3 needs for the Detroit Tigers to address immediately after the lockout

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila and manager AJ Hinch participate in a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Comerica Park in Detroit.
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila and manager AJ Hinch participate in a news conference Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, at Comerica Park in Detroit. /
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The Detroit Tigers will still have work to do following the work stoppage and before the 2022 season

The Detroit Tigers were one of the more active teams before the lockout, but they will need to continue that theme following the MLB lockout if they want to achieve their goal of having a winning club in 2022.

The club started with an overhaul of the front office structure. They brought in Ryan Garko to be their Vice President of Player Development, promoted Sam Menzin and Jay Sartori to Assistant GM roles, hired Gabe Ribas as their director of pitching, and hired a slew of other analysts and coaches, mostly away from the LA Dodgers.

There were some on-field additions to improve the organization, too. They traded for catcher Tucker Barnhart, signed left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez to a five-year deal, and got their shortstop in Javier Baez on a six-year contract.

Those additions will be welcomed, but two of the three signings are essentially replacements for the talent they had the season prior. Jake Rogers, just as he was beginning to show signs of being that starting catcher many had hoped for, had to undergo Tommy John surgery, which will put him out for the season. Likewise, the team did not tender a contract to Matthew Boyd and Spencer Turnbull underwent Tommy John surgery himself. Rodriguez essentially replaces Boyd’s production from last year.

Javier Baez was the Tigers’ answer to the shortstop free-agent frenzy that is well underway, and although the fans’ choice Carlos Correa still awaits a team, Baez is no consolation with his defensive ability, crafty play, speed, and power. He’s a microcosm of what the Detroit Tigers were doing stylistically last season.

That said, Baez isn’t going to single-handedly propel the Detroit Tigers into playoff contention and leaning on rookies Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson is a risky proposition. The Detroit Tigers have needs. Here is where they should finish their offseason when the lockout ends.

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