Despite only being 3 games out of the American League Wild Card, the 2015 Detroit Tigers are looking towards next season.
By trading David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria for prospects, General Manager Dave Dombrowski made up his mind that the Tigers could not win it all this year, however are in a rare position that a complete “rebuild” is not necessary. So, he is calling it a “re-tool”, and knows how close this team is from being great again.
With arguably the games best hitter in Miguel Cabrera, along with Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, Jose Iglesias, as well as the possible resurgence of Justin Verlander, the pieces are there for Dombrowski to fill the holes that were obvious this season.
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Here are five players Dombrowski should target this upcoming winter (if he resigns himself) that would put the 2016 Detroit Tigers as favorites for next year:
- Johnny Cueto (RH SP) – Theres no question the Tigers will be spending some money this offseason, its just a matter of who they decide to give it to. Last year’s acquisitions of Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene haven’t worked out so great. so the Tigers will for sure be looking for and arm, and who better than the current Kansas City Royal whose contract is done at the end of this season. Cueto has held his season ERA under 3.00 every year since 2011, and shows no signs of slowing down at 29 years old. Along with being from the Dominican Republic like a majority of current Tigers, Cueto is a great fit to the top of the Tigers rotation.
- Darren O’Day (RH RP) – The 32 year old Baltimore Orioles set-up man is available at the end of this season, and the Tigers need to pay him whatever he wants. Desperately needing a reliable arm in the bullpen, O’Day is a side-arm thrower whose been virtually lights out since 2012. This season in 41 appearances, the 8th inning man has a 1.35 ERA and a .95 WHIP, which is far better than any reliever in the Tigers bullpen all season. Despite only having 10 career saves, the Tigers could use him as a closer.
- Jason Heyward (OF) – Heyward has been somewhat of a disapointment since coming up with Atlanta in 2010. St Louis traded for him this past offseason hoping maybe a change of scenery may bring out his full potential. For the most part, Cardinals management was right again. Heyward is having a stellar 2015, batting .289 with 9 home runs. At 25 years old, Heyward still has a long career ahead of him and would look great roaming the outfield at Comerica Park.
- Doug Fister (RH SP) – The Tigers dont just need one starting arm, they need two. Who better than the return of almost every Tigers fans favorite former player, Doug Fister. Fister was traded to the Nationals back in 2013 for prospects that never worked out with Detroit. One of those players in the deal is playing well in Robbie Ray, however he now pitches for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Fans will never completely forgive Dombrowski, but maybe bringing back the 6’8″ righty will help. Fister is having a bit of a rough 2015 with a 4.50 ERA, which might bring the price down a bit to something the Tigers would be willing to pay.
- Tyler Clippard (RH RP) – Recently traded to the Mets to help their playoff run, Clippard could lock down the ninth inning if the Tigers get him and O’Day. Also having a rough 2015 in some ways, Clippard has shown is potential to be an every day closer before, when he closed 32 games in 2012 for the Nationals.