Potential 2023 Detroit Tigers Opening Day roster as of right now

Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox v Detroit Tigers / Rey Del Rio/GettyImages
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Outfield: Austin Meadows, Riley Greene, Matt Vierling, Akil Baddoo

Things get even more interesting in the outfield. Riley Greene is pretty much locked into center field, as he should be. His defense was better than expected and his offensive potential is through the roof.

But the other two spots are not nearly as set in stone. Austin Meadows will 100% make the roster barring another injury, but how much outfield he actually plays remains to be seen. He's never graded out as a good defender. He played a lot of DH when he was with the Rays. He could play some with the Tigers as well.

The problem is the Tigers have a lot players who get get some time at DH this year, which we'll discuss shortly. Thus, I have Meadows slotted in left field.

Right field is where things get even murkier. For now, I'm going with a platoon of Akil Baddoo and Matt Vierling, though you could easily slot in someone like Kerry Carpenter for Baddoo. Vierling's splits against left-handed pitching are what allows for this to be a viable option.

In 2022, Vierling hit .296 with a 110 wRC+ against LHP compared to .217 with a 63 wRC+ against RHP. Baddoo has a 107 wRC+ in his career against righties compared to just a 52 wRC+ against southpaws. Both players are speedsters that can cover a lot of ground in the outfield. That could set up for a fun platoon.

Of course, if Baddoo continues to struggle, they could opt to give his spot to Carpenter, or even someone like Parker Meadows. Vierling could also see some time in the infield, as Scott Harris alluded to in his post-trade presser. Again, there will be lots of shifting guys around this season.

DH: Miguel Cabrera, Kerry Carpenter

Having Miggy on this roster complicates things so much. It would be so much easier if he wasn't here so they could use his spot on someone much more deserving. But alas, he's still here, and it sounds like it will indeed be his final season.

I still think the platoon with him and Carpenter at DH is the way to go. It would be a good way to limit Miggy's ABs, while also getting Carpenter some valuable ABs. Like it or not, the less Miggy plays, the better it is for both him and the team.

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