Detroit Tigers: Unanswered Questions in the Roster


The Winter Meetings proved to be successful for Al Avila and the Detroit Tigers. The pitching rotation is stocked and the bullpen has been completely overhauled. Despite work done in the meetings and prior to them, it still seems like something is missing.

Apr 26, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins right fielder Sam Fuld (1) slides into home plate safely before Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (50) can make a tag in the fifth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest questions revolves around the outfield. J.D. Martinez and Anthony Gose have proven themselves in right and center and they are both under team control. Cameron Maybin has traditionally played centerfield and his right-handed bat will be a perfect complement to Gose’s left-handed one. This leaves Tyler Collins as the everyday left-fielder. Unless he is making serious strides in the offseason, he does not seem like the option that Tigers would rely upon.

After Yoenis Cespedes was traded at the deadline in 2015, Tyler Collins and Rajai Davis took turns in left field after Cespedes was gone. Of the two, Davis was more successful with a .982 fielding percentage. Collins had a .955 percentage. He finished the 2015 season with a 0.1 WAR. It seems highly unlikely that the Tigers will let Collins manage left field on his own. Davis is currently an unsigned free agent who is currently not in discussions with the Tigers.

The other question has to do with the roles of Bryan Holaday and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Since James McCann will most likely start where he left off at the end of the 2015 season, there is no need for a pair of backup catchers. Holaday had limited experience behind the plate in 2015, but with 62 games under his belt in 2014, he ended that season with a WAR of -0.5. Saltalamacchia has more experience in the major leagues, but his 0.8 WAR in 2015 was not much better than Holaday’s in 2014. It is clear that McCann cannot catch every single day, so one of the two catchers will need to fill one of the roster spots.

Lastly, the Tigers have a deficiency in the batting order with left-handed batters. At this point in the offseason, Gose is a left-handed batter, while Victor MartinezAndrew Romine, and Saltalamacchia are switch hitters. Young players, Tyler Collins and Steven Moya are also left-handed batters. All of the infielders are right-handed.

Next: Why Is Bruce Rondon Still a Thing?

Now that the holidays are approaching, the trades and free agent signing have quieted. Rumors continue about the Tigers and Cespedes, but Al Avila continues to deny them. With the amount of money that Mike Ilitch has already invested in the 2016 team, it seems silly to have the outfield weakness and limited left-handed batters. With these evident weaknesses, fans can expect that Ilitch and Avila have something in the works.