The Tigers have optioned right-hander Spencer Turnbull to Triple-A Toledo and recalled right-hander Alex Faedo, per a team announcement. Faedo will start today’s game against the Cardinals.
A second round pick in the 2014 draft, Turnbull made his MLB debut in 2019, struggling to a 6.06 ERA in 16 1/3 innings of work. He would become a regular in the Tigers rotation the following season, however, making thirty starts and posting a roughly league average 4.61 ERA with a solid 3.99 FIP in 148 1/3 innings during the 2019 season. His results continued to improve in 2020, when he posted a 3.97 ERA and 3.49 FIP over 11 starts during the pandemic-shortened campaign.
Turnbull appeared on the verge of a true breakout in 2021, as he had posted a dazzling 2.88 ERA (148 ERA+) in 50 innings across the first nine starts of his season. Unfortunately, Turnbull’s 2021 campaign came to an end prematurely when he underwent Tommy John surgery in July. Turnbull missed the entire 2022 season rehabbing, and returned to the mound as a member of Detroit’s rotation to open the 2023 campaign.
Turnbull has struggled mightily to this point, however, with a 7.26 ERA that leaves him 40% worse than league average by measure of ERA+ and a 5.65 FIP that provides little consolation. Even more worryingly, Turnbull has managed just 31 innings across those starts, pitching into the sixth inning just twice while failing to make it out of the fourth inning three times. Manager AJ Hinch confirmed to reporters, including Chris McCosky of The Detroit News, that Turnbull’s inability to pitch deep into games so far this season was a factor in his demotion. Per Hinch, Turnbull will be tasked with finding the consistency to execute all his pitches during his time in the minors going forward.
Turnbull’s departure creates room on the active roster for Faedo, the club’s first round pick in the 2018 draft. The 27-year-old Faedo made his MLB debut last season, posting a 5.53 ERA with a 4.62 FIP in 53 2/3 innings of work over 12 starts. While Faedo’s results at the big league level last year certainly left something to be desired, there’s some reason for optimism given his excellent results in the minors since his return from Tommy John surgery last year. In 33 2/3 minor league innings since then, Faedo has posted a 2.14 ERA with a 38.2% strikeout rate. Faedo joins Eduardo Rodriguez, Matthew Boyd, Michael Lorenzen, and Joey Wentz in the Tigers’ rotation, though it’s not currently clear if Faedo is simply up for a spot start or will get a longer look as the club’s fifth starter.