The Detroit Tigers have issues in the outfield. The club has had a terribly difficult time adjusting to a post-Austin Jackson defense, and with Torii Hunter no longer in RF, Detroit has a table set, but no entrées to serve.
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Looking at the team’s current situation, the outfield looks bleak. Essentially, there is Rajai Davis, Anthony Gose, and J.D. Martinez. Of course prospects Tyler Collins and Steven Moya are banging on the minor league doors waiting for another chance, but neither of those two are ready for full time Major League roles.
That leaves Martinez, Gose, and Davis as the most likely trio for Opening Day 2015. To put it simply, a starting outfield consisting of those three is worthy of sitcom laughs.
In 2014, the Tigers caught a gigantic break with both Rajai Davis and J.D. Martinez. Until 2014, Martinez had been nothing but a player who never lived up to expectations. Nobody could have predicted he was going to hit 23 HR’s in 2014. There’s also the possibility Martinez could be a flash in the pan and never be able to recreate his 2014 campaign.
Rajai Davis brought more to Detroit than anybody ever thought, hitting .282 with 27 doubles. But up until 2014, he was a glorified bench player, and Davis off the bench is more ideal for Detroit than Davis on the daily lineup card. Though he’s a speedster, Davis’ fielding is sometimes unbearable to watch.He won’t go ten feet within a wall and takes questionable routes every time a ball is hit in his direction.
Gose, whom was recently acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, is a nifty fielder but a .226 BA in 94 games with 74 strikeouts and just 25 walks in 239 at-bats (courtesy of Robert Macleod) is not going to cut it. Much like Davis, Gose is more suited for a bench role or a platoon.
The Tigers basically have one quality outfielder in their possession at this point in time.
Enter Yoenis Cespedes…
The 29-year-old Cuban product brings the bat and outfield defense Motown so badly craves. With his presence in Detroit, this would mean that Martinez could take RF duties, Cespedes in LF, and possibly a Gose/David platoon in CF. It’s an almost automatic fix as Cespedes would bring stability, and serve as a centerpiece in the Comerica Park confines.
Somebody has to make up for the loss of Torii Hunter’s offensive production, and with 22 HR, 100 RBI, and a .260 BA in 2014, Cespedes would make up for Hunter and much more. Granted, it would be nice to see that average come up a little bit but his power makes up for it. An above average fielder, Cespedes led AL outfielders with 16 assists. There have been rumors regarding the Boston Red Sox trading Cespedes to Detroit, and it would be incredible if those rumors became fact.
According to the Detroit Free Press:
"His (Cespedes) on-base percentage isn’t great — .301 last year, .316 for his career — but he provides power, can run and would improve the Tigers’ defensive outfield, which has suffered recently."
With the acquisition of Cespedes, the outfield would improve immensely in terms of defense, and the lineup would get a nice offensive upgrade. He brings a solid bat that consistently produces, and let’s face it, a lineup consisting of Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, Victor Martinez, and Yoenis Cespedes is of championship caliber.
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