Detroit Tigers: Breaking Down Bench Candidates
By Ben Rosener
As of now, Andrew Romine may be the Detroit Tigers top backup at each infield position. This makes him essentially a lock to make the team out of Spring Training.
Despite batting .236 with a 71 wRC+, the utility player still managed to turn in a 0.6 WAR that checked in ahead of Saltalamacchia, Aybar and Tyler Collins.
The 24-year-old could carve out a role as the backup to Jose Iglesias next season. Additionally, should Detroit’s starting shortstop end up being dealt before Opening Day, Machado would serve as a like-for-like replacement.
A slick-fielding defensive shortstop, the prospect has just as much defensive upside as Iglesias. He turned in a 0.2 WAR in just eight games (13 plate appearances) for the Tigers last season.
Omar Infante hasn’t had the best time since leaving the Detroit Tigers—at least from an offensive standpoint.
In parts of three seasons with the division-rival Royals, the veteran never turned in a wRC+ higher than 75. What’s more, his WAR in his final year in Detroit (3.1) far out-weighted his collective WAR (-0.6) with Kansas City.
He’ll obviously need to hit at a higher rate to crack the Tigers roster, but there’s upside considering Infante has experience at second base, third base and shortstop, as well as in left field and right field.
Similar to Iglesias and Machado, Brendan Ryan gives Detroit another defensive option at shortstop. The former Mariner has never hit much in his career, but he does bring value on the other side of the ball.
In limited playing time with the Halos last season, Ryan notched a 29.8 UZR/150. His career DRS total sits at 100.