Detroit Tigers: 5 biggest needs heading into the offseason
Jeimer Candelario has shown flashes of being a great third baseman. Just last year, he led the American League in doubles and had a 3.8 bWAR. There were even talks of extending him last offseason. Boy, did the Tigers dodge a bullet there.
Candelario fell off a cliff this season, having an OPS+ of just 83 and a bWAR of 0.5. His plate discipline completley disappeared, with his walk rate plummeting from 10.4% last season to 6% this season. He’s just too inconsistent to be this team’s starting third baseman going forward.
So they’ll need to find an upgrade at the position. Unfortunately, this year’s free agent class is pretty divoid of third base talent. Nolan Arenado could opt out, but I don’t think the Tigers will be looking to spend top dollar at the hot corner. Wilmer Flores would have been a nice option, but he recently signed an extention with the Giants.
Call me crazy, but I think a name to watch here might be Evan Longoria. The Giants have a club option for him for next year, but since he’s going to be 37, it seems likely they’ll excerise that and he’ll become a free agent.
Given that Scott Harris came from the Giants, there’s some familiarity there. He did just put up a 115 wRC+ and a .207 ISO. At the very least, the Tigers could platoon him with someone else, as he did much of his damage against lefties to the tune of a 124 wRC+. As a one-year stop gap, the Detroit Tigers could do much worse.
An internal option to consider is Andre Lipcius. He fits the profile of what Scott Harris is looking for: walks a ton, doesn’t strikeout a lot. He hasn’t shown a ton of power throughout his career thus far, but he’s more of a gap-hitter anyway. Either way, the Tigers need to find a better option at the hot corner.