Lorenzen looking for ‘growth mindset’ in helping Tigers’ pitching rotation

Detroit News

By the end of the season, the Detroit Tigers’ pitching rotation looked a lot different than the group that started the season. Injuries decimated the pitching staff, and while they were relying on several of their young prospects at the beginning, they were just trying to get through the end of the year intact.

Tarik Skubal, Beau Brieske, Alex Faedo and Casey Mize were among the pitching prospects who finished the season on the injured list, part of the reason for the Tigers’ dismal finish.

Improving the staff was a priority for new Tigers team president Scott Harris, and after signing Matthew Boyd for a return engagement, the Tigers added some veteran depth to the rotation, bringing in right-hander Michael Lorenzen on a one-year deal worth $8.5 million.

Lorenzen, who turns 31 next month, was a converted starter with the Angels last season after spending seven years with the Reds, where he was mostly a reliever. With the Angels last season, he posted an 8-6 record and had 85 strikeouts in 97.2 innings, along with a 4.24 ERA. Following a shoulder issue that kept him out for two months, Lorenzen had a strong finish to the season.

While the Tigers didn’t make the big splashes that some other teams made in free agency, Harris is confident in his moves, which might prove to be effective without being as costly.

“Yeah, we feel great about our rotation right now. We added two quality starters with tremendous upside in Michael and Matt — and we feel like we added a third starter in Spencer Turnbull, who hasn’t been around all that much lately, but he has as much upside as anybody,” Harris said Tuesday, in introducing Lorenzen. “The days of just building a five-man rotation and letting them run through 162 (games) I think are long gone. So, we know we’re going to need contributions from a lot of the young starters that are coming up through our system.

“I think adding Michael gives some of those guys a little bit more time, if they need it. We’re not saying they definitely need it, but if they do, we feel very good about the veteran presence in our rotation. We feel very good about the young starting depth that we have coming up and we feel great that this coaching staff is going to get the absolute most out of them.”

The Tigers’ rotation to start next season appears to include Eduardo Rodriguez, Matt Manning and Turnbull, along with Boyd and Lorenzen. The added depth means that Tyler Alexander, who had 13 consecutive starts from late July to the end of the season, can make a transition to the bullpen.

Lorenzen is confident in the changes that Harris and the Tigers are making within the organization and he’s looking to be one of the main catalysts to help turn things around. With the Tigers’ changes to the coaching staff and a renewed focus on analytics, improvements could come sooner than later.

“Baseball is in a spot to where some organizations are a little behind, and some organizations are leading the way, and I think Detroit is gonna get to the point to where they’re leading the way, and you can see that with the coaching staff that they’ve assembled, with Scott coming over from San Francisco,” Lorenzen said. “For me, that’s exactly where I want to be. I’m all about growth mindset and getting better each and every day, so I want a group of coaches around me that are going to support me in that pursuit to get better each and every day. I feel like this coaching staff is definitely gonna be able to do that.”

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