Detroit Tigers and the Rumor that Just Won’t Die
Could the Detroit Tigers be playoff contenders in 2016? Of course. If the players can avoid health issues and injuries, they have an outstanding chance. The team has nearly every piece of the batting, pitching, bullpen relieving, and defensive playing puzzle in place – except for one. That one missing piece is left field and the rumors surrounding it continue to swirl around one name: Yoenis Cespedes.
Come on, Mike Ilitch. What are you waiting for? Sign Cespedes. And, can you do it before TigerFest? Please.
Now that Alex Gordon signed with the Kansas City Royals, Cespedes’s name continues to pop up in the rumor mill about the Tigers front office conversations. He is not the only remaining outfielder available for 2015. Justin Upton is also unsigned. But, Upton’s name pops up in rumors surrounding the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, and other teams – not the Tigers. The other big-name outfielder who is still available is Dexter Fowler; but as a centerfielder, he is not of interest to the Tigers.
Upton has a solid record playing both corners for the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. During his nine years in the league, his fielding percentage of .972 is below the league average of .982. In his four seasons all over the league, Cespedes has a .981 fielding percentage. Upton’s 24.7 WAR is significantly higher than Cespedes’s 15.8; but, the men do not have the same amount of years in the league. Cespedes earned his first Gold Glove this year while Upton has received a pair of Silver Slugger awards. Upton’s career averages at the plate are .271/.352/.825. Cespedes career averages of .271/.319/.805.
The biggest difference between these two players is the fact that the Detroit Tigers and fans are familiar with Cespedes, who has played in the AL during the majority of his career. Upton has not. We, the fans, have seen what Cespedes can do and this fan wants to see more of it in Detroit on a regular basis.
Cespedes keeps popping up in the rumor mill because he could easily fill a gaping hole in the Tigers defense. Even though he only spent a few months with the organization, fans spent money to watch him play (including this one). Once he was sent to New York, his absence was glaring. Tyler Collins and the other players who were just band-aids in left field did not heal the wound that the Cespedes trade caused.
Of course, Cespedes’s occasional wild swings and questionable plate discipline will pop up as an argument as to why he should not be re-signed in Detroit. But, anyone who has watched him perform in left field and watched his power at the plate cannot deny that he is one of the best in the business. If Mike Ilitch and Al Avila add him to the roster, it is safe to say that they will fill more seats and bring in more revenue for the team.
Reports outside of the Detroit market are getting in on the Cespedes rumors. ESPN’s David Schoenfield is predicting a Cespedes signing in Detroit. Nick Cafardo with the Boston Globe is also predicting a Detroit-Cespedes pairing. Our sister site Detroit Jock City is also discussing the rumors surrounding Cespedes and the Tigers. For what it’s worth, I’m going to agree with them and make the bold prediction that Cespedes will be back in Detroit, too.
Next: Detroit Tigers Watching the Outfield Market
Come on, Mike Ilitch. What are you waiting for? Sign Cespedes. Please. And, can you do it before TigerFest?