The Detroit Tigers’ search — if you want to call it that — for a center fielder has been the bane of fans’ existence this offseason. All around the league, teams are signing capable players to affordable contracts while the Tigers sit idly, waiting for the right deal to come their way. The palatable names on on this list are dwindling, as the Tampa Bay Rays signed Colby Rasmus to a one-year deal on Monday.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like the Tigers are doing themselves any favors. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the team “has not had serious discussions” with Jackson’s camp. While Jackson probably isn’t your first choice to man center field in 2017 — especially after he missed the second half of last season due to knee surgery — he’s a capable defender with league average upside. This doesn’t sound great, but it’s better than the Tigers’ current in-house options.
Rasmus wasn’t a perfect fit for the Tigers, but a one year, $5 million contract seems awfully team-friendly for a player with four-win upside. Rasmus’ defense in center might have been suspect, but he’s a capable hitter that would have added depth in the corners or at designated hitter should Victor Martinez get hurt.
Here’s a top prospect the Tigers will not sign
According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, Cuban prospect Luis Robert defected from his home country in November. The 19-year-old outfielder might try to nail down a contract before the new MLB collective bargaining agreement kicks in on June 15. After that date, international spending restrictions get a lot tighter. The days of another Yoan Moncada or Rusney Castillo signing are numbered.
Of course, this matters little to readers of our site. The Tigers have shown little interest in top international talent over the years, and have all but ignored big-name prospects like Robert since Dave Dombrowski departed. Here’s the part of Badler’s article that would get your hopes up.
With a strong, powerful build at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Robert stands out for his physicality, athleticism and performance record, both in Cuba’s youth national leagues and in Serie Nacional. His bat speed and raw power from the right side are plus, with the speed to play center field at least for now, though as he fills out he could end up in a corner. There is some swing-and-miss in his game, but at the time he left Cuba, Robert was leading the league in OPS.
My guess is he lands with the Atlanta Braves.
Around the AL Central
Speaking of closing windows, the Cleveland Indians aren’t looking at one. Former No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken is their No. 6 prospect heading into 2017. South Side Sox are talking themselves into something called a Willy Garcia. Twins fans are either pondering the meaning of life or starting fights on the internet.
I’m a physical therapist and I’m still not sure how this happened
Get well soon, Max.
How I feel when football is over
<arrives at happy hour>— Danny (@recordsANDradio) January 10, 2017
Coworker: please don't drink too much this time
Me: I can handle it
Coworker: stop it