Detroit Tigers' Opening Day lineup leaves out key offseason acquisition

Feb 27, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Gio Urshela (13) bats during the
Feb 27, 2024; Lakeland, Florida, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Gio Urshela (13) bats during the / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers finally open their season on the south side of Chicago today at 4:10. After a much more eventful offseason than anyone expected from this front office, the Tigers have emerged as real contenders for the top of an AL Central that's sure to have a few surprises in store. If the Twins thought they had the division in the bag, they definitely need to start thinking again.

Tarik Skubal has been locked in as the Tigers' Opening Day starter for weeks now, after a great spring training coming off of an even better 2023 season cut short by injury. He's already earned early hype as an AL Cy Young candidate; if he can look anything like he did last season, he very well could have an argument for himself to be the first Cy Young winner to come out of Detroit since Max Scherzer.

But first, the batters. Kicking things off in the top of the first at Guaranteed Rate Field will be a healthy mix of the Tigers' highly-touted young players — including newly extended Colt Keith at second — and one of their offseason acquisitions in Mark Canha. However, a different new addition was passed over for an Opening Day spot in a surprising move by the Tigers. Gio Urshela will spend the first day of the season on the Tigers' bench.

Detroit Tigers release Opening Day lineup and pass over Gio Urshela for the start at third base

Urshela was a late addition who came in about a week after spring camp had commenced and was immediately thought to be the answer to the Tigers' woes at third base. However, we all know that AJ Hinch and Scott Harris love their floaters, and Andy Ibáñez, who had a fantastic spring training run, will be getting the start at third instead, while Keith gets his major league debut at second.

Another floater in Matt Vierling, who the Tigers seem quite committed to and also was a candidate for the third base spot, will return to the outfield with Riley Greene and another exciting rookie in Parker Meadows. All three are likely to cycle out with Canha, who will be the Tigers' DH today at the expense of Kerry Carpenter, another notable name to be passed on for Game 1.

Throughout his tenure as manager, AJ Hinch has spoken about the value he finds in versatile players, so this Opening Day lineup is far from the only one we'll see this season. Urshela, Carpenter, and yet another utilityman Zack McKinstry will all get their moments, but they won't be today.

The Tigers are coming. The rest of the AL Central should hold onto their hats.