The Detroit Tigers are Fun! Watch now for 2022

Detroit Tigers pitchers Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize pose during spring training. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers pitchers Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize pose during spring training. Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Jun 16, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Detroit Tigers second baseman Willi Castro (9) hits a single against the Kansas City Royals during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Tigers infield is a messy situation:

Willi Castro has been swinging the bat a little better in June (.247/.313/.411) vs his overall .220/.285/.354, however, the -.8 BWAR for the season with the defense factored in shows us what a negative contributor he has been thus far. This is a crucial 2nd half of the season for him. Watch to see if the pop in the bat returns

Miguel Cabrera has been positive in June, after sporting a sub .550 OPS in April and May, he has bounced back with a .301/.338/.397 average. Miguel is going to pose a real dilemma for the club should he be just a little short of 3000 hits and 500 home runs at the end of the season if his performance reverts to his early-season start.

The roster spots will be at more of a premium moving forward and the Big Fella is going to need to produce at a reasonable level to justify a spot. Pencil him in to start 2022 with the big club, but I am not so sure that he will finish it. Hope against hope for a Miggy rebound in the HR department and that he can at least maintain a slash line similar to June going forward.

Jonathan Schoop after a rough start has been on fire. While cooling off the last couple of days he is currently featuring a .271/.323/.475 slash line with 15 HR on the season. There will be trade interest in Schoop, and if there are offers that make sense by all means he goes to the highest bidder.

AJ Hinch has mentioned the possibility of trading Schoop, but also brought up the idea that he could be extended, sitting how Schoop likes it here in Detroit and fits in well. I would talk extension now to test the waters on the parameters for a 2-year deal while simultaneously exploring the trade market. With his ability to play 1B and 2B, there are plenty of ABs for him as a bridge player to Spencer Torkelson at 1B and a long-term solution at 2B.

Shortstop: This is where Chris Ilitch needs to green light Al Avila to signing a big star. Chris needs his Pudge Rodriguez moment and it has to come to this off-season. Corey Seager, Carlos Correa, Javier Baez, and Trevor Story make up a Big 4 who will be hitting the market this off-season. I want either Seager or Correra wearing a Tigers uniform next season.

Seager is a Boras client and the Dodgers also have Clayton Kershaw to contend with this year, after signing Mookie Betts and Trevor Bauer to expensive contracts, as well as having Cody Bellanger and Walker Buheler to deal with in the, not so distance future. It is not inconceivable the Boras relationship with the Tigers organization could be rekindled.

3B- As discussed in the arbitration section, ride with Jeimer Candelario for 1 more year and then go from there based on his performance and the team’s circumstances.

The next 3 months will say a lot about how the outfield looks to start 2022. This is a huge 2nd half of the season for Daz Cameron who has at least looked serviceable with a little pop in the bat in his 13 games so far this season. Possible rookie of the year candidate Akil Baddoo is growing rapidly before our eyes.

The plate discipline we saw in spring training has returned and the bat and speed are legitimate MLB tools. I would be tempted to go into 2022 with an outfield of Robbie Grossman/Daz Cameron/Akil Baddoo with whoever you want to use as the 4th outfielder until Riley Greene arrives during the season, which could be sooner rather than later. Sure I would love a bigger upgrade, but the other upgrades needed more take precedence at this point, subject to change based on the current players’ final performances in 2021.