Detroit Tigers Free Agent Evaluate: Left-hander reliever Matt Strahm
Whenever the season starts, the Detroit Tigers will need left-handed reliever help. We look at Matt Strahm, a low-risk, high-reward option.
When the MLB lockout started back in December, we pumped the brakes on individual free agent pieces for the Detroit Tigers to consider. However, with the negotiations starting up again on Monday, we looked at a few arms that could help either the starting rotation or the bullpen.
Today, we look at left-hander Matt Strahm, who pitched for the Padres for four seasons. Currently, the Tigers have Tyler Alexander, Gregory Soto and Miguel Del Pozo on the 40-man roster. Alexander may start the season in the rotation and Soto is the projected closer.
Turning to the minors as far as left-handers relief help is concerned, Jared Tobey, Max Green, and Gabriel Sequeira, an undrafted signing in 2020 who Chris Brown highlighted a few weeks back as he had one of the highest K per 9 rates in the system. Tobey and Sequeira have not pitched above A-ball, which leaves a void of left-handers who could step in if there is an injury.
Why should the Detroit Tigers consider Matt Strahm?
The injuries to Strahm are extensive, going back to his time in Kansas City. Inflammation in both his left and right knees, a right and left patellar tendon pair, all in his time in the majors so far as a starter and reliever. He pitched only 10 innings last season between Triple-A El Paso and the Padres.
Because, when he is healthy, he can command the strike zone. As a starter in 2019, he walked just 22 in 114 innings pitched while striking out 118 with a BB/9 of just 1.73.
He throws a slider, changeup, sinker, curve, and a four-seam fastball according to Statcast. Teams hit just .169 against his curve in 2019 as it generated a whiff% of 24.4 and is one of his go to pitches that can generate movement and spin. The way he sequences his changeup can allow him to change eye levels, which is on display against the Yankees in this clip from 2019.
With the ability to start and pitch out of the bullpen, the Tigers should look at Matt Strahm as a low-risk, high reward signing. He would add a different look to compliment Soto.