The Tigers rotation is full of young talent, but they want to add a veteran presence
Taijuan Walker spent the latter half of the 2020 season helping the Toronto Blue Jays make their first playoff appearance since 2016. Walker’s record, a 2-2 mark with a 4.17 ERA, is good enough to make meaningful starts for most teams in a regular 162-game season, hence the interest from around baseball for a cheap, veteran innings-eater.
The Tigers are just one of these teams. Detroit would like to add Walker to a rotation filled with young talent. Both Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are likely to start next season in the rotation. Both have plenty of work to do in Spring Training to improve upon up-and-down first seasons. Having Walker in camp, both as a mentor and a reliable back-end option, makes a lot of sense for the Tigers.
Would Walker downgrade from a contender to a team a few years away?
For the right cost, yes. The Tigers are a team on the rise, and after hiring AJ Hinch they have some sway in the free agent market. Yes, Hinch was a rather large part of the Astros sign-stealing scandal, but he’s also known as a players’ manager and has experience on a World Series winning team.
The Tigers are improving thanks to an impressive farm system which is sure to produce even more MLB-ready talent this season. Matt Manning and even Spencer Torkelson could make their MLB debuts in 2021. Reinforcements are on the way in MoTown, and the right combinations of veterans and elite young talent could help Detroit catch up to the likes of the White Sox — who are slightly further along in their development — in the AL Central.