Detroit Tigers Spring Training Roster Review Week One
By Tom Zahari
Mar 8, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers second basemanIan Kinsler
(3) is congratulated by managerBrad Ausmus
(7) after he scores during the first inning against the Houston Astros at a spring training baseball game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Detroit Tigers do not have much competition for Opening Day starting roster spots through Spring Training. After the first week of Spring Training, the Tigers look to have their starting rotation set, almost all of their starting lineup set if Miguel Cabrera is ready for Opening Day, and are looking to fill a couple of bench an bullpen roles.
Here is the way the roster breaks down now:
Locks: David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Shane Greene, Alfredo Simon.
Some would say that Alfredo Simon’s spot in the starting rotation is up for grabs. Since this article is about the roster itself and not where each player will perform, he is a lock. Simon may end up in the bullpen at some point this season, but he should at least start the season in the starting rotation.
Locks: Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, Tom Gorzelanny, Bruce Rondon, Al Alburquerque, Joba Chamberlain
Competing for spots: Kyle Ryan, Kyle Lobstein, Blaine Hardy, Ian Krol, Buck Farmer, Alex Wilson, Josh Zeid
The bullpen is pretty well set in the back end at the moment with room for one more left hander and one more right hander on the roster. Gorzelanny is going to be the Tigers’ primary lefty, but he has had reverse splits for his career so the Tigers need at least one more lefty in the bullpen. Ryan, Lobstein, Hardy, and Krol are competing to win the last spot on the Opening Day roster for a lefty. That lefty will probably be sent down before the end of April for someone else, but it’s still important to make the Opening Day Roster. As of now, I would deem Hardy and Ryan the favorites with Krol in third. I believe Lobstein is going to Toledo to be a starter this year and will be called up as needed.
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The same situation faces the last righty spot in the bullpen. Farmer, Wilson, and Zeid are all trying to take the last bullpen spot, but there is a chance none of them make the roster. The Tigers may take two lefties to start the season, especially with Gorzelanny’s reverse splits. Zeid and Wilson are more likely to make the team than Farmer, but the final decision depends on the rest of Spring Training.
Locks: Anthony Gose, Rajai Davis, Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, J.D. Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Avila, Nick Castellanos, Jose Iglesias
Competing for Spots: James McCann, Bryan Holaday, Hernan Perez, Andrew Romine, Tyler Collins, Jordan Lennerton, Aaron Westlake
There are four possible competitions for the last few position spots: backup catcher, backup infielder, 5th outfielder, and first baseman who will be sent down after Miguel Cabrera is healthy.
James McCann will be given every opportunity to make the club out of Spring Training, because the Tigers want them on the roster to start the season. The Tigers will probably try a left-right platoon with Avila and McCann in 2015, but Holaday could still make a run at that roster spot.
Hernan Perez and Andrew Romine are competing to either be a backup infielder or take the “Don Kelly role” of overall utility man. Honestly, it does not really matter who wins this spot because any contribution either of these players makes in 2015 would be a bonus for the Tigers. Collins should beat both of these players out for the 5th outfielder spot, especially for his presence as a late inning bat off of the bench.
The Tigers will also probably use Lennerton or Westlake as a filler for Cabrera if he is not back in time for Opening Day. It will probably be Lennerton who gets the sport, as he has been getting more time during the first week in Spring Training, but Miguel Cabrera’s health will decide if either of Lennerton or Westlake make the club.
Next: Sparky Gose, comeback for J.V., feel good story of camp