Detroit Tigers: Veterans to battle for backup catcher role

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 17: Brayan Pena
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 17: Brayan Pena /
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SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 23: John Hicks
SAN DIEGO, CA – JUNE 23: John Hicks /

The Detroit Tigers will have a returner battling with a pair of minor league free agents to be the back up catcher behind starter James McCann in 2018.

The Detroit Tigers will have plenty of position battles to settle during spring training. While some positions (first base, shortstop, etc.) are established, many others will be determined in the next few months.

The Tigers will likely have four spots for bench hitters. It will likely be a backup catcher, a utility infielder, an outfielder and one final spot.

Rule 5 draft selection Victor Reyes is in line for the fourth outfielder role. Since the team would be required to send him back to the Diamondbacks if they did not keep him on the 25-man roster, he will claim that spot.

The battle for the utility infielder role is on and there are numerous players vying for that spot.

The final roster spot will either go to one of the other utility infielders or JaCoby Jones if the Tigers choose to carry five outfielders.

The last competition is for the backup catcher role.

James McCann will head into 2018 as the starting catcher. He is under team control through 2020, so the Tigers are likely going to hold onto him at least for a few seasons.

The future of the position belongs to uber prospect Jake Rogers, who was recently ranked as one of the top-10 catching prospects in all of baseball.

25-year-old prospect Grayson Greiner will look to fit into the equation somewhere as well, likely in the next year or two.

Rogers and Greiner may be the future of the position, but neither are ready to take over as McCann’s back up in 2018. That said, the Tigers have three veteran guys who are all eyeing the opportunity to be on Detroit’s 25-man roster as the backup catcher next season.

First up is last year’s back up and the current front-runner for the position: