Detroit Tigers: Plenty of Utility Options in Spring Training
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila added significant minor league depth over the offseason. Now, with Spring Training starting up, Detroit will have plenty of decisions in terms of who makes the bench.
Detroit Tigers fans will see a new-look bench come Opening Day.
Not counting Andrew Romine, who actually appeared in more contests than starters James McCann and Cameron Maybin, Brad Ausmus’ most-used bench cogs included a variety of different players.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Mike Aviles, Tyler Collins, Casey McGehee and Erick Aybar all saw significant time, as did Steven Moya and Anthony Gose.
Saltalamacchia has moved on in free agency, while Aviles was traded to Atlanta in the deal that netted the Tigers Aybar.
However, like Saltalamacchia, Aybar has also departed via free agency. Casey McGehee also left the Motor City as a free agent.
Moya and Gose are still in the organization, however both are buried on the outfield depth chart.
All told, Romine and Collins may be the only significant holdovers.
In other words, there should be plenty of competition in Spring Training.
Once the full team reports to camp, Detroit will have plenty of options in terms of filling out the bench.
Other players from last season’s team who saw limited action like Dixon Machado and JaCoby Jones could make the unit, as could John Hicks.
Additionally, of the 22 non-roster invitees, 12 are position players.
Nearly all of the players potentially in the mix for a bench gig in camp with the Detroit Tigers can function as a utility options.
Machado could see time at shortstop, second base and third base, while Jones can fill in at third and in the outfield.
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Dominic Ficociello, perhaps Detroit’s most versatile prospect, is in camp as a non-roster invitee.
The former 12th-round pick has played at first base, second base, third base and in left field as a professional so far.
There’s also former Tiger Omar Infante, who returns to the organization after a stint in Kansas City.
Over the course of his career, the veteran has spent time at all three outfield spots. He also played at second base, shortstop and third base.
Joining Infante and Ficociello as an infielder trying to make the team as a non-roster invitee is Brendan Ryan.
The defensive ace has seen significant time at shortstop, second base and third base in his career.
In recent seasons, the former Mariner has made occasional appearances in the outfield and at first base.
In terms of players who began their careers as outfielders, Juan Perez and Jason Krizan could also be intriguing bench additions.
Perez started seeing extended action at second base and third base with the Cubs’ Triple-A squad last season. He can also man all three outfield spots.
One of the few position-player prospects joining the Tigers for Spring Training, Krizan has also seen time in the infield and outfield.
Since making his professional debut, the 27-year-old has played across the outfield at first and second base.
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It will certainly be interesting to see who the Detroit Tigers decide to go with as another utility threat next to Andrew Romine on the bench.