Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: An early look at some possible free agent targets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets reacts at second base after his second inning RBI double against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 27: Brandon Nimmo #9 of the New York Mets reacts at second base after his second inning RBI double against the Colorado Rockies at Citi Field on August 27, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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OF Mitch Haniger

Detroit Tigers
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – AUGUST 28: Mitch Haniger #17 of the Seattle Mariners at bat during the eighth inning against the Cleveland Guardians at T-Mobile Park on August 28, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

If the Detroit Tigers decide to go the cheap route (heaven forbid), Haniger is a very intriguing option. When healthy, he’s one of the most underrated hitters in the league.

In 2021, Haniger slashed .253/.318/.485 with 39 home runs for the Seattle Mariners. He finished 20th in AL MVP voting. He was an All-Star in 2018 when he slashed .285/.366/.493 with 26 homers. He received AL MVP votes that season as well, finishing 11th. Again, when healthy, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

But that’s just it. Much like Nimmo before him, Haniger has struggled to stay on the field throughout his career, and that includes this season when he missed time with a right ankle sprain. Some of his injuries have been freakish, like when he suffered a ruptured testicle in 2019 after fouling a pitch off his groin.

Because of his injury history, this season included, the 31-year-old will probably have to settle for a one-year prove-it deal this offseason. For a team like the Tigers, it’s a potential low-risk, high reward signing.

Haniger bats right-handed, unlike the first two outfielders on this list, who are both lefties. His career platoon splits are fairly even, although he is slightly better vs. LHP (.803 OPS vs. RHP, .857 vs. LHP). But because of his power potential, he would make for a very nice addition to Detroit’s outfield.

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