The Detroit Tigers roster, both the 25 man and the 40 man are pretty set. Spring Training could start tomorrow (I wish it was starting tomorrow) and the Tigers would be fine.
However, there are a few question marks and some moves that could still happen at some point in January that will alter this team and any move made should be seen as an immediate improvement for 2012 and that is all. It may be a move that in the long term will not help the team but, for the second straight year, its World Series or bust for the Tigers.
It was January 26th of 2012 when the Tigers made the Prince Fielder signing, seemingly out of nowhere, so with Dave Dombrowski and Mike Illitch working together, it is hard to predict what exactly will happen, but here are some things that could happen in the coming weeks:
- Brennan Boesch traded, possibly to the Mariners, possibly packaged with Johnny Peralta for an upgrade defensively at Shortstop.
- Brian Wilson signed, despite continued statements that Bruce Rondon has the ability and stuff to close, Wilson is a veteran that would upgrade the pen and offer another, possibly better, option at closer.
- Trade for a full time Left Fielder. Despite Andy Dirks success in 2012 when healthy, Dombrowski and Leyland seem reluctant to give him the full time role in Left and even seem to question his ability to platoon with a righty and there is no free agent options left available, as Delmon Young is the best OF available…and we know that isn’t happening.
- Signing Scott Hairston to platoon with Andy Dirks. Hairston had an OPS of .867 against Lefty pitching in 2012 and at 32 probably won’t find too many teams looking to give him an everyday job.
- Rick Porcello or Drew Smyly traded, either individually or packaged together with Boesch and Peralta for a major upgrade at SS or in LF. I am not sold on the need to trade either of them, as both Doug Fister and Max Scherzer spent time on the DL last year so keeping both protect the rotation from injury.
- Both Porcello and Smyly and Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia and two other minor leaguers traded to the Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. This is pretty much a pipe dream but Dombrowski works well with the Marlins, they are listening to offers for Stanton and want a TON for a yet to turn 23 year old that has 93 career home runs already and is under team control for 5 more years…If the Marlins make a move it is probably for better players than the Tigers have in their farm system. Trading for Stanton would provide the everyday Leftfielder but add another bat to a line up more in need of defensive upgrades than offensive ones…but you can’t blame Dombrowski if he were to go and get a player as valuable as Stanton.
Those are all possibilities and one, two or zero could happen. The team could do nothing or come out of nowhere with something to either upgrade the bullpen or Shortstop.
No matter what they do, they should be considered the favorites in the AL Central again, looking to win 95 games. Anything less, if a fully healthy year from all the usual big contributors, should be considered underachieving.
Once the playoffs start, anything can happen, so even though winning the World Series is the goal, it can change quickly in the playoffs. But it starts now by setting the roster for success.