The Detroit Tigers have more momentum coming off of the 2023 season than they've had in a long time. Despite losing Miguel Cabrera, they have a host of young names in Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, and Kerry Carpenter who are expected to step up and be real competitors for first place in the AL Central next year. Still, there's work to do in the offseason, and with the Winter Meetings coming up soon, the Tigers should go in with a solid to-do list. Here are the basics of their trip to the Winter Meetings this year.
What are the Winter Meetings?
The Winter Meetings are an annual conference of Major League Baseball's owners, executives, managers, agents, and so on who come together to negotiate trades, sign free agents, and generally get their teams into more solid shapes ahead of the coming season. These meetings are the centerpiece of every offseason, where most of the biggest trades and signings take place. During Winter Meetings in 2007, the Tigers traded six players to the Marlins for Miguel Cabrera. This year, Winter Meetings will be held from Dec. 3 - 6 in Nashville, TN.
What could the Tigers do at Winter Meetings?
Pitching is a concern for a lot of teams this offseason, and the Tigers are no exception. The rotation lost Eduardo Rodriguez to free agency and, even though they'll be gaining Casey Mize coming back from Tommy John, they should add at least one more arm to their current lineup of Mize, Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Reese Olson. Starting pitchers make up most of 2023's free agent class, and they run the gamut in terms of cost. Even if the Tigers won't be looking for a brand new Opening Day starter, another arm to take some pressure of the bullpen should be a priority for the Tigers in Nashville.
The infield is also an issue, third base specifically. The Tigers mostly employed Matt Vierling, who adapted to third as a trained outfielder, throughout 2023. The market for third basemen is relatively slim, with the most high-profile possible signing being Matt Chapman. However, former Tiger Jeimer Candelario, Gio Urshela, and Jean Segura are also available and could be points of interest during Winter Meetings.
Rule 5 draft
The Rule 5 draft, made up of minor leaguers with 4-5 years of service time, also takes place during the Winter Meetings. Only teams without a full 40-man roster participate; as of writing, the Tigers have two open spots after moving Nos. 7, 11, and 26 prospects Wilmer Flores, Dillon Dingler, and Keider Montero to the 40-man in order to protect them from the draft.
MLB Draft lottery
The second MLB Draft lottery, wherein the 18 non-playoff teams will draw to determine draft order in 2024, will also take place during Winter Meetings. The Tigers have a 1.6% chance of drawing first position, but will more likely end up picking 10th, down a few places from this year's draft.