As Tigers' president and general manager Dave Dombrowski was announcing that the club had acquired David Price, the question in the back of inquiring Tigers followers had to be "who is going to play center field?" with Austin Jackson being sent to Seattle in the trade.
Dombrowski provided the answer to that question, saying that the club would use Rajai Davis and Ezequiel Carrera in center field.
As reported by the Detroit Tigers' website on MLB.com
Club president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said he anticipates there will be "some fall off" from the Tigers at the plate with Jackson's departure. But, he said, "I don't consider it a big risk."
"It's difficult," Dombrowski said of giving up a tenured Tiger like Jackson. "But I think you have to weigh it. We don't make that deal unless Austin's involved." That fact gave him an opportunity to promote Carrera, which Dombrowski said the organization has been grappling with how to do all season.
"I think we'll score enough runs," Dombrowski added. "We think Carrera and Davis can do a good job out there."
When asked about how he would fill the void left by Jackson's departure, Tigers' manager Brad Ausmus was thinking it over.
"I haven't decided that yet," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said when asked how the playing time will be divided between Davis and Carrera. "It'll be decided on a game-by-game basis, generally."
Carrera, a left-handed hitter, has been a pleasant surprise at Toledo. A true center fielder who is better known for his glove and his speed than for his bat, he has hit .307/.387/.422 for an OPS of .809 with six home runs, 41 RBI, and 43 stolen bases in 56 chances.
The 27 year old Venezuelan has some major league experience, playing in 131 games with the Cleveland Indians. In 405 plate appearances, he hit .251/.306/.339 for an OPS of .645.
Davis has played some center field in his career, in fact more than any other position in the outfield. In 448 games, he has a defensive runs saved (DRS) score of plus 3 runs for his career, while he is a negative 0.1 UZR/ 150. If those numbers reflect his current play, he's about average. He has been less than average in left field for Detroit.
Davis, however, is not viewed as a plus outfielder, despite his speed, and is not a particularly good hitter against right handed pitching. We might just see a platoon arrangement with Carrera getting the bulk of the playing time against right-handed pitching. We may also see Don Kelly, another left-handed batter, in the lineup when the Tigers face ground ball pitchers, where Kelly is actually productive at the plate.
The Tigers had previously announced that Andy Dirks -- who was supposed to platoon with Davis in left field this season before being sidelined for back surgery -- will begin another rehabilitation assignment in Lakeland, starting Friday. Dirks would have been the likely choice to take over in center field if he was not on the disabled list. He can remain on his rehab assignment for up to 20 days, but may not need all of that time to recover.
In another move, the Tigers have activated rookie left-handed reliever, Pat McCoy from the 15 day disabled list and optioned left-hander Ian Krol to Triple-A Toledo. McCoy was sent on a rehab assignment on July 21st to Toledo. Krol had become the weakest link in a weakened bullpen, having trouble particularly with the home run ball. He has three options remaining, so this would be the first of his options to be used.