Despite adding talented prospect Austin Jackson to fill the void in center field when the Arizona/New York/Detroit deal goes through, there might be a need to add some a veteran to the outfield mix to create competition going into spring training. According to many knowledgeable baseball writers, Austin Jackson had an inside shot at winning the center-field job for the Yankees in 2010. Though the Tigers already have some options to man the middle of the outfield, it is unclear of who could compete for playing time at that position.
According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, Wilkin Ramirez will most likely not see time in center field. Ryan Raburn will play exclusively in the outfield and could find time in center. But everything suggests that he going to be the super sub forth outfielder that Jim Leyland has come to count on. According to Jim Leyland:
“We’ll keep him away from the infield. “We’ll just have him work hard in the outfield in spring training at all three positions.”
Clete Thomas would fit well in center defensively. He has the arm to play the position, and has excelled in a backup role. But is he an everyday player? Some would suggest he could handle the workload, but would has bat sink even more if he played everyday? In Major League action last season, Thomas only hit .240. He will definitely be given a chance to earn playing time in February. But could the Tigers be searching for a cheap option in the free agent market?
Or even possibly by trade? The Tigers added two players to the 40 man roster and will have to find ways to clear roster space. Add on the signing of Robinzon Diaz to the latest roster moves and you have to start to wonder what kind of moves will be made. Detroit could send Gerald Laird to a team needing catching help. The Tigers have reportedly already shopped Laird this off-season. So what are some good fits?
The Dodgers are looking to deal Juan Pierre and add a veteran starter. While the Tigers really don’t have their arm, they have the backup catcher that the Dodgers would like to add before the end of the winter meetings. Pierre has a monster contract, so that makes things harder to work with.
Here are some free agents that the Tigers could target:
There are other possible names, but these guys seem like the most likely free agents that would bring a mutual interest into coming to Detroit. You would think at this point that the Tigers would re-evaluate if Wilkin Ramirez could fill in part time at least for now. MCB will keep you updated on the center field position as rumors develop.