clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Detroit Tigers News: What we’ve learned and what remains unanswered

The “great roster crunch” is upon us, and big decisions need to be made.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

MLB: General Managers Meetings Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The long-impending “great roster crunch” is nearly nigh, as the Detroit Tigers are expected to announce their 40-man roster on Wednesday. After a season that left the fanbase with many more questions than than in recent memory, they can expect to finally get some of the answers they yearn for when the roster is released. For a rebuilding team, these decisions can leave long-lasting ripples down the road if the wrong move is made.

Two things we learned, two things we are wondering

Evan Woodbery at MLive took a look at the questions surrounding the Tigers as the roster crunch takes form. While recent history has shown that the offseason hot-stove has been anything but hot, there are some pressing needs that warrant attention heading into the Winter Meetings.

First off, there is the catcher position, where the rookie tandem of Grayson Greiner and Jake Rogers — plus John Hicks and Bobby Wilson, who were not good — were underwhelming in their debut campaigns, at best. The Tigers will need to bring in a veteran presence to stabilize the position, as well as provide mentorship for the young catchers.

Another question is who will play shortstop on Opening Day. The team currently has Niko Goodrum and Willi Castro as the primary options for the position, but both leave a lot to be desired. While it would be prudent for the Tigers to pick up a low-cost veteran to throw in the mix, it is most likely that the team will look internally for any solutions.

The next point resurrects a meme from years past here at Bless You Boys: “Can he play second base?” Harold Castro and Ronny Rodriguez are players currently on the roster who can field the position, albeit not very well on the glove side. Much like at short, the keystone spot would greatly benefit by having someone who is not an AAAA-level performer, but it will take a free agent on the cheap to convince the brass to upgrade the position.

Finally, there is the question of who will manage the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens, which is a bigger deal than usual. With the rebuild in full swing, the team needs someone at the helm who can help polish up the prospects before they hit the big show, as well as manage the carousel of players who will inevitably be rotating in and out of northwest Ohio.

The Tigers have a hefty task ahead answering these questions, as these decisions will have both near and long-term repercussions. It also represents what might amount to the most excitement the fans will get until spring training begins.

Joe Jimenez is a key part of the future

Anthony Fenech at the Detroit News breaks down Joe Jimenez and why he is so important to the Tigers’ rebuild. The mercurial reliever has seen some significant ups and downs — unfortunately more of the latter. After representing the Tigers at the 2018 All-Star Game, he has struggled to get back to the success he enjoyed earlier that season.

While he has had a straight-forward path to the closer role, he has failed to prove himself worthy, and that is why the team is in limbo with Jimenez. Armed with a blazing fastball, he has failed to develop a solid secondary pitch, though his slider has seen some improvement. Some scouts believe he still has some untapped potential, though not all agree.

At the end of the day, it is still too early to give up on Joe, though his ceiling might be that of a set-up man and not a closer. But for the time being, the Tigers might as well send him out in the ninth and help him work on his repertoire. A good closer is hard to come by.

More bad news for Detroit sports

It has been rough rooting for the Detroit-area sports clubs the past several years, and 2019 has been no exception. Not one single member of the city’s four teams have even sniffed the .500 mark this year, with the Tigers going just 47-114, the Lions at 3-6-1, the Detroit Red Wings going 7-12-3, and Pistons posting a 4-9 record thus far.

Winter is here. Lions and Tigers and Pistons and Wings... OH MY!

What hurt worse?

The Tigers History twitter account asked a poignant question: Which is worse, the 2009 Game 163 season or the historically awful 2019 campaign? Give your answers in the comments, and on Twitter if you so inclined.

Base hits

Around the horn

Rob Manfred says he doesn’t think sign stealing extends beyond the Astros. The big questions about the 2020 BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot. Flu-Like Symptoms: Taking stock of 2019 preseason predictions. Five things to watch on the 2020 Hall of Fame ballot.

Baseball is awesome