In our first mailbag, we got some great questions on Twitter and Facebook. The staff here at MCB teamed up to answer the questions from our audience about your Detroit Tigers.
Question 1: Who will the Detroit Tigers take at 1-1? (Twitter question from @mason_mcrae)
Staff writer Jon Erkkila:
The Detroit Tigers will be selecting Spencer Torkelson from Arizona State. Baseball America and MLB Pipeline agree as of now in recent mock drafts. We could try to be different here just for kicks, but Torkelson has looked like the guy for this spot since the end of last season.
In a time of extreme uncertainty everywhere in the sport and the world, it makes some sense for the Tigers to steer the ship into a safe harbor. Torkelson is that harbor. He’s an advanced hitter with a real shot to be a premium asset on a contending club. Torkelson also might be on a timeline to arrive in Detroit not long after the Tigers’ star pitching prospects are also in the Motor City.
Unless Al Avila believes Vanderbilt’s Austin Martin (3B/SS) is the next Alex Bregman expect Torkelson to get the call.
Avila has recently tossed out the idea the Tigers aren’t ruling out adding to their stable of arms. If Texas A&M’s southpaw Asa Lacy has shown Tigers scouts enough, he’d be the hurler to watch to sneak past Torkelson.
Question 2: Who do the Tigers sign next offseason? (Twitter question from NickHaller_23)
Staff writer Brian Johnston:
When I first saw this question, I thought back to early 2004, when the Tigers signed Ivan Rodriguez. People thought both sides were crazy. Why would Pudge go to a team coming off a 43-119 season? And why would the Tigers make such a move at that point? Yet three years later, the Tigers were AL champs.
I looked through next year’s list of free agents to try to find a similar player: a veteran with winning experience who could still be a difference maker. Some players I considered were Yadier Molina, Justin Turner, and Michael Brantley, though they all will be older than Pudge was (32) at the time.
One younger name I kept coming back to – though he’s not quite the established player Pudge was – was D.J. LeMahieu. He’ll be 32 and has always been a solid glove man, and his bat has really come around later in his career. Plus, he showed some defensive versatility last year. I think his game would play well at Comerica Park.
Whatever the Tigers do, they need to make a big splash in free agency this coming offseason. Two reasons this needs to be done: (1) to reignite the fanbase and (2) to give the team a jump on their rebuild. Given their situation, they may have to overpay for someone, yet maybe they can convince a star player that with all the upcoming young talent, Detroit will be an attractive place to play in the near future.
Question 3: Any word if we’re going to have any kind of a season this year? We need baseball. (Facebook question from John Lee Bailey)
In my opinion, there will be baseball. MLB can’t afford to lose fans. As far away as the 1994 strike seems, the aftermath was catastrophic. The Montreal Expos, the best team in baseball at the time, their season was lost and fans had enough. It took the great home run chase of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire to bring back fans.
According to Ken Rosenthal of the Atheltic, the season could start by the Fourth of July. Here’s a range of time from the story:
"“The most realistic time range for Opening Day — somewhere between mid-June and July 4, in the view of most officials — would allow for an 80- to 100-game regular season, with the schedule running through October. An expanded postseason at neutral sites might follow, with the World Series ending in late November or early December.”"
Trust us, John, we want the season to start soon. We all hope around here that it can start in a safe matter.
Question 4: If the season doesn’t start until September, can Casey Mize be the September call up / Opening day starter? (Twitter question from @Austin_Southfield)
Staff writer Jacob Boes:
If the season weren’t to start until September, I still don’t see Casey Mize (or other top prospects for that matter) breaking the season with the MLB squad. Although there have been recent talks about possibly expanding rosters if a minor league season were to get completely canceled, in-game repetitions are invaluable for pitchers and stashing Mize to ‘learn the ropes’ of the big leagues would do little for a pitcher who has proven to be well-prepared in virtually every facet of the off-the-field aspect of the game.
Ken Rosenthal also detailed in his article recently that a three-week spring training might not be enough time for starting pitchers to stretch out and effectively be ready for the season. For a pitcher like Mize that has a history with a shoulder injury as recent as last year, it wouldn’t be smart for the Tigers to rush him up. Add to that the club won’t be competitive anyway, and, well, it just doesn’t make a lick of sense.
It was looking as if the plan for Detroit was to have some of their top prospect talents reach the major leagues later in the season, and I still think this could be the case for Mize if he performs well in the minors in 2020–especially if the league is generous with their service-time rules in 2020.