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Detroit Tigers News: Goodbye football hello spring

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We’re less than two weeks from the start of spring, so let’s consider the Tigers infield options, and investigate the league’s latest scheme to de-juice the baseball.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Minnesota Twins
Is this a look we should get used to?
Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Football is over. I didn’t see much of the game, but apparently Tom Brady went out and did Tom Brady type things, Patrick Mahomes didn’t get a lot of help, Andy Reid Andy Reided all over the place, and everyone made funny jokes on Twitter about The Weeknd’s halftime show. We now have a shade over a week until pitchers and catchers report. Let’s talk baseball.

Spring invites

With pitchers and catchers set to report on February 17th, the Tigers released the official list of 55 players invited to spring training this season. You can get more particulars from the article, but some of the notables from the list of 15 non-roster invitees include the likes of Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Dillon Dingler, Kody Clemens and Zach Hess.

Messing with the ball

It looks like MLB is making some changes to the ball for the upcoming season. Apparently loosening the tension of the winding in the core has resulted in a slight reduction in the weight and the bounciness (yes that’s the term used in the article) of the ball. How heavily this changes things for the upcoming season is yet to be seen, but the initial impression is that we’re going to see home runs drop across the league. Additionally, five more teams will be required to store baseballs in humidors in their home parks. I don’t necessarily agree with the belief that we need to reduce home runs, but if that’s what the league is looking to do, this will likely meet that goal. The thing is, if they aren’t simultaneously doing something about strikeouts it seems like we could be setting ourselves up for some pretty low scoring games in the near future. A lighter ball potentially more affected by spin and seam alignment might only exacerbate the issue.

Do we need a first baseman?

With the recent re-signing of Jonathan Schoop, the organization answered one of the questions of the off season in who would be playing second base. Now heads are turning to one of the corner spots to speculate on what might happen with first base.

We have offered a pretty extensive review of what possibilities lie at the other hot corner here looking at some free agent possibilities as well as what lies within the Tigers system. Jules Posner at Forbes jumps on the train with some of his musings, and he thinks the team could likely use who they have on hand, and the options get pretty inventive. There’s the standard assumption that Jeimer Candelario will split time with a sparingly used Miguel Cabrera. Beyond that players on the roster with experience at the spot are Niko Goodrum and Harold Castro. After those two, things get pretty out of the box with consideration given to Jonathan Schoop if perhaps the team wants a different option at second base.

A.J. Hinch has a history of getting creative in how he deploys players and what is likely is that a hot bat is going to be found a place in the lineup, however that has to happen. For Schoop’s part, he seems interested in showing some versatility, so I guess we’ll see.

Slumping toward Lakeland

The last time we checked in with the winter ball adventures of one Isaac Paredes he was swinging a pretty hot bat. Things have cooled considerably since then. After hitting .379 in the Mexican League he moved on to the Caribbean Series — which is an amalgamation of the best players from the various winter leagues — where he promptly went 2 for 20 with one triple and two walks.

There are a few things to consider here. This is a very small sample size, and could very well just be a flukey short stretch. This could also be the result of coming up against a much better caliber of pitcher in the Caribbean Series. With a few exceptions, he’s faced pitchers equivalent to Advanced-A ball levels in Mexico, so success was expected. He’s due to report for spring training where he’s slated to play third and face no small amount of good pitching. I guess we’ll get a better look at where things are then.

Fangraphs on the Schoop signing

With an in depth look at Jonathan Schoop Brendan Gawlowski at Fangraphs sees a player that started with great promise and then faded into obscurity. That doesn’t sound so great, but that’s not the end of the story. He notes that Schoop pretty quietly put up some good numbers over his past two seasons, when he could play.

A more in depth look at the stats isn’t going to get anyone excited, but the conclusion of the exercise is that while teams are taking big gambles on upside there’s something to be said for the “stable competence” that Detroit will likely find with a still youthful veteran like Schoop at second base.

Around the horn

The top five opening day moments for the Tigers. Longtime baseball correspondent, Pedro Gomez, dies at 58. Trevor Bauer signs with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who’s left on the market with spring camp just around the corner. Amid an uncertain future, Christin Stewart is inspired by Willie Horton.