Detroit Tigers Spring Training Roundtable: Best Offseason Acquisition
By Ben Rosener
After a busy offseason, the Detroit Tigers are back. With Spring Training under way, the staff at Motor City Bengals look at which move the team made in the winter was the best.
Rejoice readers, baseball is back! Glorious baseball will now dominate our lives from now, pretty much until October and November.
If all goes to plan, the Detroit Tigers will still be playing at that point. I don’t want to say the obvious in fear of jinxing it.
While playoff baseball is potentially on the horizon, what’s in the news as of late is a little thing called Spring Training.
The Tigers are back after a highly successful offseason in which many (this site included) believe will significantly improve the team’s prospects next season.
Detroit’s offseason was filled with a number of shrewd and potentially successful moves. See if you agree with our staff in terms of what was the Tigers’ best offseason move.
Jordan Zimmermann. Although I’m torn between JZ and Justin Upton, JZ got the party started. The excitement began to build as soon as the announcement was made. If Zimmermann was not signed, it is likely that Upton would not have been signed. While Zimmermann is not David Price or Max Scherzer, he is a complete pitcher that is a valuable addition to the rotation. Once the Tigers made that first move, the rest of the pieces had to be filled because there is no reason to spend big money on a pitcher if the rest of the team stinks. As a Tigers’ fan, I’ve only watched video of JZ pitching. He’s got serious stuff and it will be exciting to see him in the Old English D.
Justin Upton. It was tough not to go with fellow marquee signing Jordan Zimmermann, but Upton has a chance to post some monster numbers with the Tigers. Hitting in a stacked batting order should benefit the outfielder, who is generally forced to carry his team on offense. Upton won’t have to do that in Detroit, as he will likely hit second, fifth or sixth. With the pressure off, the former first-overall pick could put up massive numbers.
In his nine-year career, Upton has eclipsed the 25-home run mark four different times. He’s also driven in 100 runs (2014) and stolen at least 18 bases five different times. Given the player’s potential, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him surpass those marks.
Since 2009, the outfielder has averaged a 3.2 oWAR per season. Hitting around Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez will do wonders for the four-time All Star.
I have to go with Jordan Zimmermann. I love the protection and extra thump Justin Upton brings to the lineup, but the Tigers are desperately in need of quality starting pitching this season. Verlander showed during the second half of last season that he’s still got some juice left in the tank, and you have to believe that Anibal Sanchez is going to bounce back at least a little bit. Other than that, we’re left with a first time full-time starter in Daniel Norris, and Mike Pelfrey, a guy who has terrible career numbers (1-4, 5.91 ERA) at Comerica Park. Zimmermann was a necessary acquisition, whereas Upton falls into more of the luxury category.
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Mark Lowe and Justin Wilson: Upton and Zimmermann are the easy answers, but they were not the most significant upgrades. Upton was basically a one-for-one trade for Yoenis Cespedes. Zimmermann along with a healthy Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez will attempt to fill the void left by David Price.
The Bullpen. Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann were huge additions to the lineup. However, the biggest acquisition this offseason was the bullpen. Yes, I know it isn’t one specific player but the addition of Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Wilson, and Mark Lowe will be huge for the Detroit Tigers. The one thing that is truly missing for the Tigers is a bullpen and they finally made one that looks to be successful. Coming off a couple very solid seasons, Mark Lowe will be a great addition of talent and experience for a less than stellar bullpen. Justin Wilson was huge for the New York Yankees last season and will be an even bigger part of the bullpen this year. Coming off a great season with the Yankees, Wilson should be very confident and will be a great younger part of this rebuilt bullpen. Last, and most definitely not least, Francisco Rodriguez has finally nailed down the closer spot. Rodriguez has had a fantastic career and will hopefully lead the Tigers revamped bullpen to a World Series.
Next: Bobby Parnell Stats to Know
Was best acquisition Zimmermann? Upotn? Perhaps one of the relievers? Maybe another player entirely? Tell us what you think and join the conversation on Facebook and/or Twitter.
Also, check back in with Motor City Bengals each day this week for more roundtables on everything Spring Training for the Detroit Tigers.