With the recent fun some of us had predicting or wishing for next offseason in a recent comment session, I decided to offer a glimpse into all of the positions in 2011, placing emphasis on some of the more problematic spots on our team (weakspots, if you will), the current 2011 player(s) who would fill those spots, and Free Agents who could fill those needs. Feel free to chime in with critiques or wish list players I stayed away from.
To start, lets look behind the plate:
2010 Starter: Gerald Laird, 1yr, 3.95m
2011 Projected Starter: Alex Avila
2011 Projected Roster Moves:I believe DD will bring in a veteran catcher to play behind Avila this year, unless Laird breaks out this year and starts to hit at a clip around .250/.260. Laird's defense is not in question, only his bat, and if he does step up his offensive numbers, it will allow Avila to be groomed a little more for the position. That said, I think Avila gets the start next year, and someone like Josh Bard or a Molina (2 are free agents, Bengie and Jose) will come on the cheap with options like Victor Martinez, Ramon Hernandez, Rod Barajas and oh yeah, Joe Mauer occupying the market.
2010/2011,12,13,14,15,16 Starter: Miguel Cabrera
2011 Project Roster Moves:Potentially a Ryan Strieby-type hitter brought up to give Miggy's legs some rest, but other than that, no moves should be necessary
2010/11 Starter: Scott Sizemore
2011 Projected Roster Moves: After signing Ramon Santiago to a 2-year deal this offseason, I think the Tigers are set on this side of the middle infield for a few years. As long as Sizemore does not have an atrocious season defensively, I cannot see DD making any changes to this position for the next 5 years.
2010 Starter: Adam Everett
2011 Projected Starter: FA/Trade Acquisition, namely: Jose Reyes
2011 Projected Roster Moves: While this may be a bold prediction, I can see the Tigers pulling a deadline deal with the Mets with a package with one of our mid-to-top level bullpen prospects and a Ryan Raburn (a bit excessive IMO, but it may be what it takes, Reyes IIRC is very popular with the Latino population in NYC) to get Reyes, or offering him in the offseason for a good chunk of change off the ~$67 million that comes off the books. Santiago fills in here as well. Reyes is only 27, and with Sizemore, could provide a solid young core up the middle of the infield for the next 5 years.
2010 Starter: Brandon Inge
2011 Projected Starter: Brandon Inge
2011 Projected Roster Moves: While I do not like this at all, I am assuming Inge comes back with a respectable year at the plate and DD rewards him with a 2/3 year deal worth about $8/9mil per year. While I do not like it, the market for 3B in the FA pool is slim next year, with the exceptions of Bill Hall, Aramis Ramirez and Adrian Beltre, and all these three have player or club options, and the Tigers would be (ouch) wise to lock up Brandon.
2010 Starter: Johnny Damon
2011 Projected Roster Moves: While Carl Crawford would be #1b on my wishlist just slightly behind Jose Reyes, I think landing both he and Reyes would be a huge leap, even with the amount of payroll we have coming off the books. I know we have the ability to fill this hole internally with Raburn or Thomas, but the ability to pick up a Carl Crawford type talent would be hard to pass up, and I think (SPOILER FOR RF) one of our 4/5 OFs this year will take over for Magglio next year. Jayson Werth would be a nice consolation prize IMO, he has good power and I think he would translate to the AL rather well. Would not pay top dollar for either he or Damon however. (more than $6/yr)
2010/2011 Starter: Austin Jackson
2011 Projected Roster Moves: While I do not this Jackson will be ready at the beginning of this season, I do believe he will be rushed to the majors by DD and Leyland. However, this may be beneficial to his 2011 stats as he will have already had one full MLB season under his belt. I think this could potentially stunt his growth, however, with he and Crawford in the OF, our OFs may be worth saving 2/3 WAR combined. I believe Casper Wells makes the big league club as a replacement OF next year. I can see Clete as the backup here however...
2010 Starter: Magglio Ordonez
2011 Projected Starter: Clete Thomas
2011 Projected Roster Moves: I believe that Magglio will have a solid 2010 campaign. However, I do not think he reaches his PA and gets the $15mil extension in his deal, and his time as a Tiger will unfortunately be up. Farewell Magglio, I will keep your fond memories close. In exchange for Magglio, I believe we plug in Clete and flaunt one of the faster, rangier outfields in the game. If we were to add Crawford and Thomas to our OF, I truly believe we would be 2/3 wins better. FYI- my four outfielders next year (in conclusion) would be: Carl Crawford/FA, Austin Jackson, Clete Thomas and Casper Wells, with Wilkin Ramirez getting spot duty as the 5th OF. With the increase in payroll in LF and SS, I believe DD keeps Clete for around $1mil per year.
I will have a second post about bullpen and starting pitching later, however, my lunch break is about to conclude and I wanted to start gathering opinions. Fire away!