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Thursday, December 24, 2020

Detroit Tigers sign RHP Jose Urena to one-year, $3.25 million deal

The Detroit Tigers’ 2021 rotation continues to take shape as the team added a veteran starter in right-hander Jose Urena on a one-year, $3.25 million deal.

A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed the signing to the Free Press on Wednesday, and the Tigers later announced the move.

Urena was non-tendered by the Miami Marlins earlier this month after six seasons in the big leagues and five starts in 2020.

“Once José became available, we had him identified as a player that could come in and help our ballclub win games,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a released statement. “We’re excited to add his experience pitching at a high level, and know he’ll contribute to our young staff in significant ways. José has a great ability to navigate a lineup and limit damage, while keeping his team in the game, which is exactly the stability we’re looking for heading into the 2021 season.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 24, 2020 at 10:10 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jose urena, tigers

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   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 25, 2020 at 09:36 AM (#5995925)
The final piece.

EDIT: Urena is 32-46 for his MLB career (including 4-13 the last two years) with a 86 ERA+; out of the 103 pitchers from 2015-20 with at least 90 starts, that ranks 98th. So, yeah, he'll fit in real well in Detroit.
   2. CFBF's Results are Certified Posted: December 25, 2020 at 11:54 AM (#5995930)
On the other hand, Urena did once bean Ronald Acuna for the crime of being young and good, so he's had his brushes with greatness.
   3. TJ Posted: December 25, 2020 at 01:05 PM (#5995935)
Great. I had hopes my beloved Detroit Tigers would take vantage of this promising non-tender market and sign some young guys with upside who would still be improvements over what they have. Kyle Schwarber, Hansen Alberto, and Archie Bradley topped my list. Instead we get Jose Urena...

Avila wants stability for his pitching staff? Sign Bradley for two years, since nothing will help the development of the young pitching prospects like a solid bullpen that doesn’t blow leads. Sign Schwarber for two years. He would be an improvement over Cristen Stewart, extend him if he bounces back and move him to DH once Miggy’s gone in two years. Sign Alberto for two years, put him at second base, quit fooling around with Niko Goodman and make him the super utility guy that he is, and stabilize second base since they did not re-sign Jonathan Schoop. The Tigers could get all three for the money they are saving from the ending of the Jordan Zimmermann nightmare contract and not going after Schoop and CJ Cron from last year. If they don’t want to keep them for two years, all three would make good trade chips if they rebounded in 2021, especially Bradley. Instead, we get Jose Urena...

It’s gonna be a long winter around here...
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 25, 2020 at 03:44 PM (#5995961)
Avila wants stability for his pitching staff? Sign Bradley for two years, since nothing will help the development of the young pitching prospects like a solid bullpen that doesn’t blow leads.
I’m...skeptical about the notion that having better relievers will make young starters pitch better. Give them a better W-L record, maybe, but actually developing into better pitchers? Doubtful.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: December 25, 2020 at 04:22 PM (#5995968)
out of the 103 pitchers from 2015-20 with at least 90 starts, that ranks 98th. So, yeah, he'll fit in real well in Detroit.

You answer the question "why Urena" right there. Over a 5+ year period, only 103 pitchers with 90+ starts, not quite 3.5 per team. There've been 26,100 scheduled starts in that time frame and those 103 probably made less than half of those. Rather than "98th out of 103", Urena is probably in the top half of starters once we account for the ability to take the mound. He's obviously much, much closer to out of baseball than he is to Gerrit Cole but Detroit 2019 used 23 starts from Jordan Zimmermann (69 ERA+) and 46 starts from 8 different pitchers who, give or take, look to be around a 75 ERA+. Detroit will be far from alone in that sort of performance.

actually developing into better pitchers? Doubtful.

Certainly evidence would be good but having a decent bullpen might make a manager less likely to push a young starter those extra 2-3 batters as well. But that would be an issue with the manager.

   6. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 25, 2020 at 04:42 PM (#5995969)
Urena is probably in the top half of starters once we account for the ability to take the mound.

Well, yeah. But the main reason he's gotten all those starts is the fact he's played his whole career for the dumpster fire that is the Marlins. (Yes, he did manage to win 14 games in 2017, but with a FIP of 5.20, so even if he could return to that form it wouldn't be worth very much.) The point is, throwing $3.25MM at a spare part like Urena is not exactly going to set the club on a path to glory.

It’s gonna be a long winter around here...

If you think the winter will be long, just wait 'til next summer...!
   7. Walt Davis Posted: December 25, 2020 at 09:58 PM (#5996003)
Nobody's suggesting he's "good." But in 2019, there were 137 pitchers with 10+ starts and an ERA+ of 85 or better. That's nearly 5 per team but still seems to slot Urena in as a solid #5. Of those 137, 101 made it to 20 starts and once again we're back at the idea that a guy who's a good bet for 20-30 starts even at a 85-90 ERA+ is a good bit rarer than we might like and so a useful guy to have around. The other piece is the 40 guys with 10+ starts and an ERA+ below 85. There were another 33 guys with 5-9 starts and an ERA+ <= 90. (All ERA+ are full-season so include relief -- the relief outings were probably more likely to help than hurt the season ERA+ but you never know.)

The potential value of a Urena is keeping those 73 guys (and all the guys with 1-4 starts, ec.) off the field as much as possible. It is obviously true that at any moment, Urena will become (could even already be) one of those 73 guys. You'd rather be a good enough team that this guy is your 6th or 7th starter and I'm open to the notion that $3.25 seems a bit much but if he can eat up 120-150 innings without being terrible, he'll be worth it for a team like the Tigers.

I see the Tigers moved Norris, an average SP to that point, and moved him to the pen in 2020 where he did well. Is that a permanent move?
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 26, 2020 at 10:15 AM (#5996015)
Instead, we get Jose Urena...


Who else was going to be in the rotation this year? If this keeps them from rushing their prospects, its probably a fine signing. You can always move him to the pen if the young arms are ready. If you're a rebuilding team looking to fill out a rotation, this is a much better gamble than signing 34-year old Ivan Nova.
   9. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: December 26, 2020 at 05:43 PM (#5996055)
Nobody's suggesting he's "good."

Nobody's suggesting he's even tolerable, not for anybody...except the Tigers, of course. It's moves like this that proves that nobody in the entire Detroit organization knows an effing thing about running a baseball team. If I was an owner and my GM had just wasted $3.25MM of my money on Jose G@ddamned Urena, I'd have him (a) fired and (b) horsewhipped, not necessarily in that order.

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