Popular consensus on this–the week that officially turns the calender to 2015–is that the Detroit Tigers are no longer the clear frontrunners for the AL Central crown.
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One Cleveland writer shatters the hopes of Indians fans hoping their team can clinch their first divisional title since 2007 by saying despite what some may thing, the Tigers are still the class of the division.
Next up we look at Ian Kinsler. The second baseman provided a spark for the team in the first half, even earning an All-Star bid, however his offense was nearly nonexistent in the second half, thought his glove was still tremendous all year long. For the Tigers to win their fifth straight divisional title, they will need a wire-to-wire strong effort on each facet of Kinsler’s game.
Finally, despite the Tigers trading for Yeonis Cespedes and seemingly closing roster competition in the outfield, they will need another reserve outfielder. That probably will not be Steven Moya, but rather Tyler Collins.
MLB predictions for 2015: Detroit Tigers will win fifth straight AL Central title – Paul Hoynes, Cleveland.com
"When GM Dave Dombrowski traded Prince Fielder after the 2013 season, people wondered who would protect Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez answered he question with his best season ever and J.D. Martinez, signed as a free agent after Houston released him in late March, did the same.This offseason free agent Torii Hunter signed with the Twins, but the Tigers acquired Yoenis Cespedes to keep the middle of the lineup strong in case Cabrera is slow to recover from major surgery on his right ankle.Detroit’s starting pitching doesn’t look as good as it did in the past. They traded Rick Porcello to Boston to get Cespedes and so far have failed to re-sign Max Scherzer. In deals with the Yankees and Reds, they acquired starters Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon to fill the holes in the rotation."
Detroit Tigers Need Another Strong Year From Ian Kinsler – Brad Faber, Rant Sports
"Kinsler, who is under contract through 2017 with an option for 2018, will turn 33 years old in June. It is generally agreed that a baseball player’s prime is between the ages of 27-32, so that might be something worth keeping in mind as well. It should also be noted that the Tigers may not be quite as deep in the department of middle infielders after trading players such as Eugenio Suarez and Devon Travis.Furthermore, Torii Hunter, who was a very effective No. 2 hitter for the Tigers in each of the past two seasons, has now departed, leaving the team with a bit of a problem at the front end of the batting order. Obviously, Kinsler is likely to continue batting first or second, but the issue of who will make up the second half of the 1-2 punch remains a bit of a question mark."
Tyler Collins seems a front-runner to make Tigers roster – Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press
"Collins, 24, hit .263 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs at Triple-A Toledo last season. He had a cup of coffee with the Tigers in September and provided a big punch to their American League Central title with a game-winning pinch-hit single over the Royals on Sept. 20, which put them three games ahead with a week to play.“We think Collins is ready to play,” Dombrowski said in October. “We like Collins.”The Tigers figure to have 13 position players on the roster for Opening Day.After adding Gose and Yoenis Cespedes to the fray, all but one is accounted for. Hernan Perez picked up two more positions this winter — first base and outfield — and seems destined for the super-utility role served by Don Kelly."