Detroit Tigers: Signing Scott Van Slyke and Nori Aoki would improve outfield depth
Detroit Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila could do with more depth signings. Here are two fits in Scott Van Slyke and Nori Aoki.
Detroit Tigers fans could be in for a relatively busy offseason.
This is all speculative mind you, but Detroit could continue to the team’s rebuild by moving veterans like second baseman Ian Kinsler, shortstop Jose Iglesias and relievers Shane Greene and Alex Wilson.
This would continue the team’s trade work from the regular season when starting pitcher Justin Verlander, closer Justin Wilson, catcher Alex Avila and outfielders Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez were traded.
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Upton and Martinez’ respective departures have made the outfield somewhat of a position of need for the Tigers.
Nicholas Castellanos, JaCoby Jones and Mikie Mahtook would be the starters from right to left if the 2018 season started today.
However, Detroit will also need some depth. Castellanos isn’t exactly a Gold Glove finalist, while Jones is still developing at the plate.
Ideally some of these players could conceivably become a contributor or even an eventual trade chip for the Tigers.
Once again, this is all speculative, but here are three hypothetical depth adds for the Detroit Tigers.
Scott Van Slyke
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The son of former Detroit Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke, Scott has spent the bulk of his career to date with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.
Van Slyke hasn’t had the most success in the Majors over the last three seasons.
In that span, the outfielder owns just a .656 OPS in 414 plate appearances.
It’s a far cry from his offensive production from 2013 to 2014.
In those two seasons, the 31-year-old notched an .871 OPS in 398 plate appearances.
That two-year stretch also saw the veteran accumulate a 3.5 fWAR.
Even if he can’t replicate his early-career from, Van Slyke would make for a useful depth piece in Triple-A Toledo considering he can play first base and both outfield corners slots.
As it stands, the Tigers could have needs at all three positions. This is especially true if Miguel Cabrera moves to designated hitter in 2018.
Another potential outfield fit in Detroit, Aoki has played for seven teams in his six season in the Majors—including three this past season.
However, that hasn’t stopped him from being productive.
The outfielder has had positive fWARs in each of his seasons in the Majors and has never seen his wRC+ dip below 97.
In fact, the 2017 campaign was the first time Aoki didn’t reach triple digits with his wRC+.
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The former Mariner is also a lifetime .266 hitter with a .330 on-base percentage. Able to play all three outfield spots, he’d make for an ideal fourth outfielder.