2021 Detroit Tigers after 60 games…where do we go from here?

Tigers manager AJ Hinch takes out pitcher Casey Mize during the Tigers' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Friday, April 23, 2021, at Comerica Park.Tigers Kc1
Tigers manager AJ Hinch takes out pitcher Casey Mize during the Tigers' 6-2 loss to the Royals on Friday, April 23, 2021, at Comerica Park.Tigers Kc1 /
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Eric Haase
May 16, 2021 – Eric Haase hits a double. Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers outfield after 60 games

We are starting to see some churn through the position players, as we wave goodbye to Jacoby Jones. Victor Reyes has been demoted and brought back and he serves no real purpose. Nomar Mazara and his .183/.248/.288 performance with an ISO of .106 has to be skating on thin ice. When power and Home Runs are your only calling card and you have 2 in 113 PA’s it seems it is time to cut bait and move on.

Expect Daz Cameron to join his pal Derek Hill here in Detroit soon which would give us fans an outfield of Grossman/Hill/Daz with local sensation Eric Haase seeing some time, along with continued judicious use of Akil Baddoo, to watch and enjoy. Reyes or Mazara can stay or go as far as I am concerned because the playing time for the slot should be minimal. I would keep Reyes over Mazara just for the pinch-running aspect.

Behind the plate is dicey as we have seen both the good and the bad of Jake Rogers, gunning down all 4 would-be base stealers, but his bat is still a huge question mark. He is fine for now in the backup spot but he is far away from being an everyday player. Jake Rogers makes the Dillon Dingler watch in West Michigan that much more exciting.

Eric Haase has taken over the main duties with Wilson Ramos on the IL, who was struggling mightily at the plate after a fast start to the season to go with the defense that will certainly not have you mistake him for Pudge Rodriguez. A decision will have to be made at some point when Ramos and Greyson Greiner are ready to return.

It is not a position of strength, but Haase has handled the duties admirably so far as he injects the power at the plate that the team was dire to add. It is certainly in better shape than it was just a month ago.

The infield is just a mess. Miguel Cabrera continues to be more down than up as he tries to dig his way out of a disastrous start to the season. I am as big of a Miggy fan as there is but let’s face facts he is -.8 bWAR at this point in the season and while he flashes some of the old magic, the likelihood of the flickering light staying on decreases as the season progresses. The 2B/SS defense is a disaster with little hope at improvement.

Willi Castro is heating up with the bat as is Jonathon Schoop who is playing some first base, and utility man masquerading as a starting SS Niko Goodrum continues to not really hit nor field the position. Jeimer Candelario is slumping, just when I am about ready to think he is at least an average major league ballplayer.

The OPS is down to .717 in 241 PA’s this season for The Candy Man after flashing an excellent .872 in 206 PA’s this season. American League average OPS is down to .714 so far in 2021 from .733 in 2020 and .762 in 2019 I have seen some calls from fans to try and reach an extension with him, but I think that is premature.

Let’s see how he finishes out this season. So far he is about average, can he flourish, maintain, or sink? All 3 possibilities are reasonable. There is no reason to be in a hurry to lock up league-average players that can be replaced. If he shows more and finishes strong we can revisit that issue. I think the last 4 months of the season are of gigantic importance to his future and how the Tigers shape the 2022 roster and beyond. I love rooting for him and am in his corner.

I don’t really see a lot of changes here moving forward, especially before August 1st, other than Daz coming with Mazara departing and then Reyes hitting the road when Wilson Ramos returns.