The Detroit Tigers were supposed to have one of the best starting rotations in all of baseball. They still might eventually, and it is certainly hard to argue with David Price and Max Scherzer as a 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation.
From there, however, the Tigers find themselves with relative uncertainty. Anibal Sanchez is down with an injury. Justin Verlander is working his way back from a shoulder injury and has struggled this season to the tune of a 10-11 record, a 4.76 ERA, and a 6.7 K/9 mark that is way down from the Cy Young award winner’s usual standard.
Verlander is set to return to the rotation, but could the team consider eventually moving him to the bullpen? Jon Heyman of CBS writes that it might be a possibility:
A lot of things would have to line up for the Tigers to move Verlander to the pen for the playoffs, but some rivals don’t believe it’s so farfetched, citing another previous Cy Young winner, Tim Lincecum, who made the switch for the 2012 World Series, with glorious results.
Heyman then clarified that the move would only occur if and when the Tigers reach the playoffs, as they need all of the help they can get in their rotation during the regular season.
There is no thought to making the switch earlier. As one rival pointed out, the Tigers currently have issues in the rotation, with Sanchez now on the disabled list. Ultimately, the pen is surely the bigger issue, anyway.
The Tigers have a bunch of pitching issues to address and not much time to do so. If ever they have the versatility to move Verlander around, they might do just that to help the bullpen.