The Detroit Tigers' 2023 season hasn't gone particularly well and frankly, it probably was a bit much to expect them to contend this soon. Going into the final game of the regular season, the Tigers are seven games below .500 and 10 games out of a playoff spot. Again, not fun for anyone involved, but Detroit is at least in second place in the AL Central.
With all of the fanfare surrounding Miguel Cabrera's farewell tour, it is hard not to think about what might have been if the Tigers had been able to hold on to some key players from their recent past. In fact, when you really look at it, you can get pretty close to building a playoff contending roster from former Tigers players who are still active right now.
Building a playoff contending roster out of former Detroit Tigers players
The rules here are pretty straightforward. Only currently active players are eligible and players must have actually played in the Tigers' organization previously (former prospects are okay). Also, a player had to have played at a given position at some point to get that roster spot, although being a bit loose about WHEN they played at a position is okay just to make this exercise possible. This also isn't going to be a full roster as that would be next to impossible and also incredibly time consuming, but all the positions do get some love.
Here's what a potential playoff contending roster out of former Tigers players looks like and frankly, it is better than you may think although it certainly has some issues.
C - James McCann
McCann was a pretty easy choice because, well, there are not a lot of former Tigers catchers that are active and/or worth having other than him. McCann was in Detroit from 2014-2018 and has posted a .652 OPS this season in Baltimore.
1B - Jeimer Candelario
Moving Jeimer over to first base is a concession that needed to be made to fill out this roster even though he is more valuable as a third baseman. Jeimer's production in Detroit from 2017 to 2022 was all over the place, but he has put together a pretty nice season in 2023 with an .803 OPS and 3.0 rWAR this season.