The Detroit Tigers aren't looking to compete in 2019. They are, however, looking to fill their rotation with cheap potential. The Tigers added Matt Moore with that in mind earlier this winter. On Monday they agreed to a one-year pact with Tyson Ross, reportedly worth $5.75 million:
Ross is coming off an all right season. He amassed a 93 ERA+ (about the league-average mark for a starter) and a 1.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 149 innings split between the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first time he'd thrown 100 innings since 2015 due to various injuries, including surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome.
Between Moore and Ross, the Tigers are essentially hoping for a higher-yield version of last winter, when they signed Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers. The latter performed well enough to inspire a late-season trade to the Oakland Athletics.
Of course, there are no guarantees here -- just as there were none last season. Moore's fastball has lost significant movement in recent years, and Ross is essentially a two-pitch starter with major durability concerns. It's possible both bust and the Tigers are removing them from the rotation well before the trade deadline rolls around. That's just part the game when it comes to small gambles. If Moore or Ross looked like obvious trade chips -- or obvious bounce-back candidates at all -- then they wouldn't have been available this cheaply to a non-contender.
We'll have to wait and see if the Tigers can coach and doctor 'em up in advance of the trade deadline. Given that they're buying in bulk, don't be surprised if at least one of them pays off.