Another spring training is upon us. Pitchers and catchers have reported and began workouts, and the positional players are not far behind. A week from now the Tigers will be looking across the field at the Atlanta Braves as the action begins to get real.
The Tigers enter this year with far more answers than questions. They've got a lineup all but set up. They've got a rotation with four names written in ink. They've got a bullpen with numerous veterans and little turnover from the World Series group of 2012. Not content to simply be there, the Tigers even added veteran outfielder Torii Hunter to the lineup to help shore up both defense and offense. And, of course, veteran DH Victor Martinez will be returning from a knee injury that kept him out of 2012.
But no team enters the season without a question or two to be asked. The Tigers are no different. The fifth starter is unsettled. Will it be Drew Smyly or Rick Porcello? (Or, longshot, will Casey Crosby somehow make his case louder than either?) Martinez will be back, but will he be ready? That's a major plot to watch as well. Finally, we have the question of closer. The Tigers have not handed the role to rookie (not a single major league pitch to his name) Bruce Rondon. But they've come pretty darn close and will have to fall back to closer-by-committee if Rondon doesn't grab the bull by the horns.
We'll explore all those questions in greater depth and hopefully tackle a few others in the coming weeks in this space.