I’m not sure, but it already feels like we’ve reached the stage of spring training where we are starting to get the itch for this whole Florida baseball thing to wind down and let us head north. This cannot yet happen, nor should it. There are still position battles taking place, and spots are up for grabs. Let’s take a look at the progress and impressions through the first stretch of spring training.
Zimmermann looking pretty pretty good
I know it’s spring training and every performance, good or bad, should be taken with a grain of salt, but I’m finding it hard not to be at least a little bit encouraged by Jordan Zimmermann at this stage of the game. He took the mound for the second time this spring on Saturday and threw three good innings. The not-yet-named-but-probable Opening Day starter could do a lot to make this a more enjoyable season if he recaptures a glimmer of the pitcher the Tigers thought they were signing when they brought him to Detroit back in 2015.
BtBS and a not-so-sunny preview
The folks at Beyond The Box Score offer up a preview of the Detroit Tigers and boy is it grim. A lot of “mortgaging the future that is now upon us” talk is peppered with discussion about Casey Mize and a farm system that still isn’t ranked above mid-level. The piece points to the normal trade bait in Shane Greene and Nicholas Castellanos, but goes on to add in the newly acquired Josh Harrison. If you’re looking to get pumped about the upcoming season, I would not spend too much time with this article — even if it is a fair assessment.
Shortstop of the future?
Shortstop prospect Willi Castro, acquired in the Leonys Martin trade with the Indians last summer, has himself a fan in Alan Trammell. Tram had an eye on Castro when he was with Cleveland. After coming over to Detroit, Trammell has had the opportunity to keep an even closer eye on the young gentleman. To Castro’s credit, he is focusing on improving his offense, and is working on getting better in general. The good news? The right people are taking notice. Castro is getting the opportunity to show his abilities this spring, and the brass seems to be impressed.
Daniel Norris took the mound against the Yankees on Sunday afternoon and things probably could have gone better for the lefthander. He gave up three home runs in 1 2⁄3 innings and threw 47 pitches before he was removed from the game. Norris seemed frustrated. It’s still a bit early in spring training to worry, but Daniel is fighting for a roster spot. With some people already speculating that he will start his season in Toledo, he doesn’t have much room for error if he wants to break camp with the big club.
The right path
Tigers chairman and CEO Chris Ilitch made his first appearance at spring training on Saturday, and he said some words. While he expressed the same frustrations as the fans regarding the current state of the team, he’s excited about the direction the organization is heading, and feels that the team is on the right path.
Ilitch stated that the organization is dedicated to bringing the resources to the team that are needed for success. The focus, at the moment, is developing the young core of players in Detroit and on the farm. Ilitch reiterated his support for general manager Al Avila and Ron Gardenhire. When asked about how much the team will spend to compete and when that would start, Ilitch said that it was “almost impossible” to say.
Cabrera thinks he’ll finish in Detroit
Miguel Cabrera, returning this year from an injury that limited him to just 38 games in 2018, stated that he believes he will finish his career as a Detroit Tiger. He talked a bit about the new direction the club is going in and how he’s trying to work within that. I would love for Cabrera to start producing at a level where the possibility that he could be traded would be one that we could all seriously consider. But, if we’re being honest, the biggest reason Cabrera finishes his career as a Tiger is because he’s 36 and is owed too much money for too many more years.