Detroit Tigers: 5 roster battles to watch in spring training
Spring training has begun. Here are some position battles to watch for the Detroit Tigers.
Some pitchers and catchers have already reported to spring training. The Detroit Tigers are beginning preliminary workouts down in Lakeland. It is a sight to behold.
With that, the attention now turns from the offseason to the preseason. It's time to figure out who will be starting for the Detroit Tigers in 2023.
There are a ton of positions that are unsettled at the moment. There are numerous players that will be battling it out for the chance to head north with the team when spring training comes to a close.
Some of these positions have some serious logjams. These things usually sort themselves out, whether it be due to injuries or performance. But you can't really plan for that stuff. For now, we can only guess.
Today, we're going to look at five roster battles to watch for the Detroit Tigers during spring training. We've got a lot to talk about, so let's get started.
1. Third base
The most obvious one. There will be at least six players that will be vying to be the Opening Day third baseman for the Detroit Tigers this season. Scott Harris didn't bring in a major league-caliber third baseman this offseason, so the Tigers are stuck with what they have internally.
I went through a list of players that could win the job last month, and most of that still rings true. Like I said in that piece, the Tigers likely won't have an everyday third baseman this season. A.J. Hinch will probably move some guys around.
Guys like Ryan Kreidler, Nick Maton, Andre Lipcius, and even Jonathan Schoop are all slated to compete for the third base job this spring. But there is one name I didn't name who sounds like may have a better shot to win the job than I originally thought, and that's Andy Ibanez.
Ibanez was claimed off waivers from Texas back in November. He was the Rangers' Opening Day third baseman last season, but that was thanks in large part to an injury to top prospect Josh Jung.
Ibanez is 29 and has hit decently at every level of the minors. He doesn't walk a ton and doesn't hit for much power, but he makes contact and doesn't strike out a lot. Even if he doesn't win the third base job, I think there's a good chance he makes the roster as a utility guy.
Who will step up and take the third base job? We'll just have to wait and see as the spring unfolds.