There are a lot of ways to construct a 25-man roster. For this team I decided to have a five-man bench, consisting of a catcher, two infielders and two outfielders. These are the players who did not quite make the cut for the starting nine, but were still valuable contributors to Detroit in the 1990’s.
Catcher – Brad Ausmus
Known primarily for his time in Houston, Ausmus made his only All-Star game as a member of the Detroit Tigers in 1999. He hit .275/.365/.415 with nine home runs and 12 stolen bases. He posted an even 100 OPS+ and had a 3.4 bWAR.
Ausmus didn’t spend a lot of time with Detroit in the 1990’s but his All-Star game appearance is enough for him to be crowned the second best catcher of the 1990’s.
Middle Infield – Damion Easley
Crowned one of the ten best second baseman in team history, Easley had a phenomenal three-year run for the Tigers between 1997-1999. He hit 69 home runs and stole 54 bases with a 108 OPS+. He was an All-Star in 1998 and won the Silver Slugger award.
Easley remained with the Tigers through 2002 and bounced around with a handful of other teams until he retired in 2008.
Infield – Deivi Cruz
Cruz gets the nod on the final infield spot by virtue of appearances. His 1,408 at-bats is 600 more than the next highest infielder (Scott Livingstone). Cruz was with the Tigers from 1997-2001 and hit .263 with a 68 OPS+ in the 1990’s. He posted a strong 4.1 dWAR at shortstop however, which helps his value.
Outfield – Rob Deer
Despite only playing in 334 games for the Tigers, Deer is one of the most iconic Tigers of the 1990’s. The first well-known three true outcomes player, Deer became legendary for his penchant for either drawing a walk, hitting a home run, or most often, striking out. He hit 71 home runs and struck out 426 times in his two-plus years in the Motor City.
Outfield/DH – Kirk Gibson
The third member of this team who is more known for the 1980’s than the 1990’s, Gibson returned to Detroit and finished his career out with the Tigers from 1993-1995. He slashed .266/.349/.476 with 45 home runs and a 116 OPS+ while operating primarily as the teams designated hitter. Still, he did play 53 games in center field in the 1990’s, so he will act as this teams backup CF if needed.