The start of the 2024 season is right around the corner, and as of right now, the Detroit Tigers' 40-man roster is full. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 14, the full squad reports on Feb. 19, and they'll take on the Yankees to kick off spring training before heading to the south side of Chicago to begin the regular season on the road.
With all of those dates creeping ever-closer, it's time to take a long look at the 40-man to see how these Tigers will look next to the competition. Are there players on that roster who shouldn't be there? There's still time in the offseason to make some changes, even though the Tigers have quieted significantly in these last few months.
3 Detroit Tigers who don’t deserve to be on the 40-man roster
The Tigers do love themselves a utility player. They have jacks-of-all-trades littered throughout the 40-man, including Matt Vierling, who they converted when he came to the Tigers from the Phillies. Vierling adapted well enough and picked up a positive OAA at third by the end of the season, on top of having a team-best OBP at the plate. McKinstry, meanwhile, put up a 0 OAA at the position and had a .231/.302/.351 batting line. He was more valuable at second base, but the Tigers also have Andy Ibáñez to shuffle between second and third -- and he hit much better than McKinstry in 2023.
And ... what's that right over the Tigers' middle infielders' shoulders? It's Colt Keith, with his six-year, $28.6 million extension, coming in to play second base for what FanGraphs predicts will be more than half the season. Letting McKinstry go could be an unfortunate case of needing to trim some fat. He could still be valuable in a trade; plenty of teams would love a versatile bench bat to employ on their regular players' off days.
McKinstry has been name-checked by Scott Harris throughout the offseason as a player the Tigers expect to use at third base in 2024, but letting him go could also cut through some of the noise and provide a little more stability to the lineup and out in the field. The Tigers clearly have players who could make up the loss.