If you follow Tigers Twitter there are a number of different candidates that Tigers fans would often put forward in response to this question. Austin Jackson, Curtis Granderson and Ian Kinsler are all among players who Tiger fans wanted to see return for a final bow during this offseason.
Each of the above players would hypothetically help morale in the locker room and establish playing the game proverbially the "right way" while being a dependable player each day.
There are players whom fans could want to see return on the basis of their ability to provide comic relief and manifest joie de vivre each day at the ballpark. Fernando Rodney, Brayan Pena and Phil Coke would all be among the top choices for players whom all fill that bill. I am sure that there are several players (Alex Wilson?) who are far funnier than we could even know, but their sense of humor does not have a public face on it.
For me as a die hard Tiger fan, my favorite type of player also comprises the type of player that I would most like to see return. I enjoy the small sample superstars who have performed well for a brief time (well beyond expectations) and generally through time after becoming exposed come back to their level of talent, but only after garnering an excited and breathless following.
Who would not like to see a red hot Chris "Red Pop" Shelton again? Alex Presley and Jim Adduci fans will not soon forget their surprising success at the end of 2017.
I would give anything for a crushing line drive from Brennan Boesch or a young Matt Joyce looking like he could become the future of the franchise.
J.D. Martinez inhabited this status briefly, but he is the rare example of somebody who harnessed their stretch of high performance and continued to sublimate sustain their brilliance.
Who would not like to see a return of the "Q Clap", with Quintin Berry enjoying the most success of his career? Who would not want to see Armando Galarraga pitch at the level he pitched during his 28 out perfect game?
The pinnacle of this type of player for me would be 2006 Joel Zumaya. In an era before Rob Friedman’s Pitching Ninja Twitter account, Zumaya’s brief greatness was absolutely breathtaking and almost superhuman.
Numerous times over the years I have revisited Zumaya pitching to the then best player in the world, Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) in the 2006 ALDS. Zumaya rendered A-Rod a broken man with an absolutely devastating, well located fastball that made Rodriguez appear absolutely helpless at the plate.
We all sadly know how the mercurial Zumaya ‘s career ended and in many ways, like one of his forebears Mark Fidrych, Zumaya’s body revealing proven that he too wore wax wings makes his too brief greatness all the more superlative.
We will always wonder what could have been and under what circumstances (or alternate universe) things might have turned out differently. This consideration helps us to see these players for the human beings that they are and provide another avenue for projecting our own dreams, without ceasing to end hope for another chance.