Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: Spring Training Should Offer Plenty of Competition for Bench Places

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Mar 3, 2016; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Andrew Romine (17) rounds second base during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 3, 2016; Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Andrew Romine (17) rounds second base during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will have a predominantly new-look bench next season. Here’s a look at some of the candidates to make the team as key reserve performers.

Detroit Tigers fans will see an extremely different bench unit next seasons.

Last season, a bench largely consisting of Andrew Romine, Casey McGehee, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Erick Aybar and Tyler Collins nearly helped propel the team to the playoffs.

With Spring Training just around the corner, Brad Ausmus will have a changed group of reserved players next season.

Romine will once again play a key role off the bench, while Saltalamacchia has been replaced by Alex Avila as James McCann’s top reserve.

Outside of the veteran duo, there is plenty left to be determined as we inch closer and closer to Opening Day.

Detroit certainly isn’t short of options as the team looks to fill out its bench unit.

Dixon Machado may be the next closest thing to a surefire pick, but he’d be the second reserve infielder.

How Detroit decides to construct the team’s roster from a numbers standpoint remains to be seen.

If the Tigers chose to go with a more veteran, glove-first infielder, non-roster invitee Brendan Ryan could be a fit.

Elsewhere, longtime Tiger Omar Infante could crack the Major League roster after a three-year stint with the division-rival Royals.

Other Options

Unlike Machado and Ryan, Infante has experience in the outfield. If he can return to the offensive form he showed in his last stint in Detroit (118 wRC+) the veteran could become a key bench cog.

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Speaking of the outfield, the trade of Cameron Maybin has brought plenty of uncertainty as to which players will make the team.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as a new starter could break out. However, there are plenty of different potential replacements for the current Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim.

Collins, JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook are the leading candidates to take over for Maybin.

Considering Jones is still developing, he could conceivably head to Toledo for at-bats if Collins or Mahtook wins the role.

Otherwise, Collins or Mahtook could make the bench as reserve options.

Elsewhere, there are a number of non-roster invitees who will be in camp with the Tigers.

One of said non-roster invitees is Alex Presley, who has seven years of Major League experience. The 30-year-old saw time in three games with Detroit last season

Additionally, Juan Perez and Jason Krizan could both make an impact.

The duo are outfielders by trade, but they have significant experience in the infield.

Rounding out Detroit’s potential bench candidates are prospects Mike Gerber and Dominic Ficociello, as well as first baseman Efren Navarro and Brett Pill.

Next: Bullpen Locks Heading Into Spring Training

Regardless of who makes the Detroit Tigers, it should prove to be an exciting Spring Training to watch.

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