Contribution by: A. Fletcher
New Tigers for 2014:
Brad Ausmus – Manager
Important Spring Training Dates:
Pitchers and catchers first workout – February 14
First full squad workout – February 18
First spring training game – February 25 vs. Florida Southern Mocs
First spring training game against MLB team – February 27 vs. Atlanta Braves
Now with only three weeks left before the first workout of the year for the Tigers, we can officially get hype for baseball. Welcome back… After an upsetting end to last year’s playoffs, as Tiger’s fans, we have a reason to look forward to next season. Looking at some of the moves that the organization made, it’s interesting to say the least. Will they work out? Who knows.
Some notable roster additions are that of Joe Nathan and Ian Kinsler. Some people may disagree with me, but I think Ian Kinsler is the most exciting out of these two. I know the closer role has been a circus for the Tigers for the past couple of years, but the lead off position has been a big ? since before Curtis Granderson was filling that spot. Detroit has not had a lead off hitter, in the true sense, for a long time. Is Kinsler a “true lead off hitter”? Not really, but he is a much better option than Austin Jackson, who looks to be very comfortable in the bottom of the lineup. Kinsler’s OBP numbers are consistently good which is what Detroit has lacked. On the other side, this guy can do serious damage in the middle of the lineup with multiple 30+ home run seasons. I personally, cannot wait to see what this guy can do. At $67 million for five years, with a $5 million buyout in the last year, we will see if it’s worth all of that…
Having a true blue closer will be very refreshing as well. Coming off of a 1.39 ERA, 43 Save, and 10-runs allowed season. To compare, Mariano Rivera had a 2.11 ERA, 44 Saves, and allowed 16 runs, Nathan will most certainly be a breath of fresh air. Nathan will most likely be a part of the plug for our sinking ship of a bull pen. With Drew Smyly probably starting this season, the pen will need all of the help they can get. I can handle $29 million over 3 years, if he can remain an elite closer.
Nick Catellanos, will probably not work out. I have this feeling that we will be looking for a new third baseman come the end of the first quarter of the season. If he was half as good as the hype that he had years ago, we would have seen more of him during the Tigers multiple mid-season whoas. He will have a minor league contract that is bought out, so in my mind it’s just a cheap experiment.
The interesting addition of Rajai Davis adds some depth to our outfield. I think this puts a bit of pressure on Andy Dirks as well. I think Rajai could take that left field job quickly if Dirks doesn’t come out swinging. I am of the small group of people that think Rajai Davis is hands down better than Dirks. He is a proven major leaguer who is an asset more so on the base paths than in the field. He is fast, aggressive, and CAN STEAL a god damn base when he pleases. He had 46 steals last year, and 45 in 2012. That is an element that we just have not had on this team. The 2 year, 10 million dollar contract may be just about right if he ends up starting a lot of games.
In lieu of Jim Leyland “retiring”, the organization hired former Special Assistant to Baseball Operations for the Padres, Brad Ausmus as head coach.?.?.? Very weird hire if you ask me. I don’t have any comparable’s or any outlook on this guy because he has ZERO dugout management experience. It is downright scary to think the Tigers wanted him to manage a team with World Series possibilities. I am guessing by the end of spring training, V-Mart and Miggy will be running this team. Dude could be a bust, or could be gold. Another wait and see…
Before Season Prediction:
Detroit is looking for a new manager for 2015 season after this year.
Spring Training Expectations:
Alex Avila has a monster Spring Training = another dud season.
Someone will emerge from the farm and earn a spot on the bench, hopefully Don Kelly’s spot.
I imagine that we will see Miggy dominate, yet again.
Until next time.