Detroit Tigers: Never a Bad Time to Add Depth

Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers J.D. Martinez (28) receives congratulations from shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) after he hits a pinch hit home run in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 3, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers J.D. Martinez (28) receives congratulations from shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) after he hits a pinch hit home run in the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Detroit won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers players are continuing to play excellent baseball. Even with the Tigers in the pennant chase, it is never a bad time to build depth.

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has seen the month of August come and go, with Erick Aybar serving as the team’s only trade acquisition. While the Tigers can still make trades in September, the acquired player wouldn’t be able to compete as part of the team’s playoff roster.

Despite that fact, there opportunity remains to find a potentially useful player for future seasons.

Teams around the league, Detroit included, are expanding their respective rosters with the calendar having turned to September. Many franchises will turn to their respective 40-man as a source of reinforcements, but some are calling up players who require a roster move.

Because of this, there are a number of players becoming available after being designated for assignment.

The likes of Reymond Fuentes, Nick Tepesch, Ben Paulsen have all been designated for assignment as of late. While none of the players are perfect fits for the Tigers, it shows that quality can potentially be found on the waiver wire.

Fuentes is a former top prospect who, along with Anthony Rizzo, was one of the centerpieces of the deal that sent Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. 

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The 25-year-old is a .291 career hitter at the Triple-A level and posted a .317 batting average in 13 games for Kansas City this season. He’s stolen 236 bases between the Majors and minors.

Meanwhile, Tepesch is only 27 and made 39 starts for Texas from 2013 to 2014. Paulsen put together his best Major League season in 2015, hitting .277 with 49 RBI, 42 runs scored and 34 extra-base hits in 116 games. He can play in the outfield and at first base.

Any player Detroit potentially claims likely won’t make too much of an impact this season, but it’s worth a look with some players to build depth for the future.

Players like Fuentes, Tepesch and Paulsen would be excellent options to stash at the Triple-A level.

Some of baseball’s best franchises are constantly building depth in the minors. Teams like the Cubs and Dodgers are taking fliers on players to fill out their respective Triple-A rosters. Eventually, some of those players are promoted to the big league club and contribute.

Recent Examples

The Tigers themselves have found and called up some useful depth pieces.

Casey McGehee, Dustin Molleken, Logan Kensing and Alex Presley were all brought in on relatively minor transactions. All four have played a part for the Tigers this season.

Detroit has previously found success in the past in terms of picking up players in minor deals. J.D. Martinez, Blaine Hardy and Al Alburquerque weren’t the most headline-grabbing additions to the Tigers organization, but all three evolved into dependable contributors.

Truth be told, the Detroit Tigers likely aren’t going to find another J.D. Martinez on the open market. However, it isn’t out of the question that the team could pick up a potential bench cog or a bullpen piece for future seasons.

Next: What Roles Will Boyd, McGehee and Moya Play Down the Stretch?

Major League Baseball teams can never have too much depth, and the Tigers have a chance to add some for the future while still pushing for a World Series at present.