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Detroit Tigers: Potential Victor Martinez Replacements

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Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (50) is congratulated by third baseman Casey McGehee (31), outfielder John Mayberry Jr. (64) and shortstop Mike Aviles (14) after hitting a grand slam during the second inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Bryan Holaday (50) is congratulated by third baseman Casey McGehee (31), outfielder John Mayberry Jr. (64) and shortstop Mike Aviles (14) after hitting a grand slam during the second inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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Hopefully Victor Martinez doesn’t need to go on the disabled list, but if he does, here are some names the Detroit Tigers could consider.

At this point for the Detroit Tigers, the plan isn’t exactly to get injured with Opening Day just around the corner. However, that’s what has befallen Victor Martinez. The veteran designated hitter is currently dealing with a hamstring strain.

In a recent article by Lynn Henning in the Detroit News, manager Brad Ausmus was quoted as saying “’It’s a possibility,’ Ausmus said when asked Tuesday about chances Martinez might need a stint on the disabled list. ‘I don’t think it’s probable.’”

While that’s good news, the fact that Martinez could go on the disabled list creates a potential scenario where a replacement is needed.

Given that the designated hitter’s injury doesn’t seem like a long-term ailment, the team is probably unlikely to add a player from outside the organization if Martinez misses any time.

Should V-Mart miss any time, here’s how the Detroit Tigers could potentially fill the roster spot.

Steven Moya

Perhaps the most tailor-made replacement, Moya could thrive as a designated hitter, as well as a pinch-hitting option off the bench. The outfielder has certainly put himself in contention of a roster spot with a torrid Spring Training that has included four home runs, eight RBI and only five strikeouts in 13 games. Moya’s batting average over that span is a robust .360.

The fact that the 24-year-old can serve as extra depth for Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez in the outfield corners is a positive as well.

Tyler Collins

Like Moya, Collins fits as either a corner outfielder, pinch hitter or designated hitter.

Additionally, the 25-year-old brings more value on defense than Moya, and is more experienced than both Moya and Wynton Bernard in the outfield.

Collins ended last season on a tear, hitting .293 with 13 RBI over the last month of the season. He’s continued to produce this spring with a .313 clip and a team-leading three triples in 16 games.

Of all the candidates on this list who play in the outfield, Collins is the probably the best all-around choice.

Wynton Bernard

Rounding out the outfield portion of the list is Wynton Bernard. While the speedy outfielder hasn’t hit for the same high average in Spring Training we are accustomed to seeing from him in the minors (.300 career minor league hitter), Bernard brings value on the base paths and on defense.

While a .259 batting average isn’t anything to write home about, it shows that the outfielder can hang in there in tougher situations.

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Casey McGehee

Despite a few defensive gaffes at first base, McGehee has been superb for the Tigers at the plate. The former Milwaukee Brewer has hit .323 with seven runs scored, six RBI and six walks (compared to just three strikeouts) in 17 games.

He’d fit in nicely as a pinch hitter that can occasionally spell Miguel Cabrera or Nick Castellanos in the field.

Bryan Holaday

One of the better stories in baseball so far in Spring Training, Holaday has torn the cover off the baseball to the tune of a .448 batting average in 14 games. What’s more, he is also one of the team leaders in other offensive categories, ranking second in total hits (13), doubles (three) and RBI (14). The veteran catcher is also tied with Moya and J.D. Martinez for the team lead in home runs with four dingers.

With James McCann and potentially Jarrod Saltalamacchia standing in his way where a roster spot is concerned, Holaday has played some other positions—most notably third base and left field— to improve his chances of making the team.

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An Extra Pitcher?

The Tigers could easily carry an extra pitcher on the roster into the regular season. Kyle Ryan, Bobby Parnell and Buck Farmer have all pitched well this spring, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see any on the roster come Opening Day.

Ryan has been particularly excellent, holding batters to a .111 batting average while posting a 1.13 ERA in eight spring innings. Like Ryan, Parnell has been one of the better pitchers on the team, thanks to a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings pitched. The last name on the list, Buck Farmer, has posted a 3.00 ERA in nine innings during Spring Training, holding batters to a .235 batting average.

For more Detroit Tigers Analysis, check out our Detroit Tigers analysis hub page.

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