The offseason is upon us. We're now deep into the postseason. The Detroit Tigers obviously are not in the postseason, but they have a huge opportunity to become a playoff team in 2024.
With some smart and savvy moves — and even a few risks — the Tigers can reach the postseason for the first time in a decade. As we've stated before, this is a massive offseason.
Today, we're going to have a little bit of fun. We're going to show you guys our way too early 2024 Opening Day lineup. But before we continue, we have a couple of disclaimers.
There will obviously be come hypatheticals involved here. This lineup will include players that currently do not play for the Tigers. The names coming from outside the organization are mostly here to serve as an example.
The other thing is that this will only include the starting lineup of position players. The pitching rotation will come at a later date.
So without further ado, here's our way too early 2024 Detroit Tigers Opening Day starting lineup.
1. Parker Meadows, CF
We like Meadows in the leadoff spot for a couple of reasons. Yes, he strikes out a lot, but he will also work counts and draw walks. He puts up good at-bats.
The second reason is obviously his speed. He showed elite sprint speed at times last season in his brief stint in the big leagues. He could be a serious difference maker at the top of the order.
2. Riley Greene, DH
It sure sounds like Greene should be ready for Opening Day despite undergoing Tommy John surgery last month. He'll likely DH for a good portion of the season, similar to what Bryce Harper did for the Phillies.
Simply put, when he's healthy, Greene is the Tigers best hitter. He should be hitting at the top of the order. The 2-hole seems like the perfect spot.
3. Spencer Torkelson, 1B
Give us Tork in the 3-hole all day. If he's going to hit for as much power as he was hitting for last season, we definitely want him hitting behind Greene and Meadows.
We saw a semi-breakout for him in 2023, but the real breakout could be just around the corner. With just a few more tweaks, Tork could easily become a 35-40 home run hitter every season.
4. Kerry Carpenter, RF
The main reason we have Carpenter in the cleanup spot instead of flip-flopping him with Tork is we don't want three straight lefties at the top of the order. This gives a bit more flexibility at the top.
Plus, this gives Kerry Bonds an opportunity to be the productive hitter he was this season. If he can get the power stroke he had most of the year back, he and Tork could make for one heck of a 1-2 punch.
5. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. , LF
Here's our first outside addition. Gurriel is currently with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and had a great regular season. He's coming a 2.1 fWAR season, which is the highest of his career. The 24 homers were also a career high.
The 30-year-old should not cost very much in free agency. He can also play the infield in a pinch if the Tigers need him to. This would be a great signing if they can get him.
6. Jonathan India, 2B
Our other hypathetical, the Tigers could use someone a bit more steady in the infield, and word on the street is that the Reds could be looking to move on from India this offseason. We already established that the Tigers and Reds could make for good trade partners this offseason, so why not swing a deal here?
India won the NL Rookie of the Year in 2021, but has struggled with injuries and inconsistency since. He was the fifth overall pick in 2018, so he has the pedigree. Perhaps a change of scenery could help him out.
7. Jake Rogers, C
Rogers works best at the bottom of the order despite the power he provides. The low average and strikeout numbers make it tough to hit him much higher.
That being said, somebody needs to provide some thump at the bottom of this order. Why not Rake Rogers?
8. Colt Keith, 3B
Keith would be making his MLB debut in this scenario, and rightfully so. He's more than earned it. Heck, he should have been up a long time ago.
We have him in the eight spot as to not overexpose him right away. If he proves to be a force, maybe he can move up in the order later in the season.
9. Javier Baez, SS
The moment you've all been waiting for. Yes, the best way for the Tigers to move forward with Javier Baez as shortstop is if he hits ninth.
He's going to be the shortstop next season, like it or not, so they have to try to make the best of this situation. This is the best way, unless he proves otherwise.
Maybe finds his stride again and he gets bumped back up in the order. But for now, he hits ninth.