Detroit Tigers: Way too early 2022 roster predictions

LAKELAND, FL - Riley Greene looks on during a Spring Training game. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - Riley Greene looks on during a Spring Training game. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
After hitting an RBI single against the Altoona Curve in the first inning, Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson, left, greets teammate Drew Ward coming out of the dugout on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.P1seawolves061821 /

Let’s get crazy with this Detroit Tigers roster

This exercise will be strictly about what your kind and friendly author would do. This isn’t what Chris Ilitch will do. It’s not what Al Avila will tell you it’s what he wanted even though we may suspect Hinch is calling the shots.

Here’s how I see it. The Tigers offense is in need of a fair amount of help. They scored a lot of runs in June and July but there was some mirage factor involved. I coined the offense that was struggling in April as “The 2-Run Machine”. They were reliable for two runs a night. That disappeared for a while. However, it’s reappeared in late August with the club currently having scored 2 runs or less at the end of nine innings in 12 of its last 15 games. (Twice in Toronto they were able to add runs in extra innings with help of the ghost runner rule)

The lineup is in desperate need of depth. Jeimer Candelario is a fine player but one gets the sense he should be batting 6th or 7th on a good team instead of 3rd or 5th where he currently works.

This bit of roster speculation will also attempt to stay fiscally sane. Mike Ilitch isn’t rising up from the grave to order a leap toward luxury tax territory. We’ll stay within reason.

At the same time, this organization should comfortably be able to add $60M in payroll to push toward $140M to $150M. I refuse to allow this organization to make an excuse for being over $40M under the league average payroll or having a payroll slightly less than the Oakland A’s. Brad Pitt isn’t playing Al Avila in this movie.

The Tigers just don’t have a ton of trade depth from this view. It’s hard to see anyone the Tigers don’t consider part of the young core having real trade value. Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd, Robbie Grossman, and a few others aren’t bringing back a whole lot at this stage.

It really does seem like free agent investments are the way to go at this point while the organization does build depth it can deal off for big league help.

It would be great to work out a deal for Arizona’s Ketel Marte, for instance,  but such a deal likely means parting with Tarik Skubal, Dillon Dingler, and others. They might even want Riley Greene. Trading for Marte would sting because of what would need to be offered up, no doubt. Probably not what the Tigers are looking to do.

Will there be a small swap or two by Avila? Most likely. But it’s hard to see a blockbuster looming. Tampa Bay is always looking to shed some money and/or create roster space. Taylor Walls and Brandon Lowe would be interesting targets…but again Detroit’s ammo is limited. If a deal for either is out there for either it could be worth pursuing.