Sorry a few hours late on this one (but it doesn't extend the shelf life of the column, right?). Here's today's column in the News.
To be honest, I'm not completely sure Andy Dirks would make a good outfield starter. He had a good season in 2012, but his rookie 2011 year left a bit to be desired. That season he played into beliefs that he was little more than a fourth or fifth outfield candidate. Dirks is almost certain to see his numbers across the board fall in the coming year. But will they crash like Brennan Boesch's did when expectations are sky high, or will he still put together a season in which he does enough to help the Tigers achieve their goals? I can't tell you.
But I can say there's little in the numbers to suggest he shouldn't be given an opportunity as the Tigers starter or that Detroit's front office needs to go out and spend additional money to shore up the position.
Whether Dirks passes or fails the test we'll know six months from now. But if he fails, it's really not that big a deal. The Tigers do not need to rely on him in 2013. They have plenty of stars, both in the lineup and on the pitching staff. How Dirks does in 2013 isn't going to rocket the team to new levels or torpedo its chances. If he fails, there will be other players to find and give opportunities to in the second half.
So, give Dirks the first opportunity. I think we can all agree that he's earned it.