Detroit Tigers: Mailbag Fan Questions

Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila, and manager AJ Hinch participate in a news conference.
Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila, and manager AJ Hinch participate in a news conference. /

Detroit Tigers: Mailbag Fan Questions

On my Twitter account (@Lions_superbowl), I asked my followers what Detroit Tigers questions they wanted my thoughts and opinions on. Here are some of my answers:

This is actually quite a tricky question because it is going to depend a lot on what A.J. Hinch wants to do with his rotation. Does he want Eduardo Rodriguez to be our ace and get the start on opening day, or does he want to get one of the younger guys involved and get them in the ace role early?

But if I were to guess it would either be E-Rod or Casey Mize. Mize, because this is supposed to be the Mize show in Detroit. If A.J. wants to go with one of the big three in Mize, Manning, or Skubal, I would think he goes with Mize.

Now, I also would think E-Rod is the next best guess because he was their big free-agent splash pitcher. With the Detroit Tigers giving him a $77 million contract, and him being the veteran on the staff, it would make a lot of sense. I think it really all comes down to what the Mariners’ lineup will look like on opening day, and whether it favors a lefty or a right-hander.

Everyone has a different definition of a big trade, but I will give you my personal untouchables for any trade in general, which may or may not rule out a potential big trade. My untouchables would be: Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Matt Manning, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal.

I know Skubal and Mize aren’t really prospects, but it is only their 3rd year next season, and it would be their first year not considered rookies, so that is why I included them. Basically every other Detroit Tigers prospect is up for grabs except them, including Ryan Kreidler, Dillon Dingler, Gage Workman, and Jackson Jobe. All of them should be available in the right deal.

If both of them opt-out after two years I don’t think we will be in a similar situation. I think the Detroit Tigers would be in a worse situation, because if the team were on the verge of winning it wouldn’t make much sense for either player to opt-out.

Now, are the opt outs good or bad for the Tigers? That is tough to say, though I think they have a greater chance to be bad than good. For example, let’s use Javier Báez. If he has an absurd 2022 and 2023 and wins back-back MVPs, he will probably opt-out because he would likely make more than the $25 million the Tigers are due to pay him.

If Torkelson and/or Greene don’t pan out the way we hope and the Tigers just aren’t good, both Báez and Rodriguez could opt-out and we would be left in a very poor spot. The good of it though could be if they are struggling and really not worth their contract, maybe the Tigers could convince them to opt out of it. Then if you still want them you could restructure or just let them walk. So all in all it could go either way, but there are more bad possibilities than good.

The short answer is no. The only bat I think who would’ve made sense was Chris Taylor due to him playing 2B and being a super-utility guy. Now with him off the market, I do not see the Tigers signing another bat this off-season.

They don’t need any infielders, with Jeimer Candelario at third base and Báez at shortstop. Jonathan Schoop along with Willy and Harold Castro and Isaac Paredes can handle second base, and once Torkelson arrives he will cover first base.

Then for the outfield, I don’t think they should really target anyone this year. The Tigers still have Robbie Grossman, and I want to see what we have with Derek Hill, Daz Cameron, and especially Akil Baddoo to see if any of them will be sustainable MLB outfielders. Riley Greene will get called up at some point, and if he plays anything like we are expecting him to it is like adding a high-end free agent. So until we see what we have with Baddoo, Daz, and Hill, I would say no outfielder either.

I think it really all comes down to the new CBA rules and how service time works. If the service time stays how it was then I don’t think we will see either on the opening day roster, regardless of how they play in spring training.

But if the rules change and you can have them on opening day and the service time wouldn’t be different than if you waited, I would say yes. Only if they have a good spring, though. If they have a rough spring send them down to Triple-A and let them get their swing back and then you can bring them up.

That being said, I don’t think just one will get brought up. It will be like the Mize, Skubal, and Paredes call-up where the Tigers want to keep the prospects together. So, if Greene has a great spring and Tork struggles I still think they send them down until they are both ready.

So to answer his first question, I think the Tigers finish a little above .500 in 2022. To give an exact number, I would say 85-77. They had almost 80 wins last year playing a lot of rookies and a super young pitching staff that struggled with injuries.

The addition of E-Rod, Báez, and anyone else they sign will help a ton. That’s on top of the fact all the young guys now have a year under their belt and should look a lot more comfortable next year. They should be able to hit that 85 win mark.

So what is the timetable to reach the postseason? I think 2023 is a realistic goal to make it back to the postseason. The Tigers will see what they have this year, and then in the next off-season find out where the holes still are, address them, and then really get the ball rolling.

I don’t think it happens in 2022 because I don’t think 85 wins will be enough to make a wild card game, or be enough to finish first in the central. The White Sox are still the toughest team right now, but maybe Hinch and his staff will surprise us and make it.

I think it’s going to be Matt Manning. Manning improved drastically from his first start to his last start, and with a full offseason to train and work on the new pitches he added during the season I think we will see a major jump in Manning’s game.

In just over a short two-week break Manning added a slider to his pitch mix and changed his sequencing and was so much more effective, We started seeing the strikeout numbers go up and he started looking like the Matt Manning we had been waiting for. If he keeps up this pace and continues to improve fans could see the next Tigers ace develop right in front of their eyes.

I only see two more signings this year, at least in terms of major-league contracts. As I mentioned above, it doesn’t seem like the Tigers will target any more bats, but I do think they still sign one more starting pitcher and at least one reliever. I’m not sure who those players will be, but I’d like to see those two signings to truly consider this a successful offseason.

So there are some of the mailbag questions I was asked. I really enjoyed doing this, so if you asked a question and I didn’t answer it don’t worry, I will definitely be doing more of these in the future.

Next. Should the Detroit Tigers extend Robbie Grossman?. dark