Friday morning, the Tigers acquired RHP Shane Greene from the New York Yankees in a three team trade that sent LHP Robbie Ray and minor league 2B Domingo Leyba to the Arizona Diamondbacks. If you are not familiar with that trade, well then it would be my honor to direct you back to the BYB homepage to check out another article centered around the specifics of the trade! If you would like to know how Greene will fit into the Tigers' 2015 rotation, then this is the article for you.
As of today, the Tigers currently have Justin Verlander, David Price, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello under contract for 2015. With the acquisition of Greene, that gives Detroit a full five man rotation. Despite there being a lot of time until the season starts, Greene gives the Tigers a sense of assurance at the back of the rotation. There has been much speculation surrounding the Tigers trading one of their starting pitchers. The idea of trading Price or Porcello, and then proceeding to re-sign Max Scherzer to a longterm deal, has been making the rounds quite a bit in the last two weeks. While that is still possible, Shane Greene gives Dave Dombrowski a better fallback option in the fifth rotation spot than any minor leaguer that the Tigers have should he decide to make no more moves.
For the sake of argument, let's assume Dombrowski is done tinkering with the rotation this offseason. In terms of Steamer projected WAR, from best to worst, the Tigers' rotation looks like this going into 2015: Price (4.0), Sanchez (2.8), Porcello (2.5), Verlander (2.1), and Greene (0.8). Had Greene not been acquired, the options for fifth starter were not looking all too appetizing. Robbie Ray is projected to be worth -0.4 WAR next season, while Kyle Lobstein and Buck Farmer are right around 0 wins.
Shane Greene is no stud, but he will be a welcome addition to a strong Tigers' rotation. Greene is the type of acquisition that a team like the Tigers needed to make. He presents a better option as a fifth starter than any of the in-house options, but costs the same as any of them. Last year's opening day rotation featured Verlander, Sanchez, and Porcello, along with Scherzer and Drew Smyly. While the Tigers' 2015 opening day rotation will most likely feature a swap in the two final names, a full year of Price along with Greene in the five slot should mitigate much of the production lost in Scherzer and Smyly.
Of course, with the Winter Meetings coming up next week, everything I just wrote could be null and void should Dombrowski decide to trade a current starting pitcher to bolster another area of the team.