert will also have an opportunity to head north with the Tigers.

Looking at the Mud Hens season statistics it looks like Blaine Neal should have an opportunity to make the big league club. Neal was 1-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 26 saves in 37.1 innings. Fien was the top reliever at Erie.

There are not a lot of quality arms available in free agency. The Tigers will need their young pitchers to step up and help the parent club.