Will The Tigers Have A Decent Year? JT Offers Up His Thoughts.
Pitchers and catchers report this week and as usual by the end of March, teams will have a pretty good grasp of strengths and weaknesses. It'll be no different for the Tig's. On paper the Tigers seem to have put together a decent baseball team. They should be competitive if the team’s pitching remains healthy and Tiger hitters outside the three, four and five holes put together good seasons.But this doesn’t mean the Tigers don’t have some serious questions with their lineup.
We'll start with 2nd Base. Carlos Guillen won't start the regular season & remains out till March with a knee injury but lets face it, the guy won't be able to put together a full season of play without another injury. He's a broken down horse that couldn't pull a rickshaw with one of the anorexic Olson twins riding in it. Last thing we need is this guy out there bumbling around at 2nd base all season. Bye Guillen. Get your hobbling a__ off 2nd and find a gig coaching somewhere. Ok, thats harsh. How about a DH role for two seasons. There, I feel better now.
Two youngsters await in the wings to take over when Gullien is "officially" put out to the DH pasture. The battle comes down between Scott Sizemore and Will Rhymes. Sizemore is the favorite because he was handed the position last season after the Tigers, albeit mistakenly let Placido Polanco walk after 2009. Problem was, he had never quite healed from a foot injury and was sent down to Toledo mid-way through the season. Will Rhymes finished the 2010 season at 2nd and did a remarkable job. Sizemore did hit at the end of last year, so maybe he will figure it out. Personally I like Ryhmes. Just a good, gritty player. Reminds me of a David Eckstein type.
Leftfield could be the biggest problem. Raburn is a streaky hitter, who hits well against lefthanders. That’s why Brennan Boesch, who had a phenomenal first half last year and flopped in the second half, will need to show he has a power bat to be a major leaguer. If not, then prospect Casper Wells, the team’s best fielding outfielder not named Austin Jackson, and perennial Clete Thomas will be slotted into leftfield.
Other notable mentions: Brandon Inge. He needs to hit more that 20 home runs and be something near .250. That will be difficult. Jhonny Peralta will need to knock in about 80 RBIs and at least 15 homers.
If catcher Alex Avila doesn’t hit in the first 40 games, look for him to ride the pines as Victor Martinez takes over most of the catching responsibilities and Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez handle the DH duties.
Personally, I wouldn't expect Avila to meet those numbers and Martinez will catch 100 games or more. It might be the best scenario as Guillen and Ordonez at DH will allow the Tigers to get better fielders in the outfield and at second. Just one humble mans opinion - whats yours?