Detroit Tigers: Three Bold Predictions For Spring Training

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers need a lot to go right this year in order to escape the AL Central cellar. Perhaps a roster shake-up in spring training could make that happen?

Ah yes, spring training starts tomorrow and the Tigers come to camp with some new faces. Al Avila addressed the issue of the lack of a right side of the infield with picking up Jonathan Schoop and C.J Cron. Niko Goodrum looks like he will get the nod as the everyday shortstop and Avila picked up Austin Romine, Eric Hasse and minor leaguer Jhon Nunez.

The Matthew Boyd trade rumors never went away in the off-season as team management has said he will probably stay with the ballclub. But the Tigers DO NEED to do something to address the lack of outfield depth on the major league level. Both Toledo’s and Erie’s outfields will be crowded this season and do not have an immediate answer to address the depth. If the Tigers decide not to make a move, here’s one bold prediction that could help address the outfield.

Isaac Paredes is your everyday third baseman.

We promise to be bold, so why not come out guns blazing? Jeimer Candelario had a strong winter in the Dominican Republic and he is one of the better third basemen in the American League on defense, but if Paredes out hits him in the spring, he could usurp Candelario’s job. Paredes booked 81 appearances at third base in Erie and continue getting reps at the hot corner for Obregon in the Mexican winter league. Clearly, the Tigers are grooming him to take over the position when he’s ready.

Theoretical positional flexibility is another point in Paredes’s favor. While second baseman Jonathan Schoop could be traded by midseason for a prospect he does well, Paredes could potentially spend time there instead. If the Tigers intend to do that, they will want to have him broken into the league before asking him to adapt to a new position. what then to do with Candelario? He’s a fine defender and has shown/offense of potential. He could probably serve a ventral capably for a team and to keep payroll low, especially if they think they can get more out of them than did the Tigers.

Speculatively, the Washington Nationals or Texas Rangers may be a fit. Neither has a particularly compelling group of prospects, but it’s not as though he struggling corner infielder he’s going to command much in return. The Nats lost out on Rendon and are piecemealing together a new solution and third. Candelario good serve as excellent depth in that equation. The Rangers fell just short of the sweepstakes for both rundown and Josh Donaldson and could be looking to shore Up their bench in case Todd Frazier doesn’t have anything left in the tank. In any case, if Paredes has an excellent spring, it could make a lot of sense to simply placed him on the MLB roster up their bench in case Todd Frazier doesn’t have anything left in the tank.

Matt Manning wins the job as the team’s fifth starter

The Tigers signed Zack Godley to compete for a rotation spot a look at his numbers in Arizona reveal his decline began as a starter. His declining strikeout rate and struggle with command have been persistent in that role, as we discussed a while back. His reliever numbers in Toronto were somewhat better, but with quality bullpen depth is an issue, so the wisest course of action may be leaving him in the bullpen. Matt Manning, though, has demonstrated no problem starting so far and could be a viable option to break camp with the team.

Toledo and Erie will have plenty of starters this season.  Detroit’s brass acquired a multitude of pitchers this off-season in an effort to prevent a lack-of-depth disaster like last year. The Tigers are predicted to finish last in the AL Central, so why  So why not have Manning learn to pitch at the big league level now? It’s not as if a rocky start from the 22-year-old would hurt the team in any way.

Al Avila stated in an article on that he has no plans to manipulate service time once he determined it’s time to use his prospects in the MLB. So why do you demanding over fellow righty Casey Mize? Mize is just as talented, if not more so, and has more polish and less concern over his long-term ability to start. Simply put, Manning has a long track record of health and has been more successful in the high minors. If Mize does well, of course, the team could absolutely call him up mid-season.

Yasel Puig gets signed by March 1st

Cross off the San Francisco Giants as another team that Puig will not be going to.  While Al Avila has stated he’s not a priority, Puig could sign a heavy incentive contract, similar to Andre Dawson did with the Chicago Cubs back in 1987 in which he and his agent did a ” blank contract” strategy. The Tigers have a few weeks to see what their outfield situation looks like internally and it would not be the first nor last time a front office has changed their mind about something. Why Puig? He hit 24 home runs and according to Fangraphs Steamer projections, he is projected to have a wRC+ of 111, which would be one of the highest on the team and his arm, which racked up eight assists in 2019.  Now field that with Victor Reyes, who had 7 in left field last season, you have yourself a decent corner outfielder combo that teams may not think twice to run on.  Travis Demeritte has a minor league option and if he is not ready, Puig could slide into right field while Travis would go back to Toledo.