Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Richie Shaffer Could be Useful Bench Addition

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Mar 8, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) is picked off by the tag from Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Richie Shaffer (36) as he dives back to the bag during the eighth inning at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 8, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) is picked off by the tag from Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Richie Shaffer (36) as he dives back to the bag during the eighth inning at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers utility player Andrew Romine is one of the most versatile players in baseball, but the team could use another option to pair with the veteran. Richie Shaffer could be a fit.

Detroit Tigers fans have seen the team remake the bench this season. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Casey McGehee and Erick Aybar have all departed.

The veteran trio will likely be replaced by some combination of Alex Avila, Dixon Machado and Tyler Collins in 2017.

With Steven Moya, Mikie Mahtook, JaCoby Jones, John Hicks and Romine also in contention for bench spots, Detroit certainly isn’t short of options.

However, outside of Romine, the club is lacking a true utility ace. One capable of seeing time in both the infield and the outfield.

One player who could be a potential solution is Richie Shaffer.

Shaffer was a first-round pick of the Rays in 2012. He was recently designated for assignment by Cleveland in order to make room for Carlos Frias.

Detroit’s American League Central rivals announced the move in a press release.

It has been a busy offseason for the former Rays player, who was originally dealt to Seattle along with Taylor Motter for three prospects.

The Clemson product also spent brief stints as a member of the Philadelphia and Cincinnati organizations in December.

Potential Fit With the Detroit Tigers

Andrew Romine is the only player on Detroit’s roster who could see time in both the infield and outfield.

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Adding Shaffer would give Brad Ausmus more options in terms of flexibility and late-game situations.

Able to play both infield and outfield corners, Shaffer would give Detroit another option at first base.

In this scenario, Victor Martinez wouldn’t have to play the field when Miguel Cabrera gets at-bats at designated hitter.

What’s more, the utility player would also provide depth in the outfield corners. He would provide a better defensive presence than Moya while also bringing some pop.

In 188 career games at Triple-A, the former first-round pick collected 93 RBI. He also chipped in with 91 runs scored, 44 doubles and 30 home runs.

Potential Long-Term Contributor

What is perhaps most appealing about Shaffer—apart from his defensive flexibility—are his controllability and age.

Only 25-years-old, the one-time Mariner is controllable through 2021 according to Spotrac. What’s more, the player isn’t even arbitration eligible for two more seasons.

Next: Eight Tigers Prospects to Watch in 2017

The bottom line is that Detroit is looking to get younger. Taking a flier on a relatively young, former first-round pick would help move the team in that direction.

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