Detroit Tigers Rule 5 Options: Middle Infield

Detroit Tigers, Niko Goodrum (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers, Niko Goodrum (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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Can the Detroit Tigers get middle infield help in the Rule 5 Draft?

Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft marks the end of this year’s rather uneventful Winter Meetings, which means it’s likely the last chance for the Detroit Tigers to find middle infield help any time soon.

The organization hasn’t been terribly forthcoming about which positions, if any, they are targeting this off-season, but we can assume they’ll want to add at least one middle infield option. Outside of pitching, middle infield is the area targeted most in the Rule 5, so landing help here is possible.

Jonathan Schoop had a strong run with the team in 2020, so they could look to bring him back, or they could stick with some middle infield combination of Willi Castro and Niko Goodrum, who covered 97% of the innings at shortstop and 20% of the innings at second base last year.

The Rule 5 Draft takes place at noon on Thursday, so this will be our last preview post. We’ve already covered catchers, corner infielders, outfielders, pitchers, and about 80 more players, but it’s entirely possible the Tigers will take someone we’ve never mentioned.

For what it’s worth, I’d like to see them select Orioles relief pitcher Zach Pop, but he hasn’t shown up on any of the big Rule 5 previews, so perhaps I’m alone on this one.

Below you’ll find six interesting middle infield options in this year’s Rule 5 Draft, and you can get a bit more info on one other infielder here. Realistically, none of these players figures to be a better option in 2021 than last year’s trade acquisition Zack Short, but they’re still worth knowing.

Detroit Tigers Rule 5 target: Diosbel Arias

Age on Opening Day: 24.8
Bats: Right
Highest Level: High-A

Signed out of Cuba in 2017, Diosbel Arias doesn’t do any one thing well enough to really stand out. He has played solidly in pro ball, with a career .305/.382/.408 line, but he’s always been older than most prospects at his levels.

Arias can handle the middle infield, with 50+ career games at both second base and shortstop, and he’s also seen plenty of time at third base and even a dozen games at first. He’s a line-drive hitter with a solid approach, but he doesn’t have a ton of pop, and speed isn’t really a part of his game.

With no experience above High-A he would be a stretch, but his versatility could give the Tigers a lot of options.

Diosbel Arias video via 2080 Baseball