DETROIT -- Lost in the anticipation of the Tigers' expected youth movement to come, the Tigers are two years removed from the youth infusion they underwent at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2015. Three deals, the last under former president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, brought in a half-dozen prospects.Four have spent
DETROIT -- Lost in the anticipation of the Tigers' expected youth movement to come, the Tigers are two years removed from the youth infusion they underwent at the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2015. Three deals, the last under former president/general manager Dave Dombrowski, brought in a half-dozen prospects.
Four have spent time in Detroit this year, while Jairo Labourt is at Triple-A Toledo with a potential future in the Majors. Luis Cessa was dealt for Justin Wilson after the 2015 season. Michael Fulmer is the one so far who has forged a secure spot in the Majors.
After Matthew Boyd's struggles Tuesday against the Yankees, along with a few relievers, manager Brad Ausmus made it clear: While youth requires patience, it only lasts for so long.
"The truth is with Matt Boyd at this point, he's going to have to learn to pitch or there's going to be a move made," Ausmus said after Boyd gave up seven runs over 2 1/3 innings. "I think it's best that he pitches against Major League hitters, sees if he can figure out how to get them out consistently. He shows flashes of having that ability. But at some point, he's going to have to do it on a consistent basis, simple as that."
Than Ausmus expanded his focus.
"That applies to everyone," the manager said. "This is a performance-based game, and if you don't perform, the game's going to catch up with you."
Boyd and Daniel Norris both finished last season strong, and they were two reasons why the Tigers took their bid for a postseason spot into the season's final weekend. Neither was able to carry that momentum into this season, though both have had solid stretches. And as the Tigers try to sort out their pitching staff for the stretch run and beyond, Ausmus -- whose contract as manager expires at season's end -- indicated nothing is guaranteed.
"Quite frankly, they're going to have to prove that they deserve to pitch in the big leagues on a regular basis going forward," said Ausmus. "Now, I don't know whose decision that will be a year from now, but they're going to have to prove that they can get Major League hitters out and throw strikes consistently.
"And that applies to the bullpen. These guys are getting an opportunity to pitch at the Major League level because of the situation that we're in from a standings perspective. You're going to have to throw strikes. You're going to have to get big league hitters out. It's not rocket science by any stretch."
While the Tigers are trying to restock their farm system with hitters, they have depth in pitching. Zac Reininger and Bryan Garcia have progressed from Class A ball to Triple-A this summer, and they could compete for big league spots at some point next year. Beau Burrows, Alex Faedo, Kyle Funkhouser and Matt Manning are seen by many as the foundation for a future Tigers rotation, and they occupy four of the top six spots on MLB Pipeline's Tigers prospect rankings. Burrows might not be far off, having strung together a stretch of solid starts at Double-A Erie this summer.
That wasn't part of Ausmus' message, but it fits with his point: At some point, the pitchers of the future become the pitchers of the present, or they end up in the past.
"At some point, there's an expiration date on how much rope you're given," Ausmus said. "I don't want to act like I'm putting pressure on people, but hey, this is the big leagues."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.