Winner: Detroit’s Bench
Last season, Detroit’s bench didn’t exactly stand out as the gold standard of reserve units.
Mike Aviles (-1.4 WAR), Casey McGehee (.011 ISO, 33 wRC+), Steven Moya (38% strikeout percentage), Anthony Gose (.289 on-base percentage), Erick Aybar (88 wRC+) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.277 wOBA) were among the team’s most-used reserves.
With Aviles since traded, Gose designated for assignment and McGehee, Aybar and Saltalamacchia departing via free agency, next season’s bench will have a different look.
The new unit will likely be headed by utility ace Andrew Romine.
Elsewhere, Moya could play a role as a power hitting bench threat after turning in a .245 ISO last season.
Additionally, two of the team’s most notable offseason additions should bring some added value.
Alex Avila posted a 1.1 WAR, a .359 on-base percentage and a 104 wRC+ for the White Sox last season.
Should he not win the starting field job, Mahtook could provide a boost.
The former Rays player posted a 1.8 WAR and a 167 wRC+ with Tampa Bay in 2015. If he can post similar numbers, Detroit will benefit greatly.
What’s more, the Tigers bench could benefit from the defense provided by glove-first shortstop Dixon Machado.
A potential understudy for Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler and Nick Castellanos, Machado posted a DRS of 2 and a UZR of 2.0 in just 30 innings last season for the Tigers.