Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
I could make a long answer long, or I could make a long answer short, so I'll take the latter route. The answer is yes, the Tigers absolutely need another starting pitcher. There can be varying degrees of what level of starting pitcher this individual is, from someone that would be a legit #4 or #5 starter, on down to someone that would come on the cheap with serious question marks attached, likely health-related. But ultimately, the point is clear, the Tigers have question marks in the back half of their rotation, and if Plan A doesn't pan out (a very realistic chance), you're basically pinning your hopes on a top prospect that struggled in his 2010 cameo or being forced to make a trade in a time period where everyone will be looking for pitching help (like always).
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There's two distinct sides to this question for me. I believe the Tigers need another option for the starting rotation this year, and I think that means they need to go out and sign one or trade for an alternative. That said, I'm not sure they can really do it logistically. If you go out and sign a couple of veteran reclamation projects, you either have to be willing to cut bait with them at the end of spring training, or you have to sign guys versatile enough to give it a go in the bullpen. Most of the guys you are going to sign are going to be out of options, and you won't have the ability to just send them to the minor leagues. The same situation exists with one of your current candidates in Armando Galarraga. The Tigers have options with internal candidates such as Andrew Oliver and Charlie Furbush, and if they aren't ready, they can go to the minor leagues. They've also signed some potential options as minor league free agents, led by Chris Oxspring, who will come to camp without a big league roster commitment, and therefore little challenge of finding space for him should you want to keep him. So while I believe the Tigers do need another viable and/or experience option for the rotation, I'm not sure the mechanics of roster management will allow them to go out and bring that option on board.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think they do. As of now, Phil Coke and Armando Galarraga stand to be the fourth and fifth starters, which is somewhat unsettling. Coke is making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation, which is something he hasn't done since 2008 when he was a Yankees farmhand. Also, the most starts he made in the minors was 21, and the most innings he has ever pitched was 135 2/3, so there is an unknown as to how he'll hold up as the innings pile up during the season. After his near-perfect performance against Cleveland, Galarraga won only two games the rest of the way, and although his overall numbers were decent, he would counter one good stretch of outings with a string of equally bad ones, so it would be nice to get some consistency from that spot. Galarraga also went six or more innings in just 11 of his last 21 starts (keep in mind Rick Porcello matched that number in his last 14 starts), and when you're regularly not getting deep into games, that puts a lot of pressure on the other starters to not tax the bullpen. With spring training looming on the horizon, I wouldn't be surprised if Dave Dombrowski either signed someone, or swings a trade if the opportunity presents itself to upgrade the rotation.
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