Detroit Tigers: 5 roster battles to watch in spring training

Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays v Detroit Tigers / Douglas P. DeFelice/GettyImages
3 of 5

3. Corner outfielder

Riley Greene will man center field and Austin Meadows will take a corner, probably left field for the Tigers in 2023. But who's going to play right field? That's still very much up in the air at the moment.

It's worth noting that whoever ends up losing the starting job probably makes the team as the fourth outfielder, and there will probably a cast characters playing the outfield for the Tigers this season. But we still don't know who will start on Opening Day.

The three main contestants will likely be Akil Baddoo, Kerry Carpenter, and trade acquistion Matt Vierling. For Baddoo, this is a huge spring for him. He needs to get back on track after a horrible 2022. If he flounders again, his time as a big leaguer may be up.

Carpenter's concerns come defensively. He hasn't looked very good in the minors or in the majors in the outfield. But if he keeps hitting, it's going to be hard to keep him off the roster. He might have to split time at DH with Miguel Cabrera.

Then there's Vierling. Acquired in the Gregory Soto trade, Vierling is a very good athlete who has a lot of potential. Personally, I want to see a dead sprint battle between him and Baddoo if the battle is too close to call toward the end of spring. Whoever's the fastest wins the job.

All jokes aside, a platoon in that last corner outfield spot is very possible. The right-handed hitting Vierling crushes lefties, and Carpenter and Baddoo both hit righties pretty well. At the end of the day, I think all three of these guys make the roster. The question is what role they play.