Detroit Tigers could conceivably spend more in free agency as a rebuilding team
The outfield, the bullpen and potentially second base
In terms of the outfield, the Tigers could go a number of different routes until Stewart and Gerber are ready to join Mahtook and JaCoby Jones in the Comerica Park grass.
Alex Presley and Jim Adduci represent two incumbent options.
While both have shown well in limited playing time, both seem more like platoon or bench options given their 2017 production.
Presley owns a 99 wRC+ this season, while Adduci’s currently sits at 91.
Of course, having Nicholas Castellanos establish himself in right field would certainly help things.
The converted infielder hasn’t looked out of place in his first two starts at the position in 2017, and could stick there.
If that’s the case, the Tigers can play the 25-year-old in right, Mahtook in left field and ease Gerber into the Majors in a center field time share with Jones.
This would also allow Stewart to come along at a slower pace as he takes on Triple-A pitching.
Detroit already has a closer in Shane Greene and a useful setup hurler in Alex Wilson.
While the duo could be dealt in the offseason, the Tigers may be better served adding a seventh inning or setup type on a one-year deal who could net a prospect or two at the trade deadline.
Free agents who could be fits on short-term deals for the Tigers include Luke Gregerson, David Hernandez, Joe Smith, Fernando Abad or Oliver Perez.
Ideally, any reliever signed would be able to pitch late in games alongside Greene and Wilson so the likes of Jairo Labourt, Jimenez, Garcia, Zac Reininger and Victor Alcantara aren’t punted into the deep end in the Majors.
In a perfect world, the Tigers would be able to find a young, Major League ready, middle infielder in any Ian Kinsler trade this winter.
That way, the team can pair said middle infielder with Dixon Machado up the middle.
In that scenario, either the new infielder or Dawel Lugo would be the long-term starter at second base, with the other a potential bench piece.
However, in the event that Detroit can’t find a younger second baseman in a Kinsler swap, there should be a number of veteran options on the free agent market.
Howie Kendrick, Brandon Phillips or Danny Espinosa could be interesting fits on one-year contracts
The beauty of short-term signings like this is that Al Avila can flip them for future assets at the trade deadline or when a top prospect is ready to step in at the Major League level.
Of course, a free agent signing could conceivably develop into a long-term piece, but they hold plenty of value as potential trade chips.