Detroit Tigers may rely on Andy Ibáñez more than was anticipated.
The Detroit Tigers have been quiet. They have left holes within the organization and have only made minimal acquisitions to improve the team's roster. While there is still time, the lack of signings has to worry some about what the 2023 season could hold.
The way things are looking now, the Detroit Tigers will be nose-diving to the bottom of the American League (AL) Central Division and remain there for the entirety of the 2023 season. With holes across the depth chart, they have to do something.
Even with President of Baseball Operations Scott Harris claiming he wants to keep at-bats allotted for some of the younger players, it's not grounds to neglect to sign a player to fill that role. In the meantime, the quality options at these positions continue to fly off the board before the Tigers do anything.
When it comes to the team's third base position, something will have to be done. Right now, a ground ball hit to third is going to be stopped by Ryan Kreidler, who is still quite green and needs his seasoning out there to become an everyday big leaguer.
There was talk of moving Jonathan Schoop to third base, which then leaves a hole at second base to fill. Andre Lipcius is another infielder who may get his looks at third base, but he's still young and even more inexperienced than Kreidler, having never made his big-league debut.
Taking all of that into account, it seems like Andy Ibáñez is going to be called upon more often than was initially expected. A little over a month ago, Harris grabbed Ibáñez off waivers from the Texas Rangers.
The 29-year-old infielder has the capability of playing first, second, or third base. In 2022, he spent most of his time at the hot corner but can move around as necessary. The catch is he's only played in 116 career games.
Ibáñez played 40 games during the 2022 season, where he managed a .218/.273/.277 slash line with four doubles, a home run, and nine RBI over 128 plate appearances. That is not exactly the stat line of someone you trust to play a majority of the team's games in 2023.
When he was claimed, the expectation was that he provided a versatile defensive glove and a right-handed bat to use off the bench as needed. He was also expected to slot in to allow players days off at times.
With the Tigers failing to do anything on the free agent market to address their infield, Ibáñez looks like he might be in the lineup more than some expect. It's a concerning situation for sure. At some point, there has to be some questions about the plan for the 2023 season because right now, it looks more and more like a 100-loss season.