Detroit Tigers: Young and Lean Positions Suggestions

The reality is that the present state of the Detroit Tigers will not be the same in the future.

Detroit Tigers fans will have to get used to the fact that the team will change. Hopefully, the change will lead to more wins, more ticket sales, and a sustainable product that will keep fans entertained.

But, the reality is that the faces on the team will be different and the faces will not be All Stars. They will be young, lean, and cheap.

So, I wanted to offer a few suggestions for the 2017 position players that would keep fans happy, or at least buying tickets.

Sep 28, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) smiles from the dugout before the game against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Game called for bad weather after 5 innings. Tigers win 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

My first request to Al Avila is that he keeps at least one solid veteran who has a contract expiring soon or who is worth their contract. Those include J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Justin Verlander. Cameron Maybin and Francisco Rodriguez. I don’t know all of the details of their contracts, but I know that Martinez and Kinsler only have one more year with the Tigers. Verlander has a trade-worthy contract, because he is a durable pitcher who has seriously proved his value (and he might win a second Cy Young).  K-Rod and Maybin are assets on the field, in the clubhouse, and the bullpen so they could easily find spots on other teams.

I’m going to assume (yes, I know the whole saying about that word) that Miguel Cabrera will be the one man who won’t be traded away. His $30 million salary will be tough for any team to swallow – even for the future Hall of Fame player. And, Miguel Cabrera fills the seats at Comerica Park.

These are a few of the different options with and without the veteran players:

1st base: Cabrera

2nd base: Jordany Valdespin (Ian Kinsler)

3rd base: Nick Castellanos

Shortstop: Jose Iglesias

Right field: Wynton Bernard (J.D. Martinez)

Center field: Jacoby Jones (Cameron Maybin)

Left field: Justin Upton

Catcher: James McCann/Jarrod Saltalamacchia

DH: Victor Martinez

If all goes well, the Tigers will not be selling off the farm immediately. There are a few players who are no longer young and lean, but are most likely not tradeable in their current conditions. One of them is Victor Martinez. Unless he decides to retire or the Tigers offer him something in the front office, he will be on the team. The Tigers are on the hook until 2018 for $18 million per year for the aging DH.

The same goes for the pitchers who are on the staff through 2017. Expect to see Mike Pelfrey and Anibal Sanchez, unless a team really wants them. If the Tigers are able to get rid of them before their contracts are over, the Tigers will get young pitchers. Jordan Zimmermann makes $18 million in 2017, then he jumps to $24 million in 2018. Justin Upton is eating up $22 million in 2017. Unless teams want to make trades that take the contracts in whole, expect them to stay in Detroit, too.

If the Tigers are able to sell off any of the big contracts, it is safe to say that they will not sign more big contracts. Fans can expect to see young players fresh out of the Minor Leagues.

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