Detroit Tigers: 4 position battles to watch throughout spring training

Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch talks to media members during spring training at TigerTown in
Detroit Tigers manager A.J. Hinch talks to media members during spring training at TigerTown in / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Spring training games start Saturday for the Detroit Tigers. Beginning that day, around 60 players will begin battling for 26 roster spots. Fortunately for them, there's no shortage of battles to participate in depending on what position they play.

Many spots on this roster are basically already filled. But others are very much up in the air. Players will have the next month or so to make their case to A.J. Hinch and Scott Harris as to why they deserve a spot on the Opening Day roster in 2024.

Looking over the roster and the spots available, there's actually more roster battles than I originally thought. Specifically on the position player side of things, there are more spots up for grabs than I realized.

So without further ado, here are four roster battles to watch throughout spring training.

Starting rotation spots

Three spots in the starting rotation are locked up, so long as they stay healthy — Tarik Skubal, Kenta Maeda and Jack Flaherty. The other two — potentially three — are all up for grabs.

The primary three candidates to look at are Reese Olson, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize. Manning seems like a good bet to make the team just because he has the experience. We would love to see Olson make it because he looked so strong down the stretch last season.

Then there's Mize, who hasn't pitched in a major league game in almost two years. How he looks this spring is going to be fascinating to watch. There is a chance he ends up in Triple-A to start the year to get some work in, but again, it all depends on how he looks in spring.

Other candidates include Sawyer Gipson-Long, as well as outside chances for prospects Wilmer Flores and Keider Montero. Both Jackson Jobe and Ty Madden have already been told that they won't make the team. All of these guys will surely get plenty of innings this spring, though Flores seems likely to be a reliever long term.

It's going to be interesting to see how the rotation pans out, and whether they stick with a five-man rotation or bump it up to six.