Detroit Tigers: Assessing the Free Agent Outfield Market
The Tigers could potentially add another outfielder into the mix. Here are a few options they could set their eyes on.
After trading Nicholas Castellanos to the Chicago Cubs in the middle of the 2019 season, the spacious outfield of Comerica Park mostly saw JaCoby Jones, Victor Reyes, Christin Stewart, and Travis Demeritte roaming the yard. As it stands, this would most likely be the opening day outfield mix in 2020, barring a great performance from someone like Jorge Bonifacio. This could be a rather uninspiring group of outfielders, as Roger Martin wrote about in an earlier piece. According to Cody Stavenhagen of The Athletic, at the Tigers’ Winter Caravan, GM Avila noted that there was a possibility they could still add another outfielder. We’ll take a look at who the Tigers could look to add from the free agent market, and whether or not adding a veteran outfielder would be worth it.
2019: .267/.327/.458 – 24 HR
A rather interesting free agent to say the least, Puig has been mentioned in plenty of talks between fans, and at this point is at the top of many wish lists from those who want to see a fun player on a team that could use a bit more excitement. Also included in the same tweet from Stavenhagen, Avila mentioned that Puig is “not a priority” at this point. This seems to point to the assumption that although the team may be looking to add another outfielder, Puig doesn’t have a price tag that is low enough to fit their budget. There are some who also believe his antics and quirky energy don’t belong on a team where a mature veteran presence is needed. All of that aside, Puig’s asking price alone makes this an unlikely signing.
2019: .253/.329/.441 – 21 HR
Another name seen sprouting around the Tigers’ Twitterverse, Santana would be a cheaper alternative to Puig, while still putting up about the same offensive numbers, relative to their 2019 seasons. He is a popular candidate among fans who concretely believe the team is not going to target Puig, but would come at the cost of defense. Pairing him with someone like Stewart in left field would not be a wise idea, so he would most likely have to be platooned with someone like Reyes. Still, he would be a good thought if the Tigers were looking to add a cheap bat with some decent power.
2019: .259/.287/.432 – 21 HR
Pillar would be an interesting signing, as he had his shortcomings in 2019 defensively, but other than that has been considered an all star with the glove. A bounce back from him with the glove would be a fantastic addition to an outfield that already contains two corner outfielders with below average defense. He did hit 21 home runs in 2019, and his about-average bat would easily carry if his spectacular defense returns. Pillar could also be had on the cheaper end, and like Santana, could provide an unexpected surprise.
There are, of course, more names available on the market, but these three should be at the top of the Tigers’ radar. If not Puig, then either Santana or Pillar could provide some sort of value to the club, and above average seasons could lead to a potential trade in the summer, furthering the rebuild.
What do you think? Should the Tigers look to add another outfielder, or should they stand pat and let the current crew battle it out? If you think they should add another bat, who would be your preferred target and why? Let us know in the comments.