Detroit Tigers Links: Collins, Lakeland forever

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Before traded for Yoenis Cespedes, the Detroit Tigers claimed they were comfortable with their outfield.

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The team seemingly was excited to have Tyler Collins and perhaps Steven Moya compete for a starting job in Lakeland this spring, however those plans changed. While Moya seems to be still a year away and may need a little more seasoning in Toledo for 2015, Collins is a legitimate candidate for the Opening Day roster for the second straight year.

Finally, the Tigers spring home will be that was for the foreseeable future. With teams regularly bolting Florida for the more geographically friendly Arizona, Detroit is one of the few MLB franchises to show commitment to a city. 2015 will be the team’s 79th in Lakeland. A new deal signed between the club and city ensures they will be there for at least 100 years.

Joker Marchant Stadium will undergo a drastic makeover, and receive a new name, after next Spring Training, forcing the Single-A Lakeland Flying Tigers to play somewhere else for a year.

Tigers’ Tyler Collins primed to battle for last OF spot – Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press

"He appears to be the front-runner for the fifth outfielder spot.“No question that’s the goal,” Collins said by phone from Ft. Worth last week. “That’s where you want to play and play for a long time. So, I feel like the sooner I’m going to get there, the sooner I’m going to be able to plant my roots and help somebody win a ballgame.”Collins, 24, hit .263 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs at Triple-A Toledo this past season. He began and finished the year with the Tigers.“The first time around,” he said, “I was kind of getting my feet wet. And I felt like that stint in September was more of like a second wave. I was much more comfortable then, and I felt like I could just go play baseball then.”His season highlight was a pinch-hit RBI single in a win over the Royals on Sept. 20 that put the Tigers three games ahead in the American League Central."

Tigers in on Shields? Then don’t rule out Scherzer – Tony Paul, Detroit News

"Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski has said all offseason he was happy with his starting pitchers, and he wasn’t looking to make any other moves.Of course, he said this before the Tigers dealt away Rick Porcello to Boston.And he said it again Thursday, ahead of Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi report Friday that the Tigers have had discussions regarding free-agent pitcher James Shields. Morosi couldn’t detail the level of interest other than there was some.Shields, 33, who pitched with the Royals, is the second-best free-agent pitcher remaining.No. 1, of course, is Max Scherzer, whom the Tigers offered $144 million for six years last spring. He said no then, and Dombrowski wouldn’t say last month whether that offer still was on the table.That said, the fact there’s interest in Shields should tell you all you need to know about the Tigers."

Detroit Tigers Approve New Contract – Christopher Guinn, Lakeland Ledger

"Advance work on the stadium will begin after the 2015 season and will need to be completed before the Tigers take the field in 2017. The majority of the costs will be borne by state and county funds, pending state approval. The Tigers will contribute $530,000 per year over the contract, adjusted for inflation, and the city will pick up $190,000 per year.Tinsley said despite losing the name, Marchant’s legacy will be better preserved in the final product.“Not just preserved but enhanced,” Tinsley said. Currently, “there is no good treatment of his history. Very few people other than our old Lakelanders know who Joker Marchant is. … Both the Tigers and us are not happy with the way we have preserved or maintained his history.”An Alabama native, Marchant moved to Lakeland to attend Florida Southern College and took a job at the municipal swimming pool in 1927. Joker earned his first name through reputation, then had it legally changed to make it official."

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