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Detroit Tigers News: The Tigers’ Opening Day roster is almost set

With Opening Day right around the corner, we look at how the Tigers’ roster is shaping up.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Detroit Tigers
Your opening day sacrificial lamb
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, and welcome to your final Monday without real baseball for the next six months. It couldn’t come soon enough.

Now that Duke has eliminated UCF from the NCAA tournament, I have no further interest in college basketball — if I can’t root for a 7’6 gentleman by the name of Tacko Fall, I don’t want to root for anyone.

Start me up

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one, Jordan Zimmermann was officially named the Tigers’ Opening Day starter. When you have a guy who couples a 5.24 ERA in a Tigers uniform with a spring where he also posted a gaudy ERA (and not in the good way), I suppose you have to look around and realize that he’s your best option and then go cry in a dark and solitary place.

You can’t always get what you want

Thirty-two-year-old non-roster invitee Gordon Beckham was added to the 40-man roster over the weekend. It’s hard to look at his spring stats and say that Beckham didn’t earn the job. But the move leaves some folks questioning the value of hanging on to a guy like Beckham who, even if he plays well, may provide little value, both in usage and in trade, as opposed to taking a shot on the likes of Ronny Rodriguez, who was optioned to Triple-A Toledo.

I don’t know if it matters all that much in the grand scheme of things. Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer have second and short locked down, respectively. While Beckham is listed as the backup at both positions, I would hazard a guess we’ll see a lot more of Niko Goodrum there if he is hitting even remotely well. I guess there isn’t much harm in carrying Beckham on the major league roster while giving Rodriguez the opportunity to play baseball on a daily basis in Toledo.

Miss U, Drew

Just as the team was closing in on the final amalgamation of the 2019 roster, JaCoby Jones and Drew VerHagen — what with their randomly capitalized letters — went and threw a wrench in the works. VerHagen, who is suffering from inflammation in his forearm, isn’t as big of a deal considering all of the bullpen arms available (though it sucks for him, of course).

Meanwhile, after spraining his shoulder diving for a ball, Jones now appears to be set up for starting the season on the injured list. The organization will now turn to the next-best option(s) to patrol the vast expanse of Comerica Park’s center field. Mikie Mahtook and Niko Goodrum seem to be prime candidates to fill time, with a handful of minor league talent in consideration to join the party.

No expectations

If you’re searching for a bright spot in the starting rotation coming out of spring training, look no further than Spencer Turnbull. The young righthander has done nothing but step up and perform beyond expectations all spring. Now that the team is without Michael Fulmer for all of 2019, it seems as though Turnbull’s performance will be rewarded with the final spot in the starting rotation.

Turnbull has long been recognized for his pitching repertoire, and has little left to prove in the minors at this stage of his career. He may just get his shot at the big league rotation coming out of spring; it will be interesting to see what he does with it.

Can’t you hear me knocking?

In a quick glance toward who may be banging at the door from the minors in the not-too-distant future, Mac Squibb and Prospects 365 took a look at prospects with untapped power potential. Spoiler: the Tigers’ own Issac Paredes tops the list. Looking at pull percentage on fly balls, it was determined that the young Paredes seems to hold the potential to tap into some yet-to-be-seen slugging ability. I’ll take it.

Baseball is awesome

This is kinda fun.

Around the horn

The death of free agency in baseball. Justin Verlander extends his contract with the Astros through 2021. The oldest active players in Major League Baseball.