Inbox: Will Tigers add another starting pitcher?

Beat reporter Jason Beck fields questions from Tigers fans

January 15th, 2018

First inbox of the new year. Pitchers and catchers officially report to Spring Training four weeks from Tuesday.

The Tigers appear less likely to add another starter than they did before the holidays, though maybe that changes if the free-agent market continues to move slowly and they can snag an experienced starter on their terms to provide some competition for youngsters like and Matthew Boyd. The problem is finding a veteran who would accept something other than a guaranteed spot. As for relievers, the market has not been moving in their favor this offseason. Even the bigger-name bounce-back candidates have a decent chance to find opportunities on teams closer to contention, evidenced by 's deal with the Brewers earlier this month. One advantage the Tigers have is new pitching coach Chris Bosio and his reputation for working with such hurlers.
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Farmer might be forced into a relief role by his contractual situation. He's out of Minor League options, so if he's going to start, he's likely going to have to win a rotation spot out of Spring Training. What the Tigers could do is let him compete for a rotation spot in camp, then shift to a bullpen role if he doesn't win one.

Labourt's fate is directly tied to his command of the strike zone. He vaulted up the farm system last year because he cut down his walk rate, boosted his strikeout rate and reduced his wild pitches. But he walked 23 batters over 22 innings at Triple-A Toledo, then yielded seven walks and five wild pitches over six innings during his September stint in Detroit. Then he walked four batters over three appearances in the Dominican Winter League, recording just two outs.

Labourt turns 24 in March, so there's still time for him to find more consistency with his command. And if he does, he has the chance to be an intriguing power-lefty reliever, which is why he was selected for the Futures Game last year. But he needs to prove it before he earns the trust to work meaningful situations out of a big league bullpen, even on a rebuilding club.

Yes. The Tigers said in a late-September statement that they were working on a plan to extend the netting at Comerica Park. I haven't seen any specific details just yet.