FanPost

Is Andy Ibanez likely our new 3B? Who will be manning the infield?


I keep wondering how aggressive Scott Harris will be in re-tooling the Tigers. I can imagine him going slowly and conservatively while the team's injured and weakened starting pitching staff rehabs in 2023, so perhaps we can speculate as to what will likely be the team's infield already with what we have.

Ryan Kriedler seems to overtaken Willi Castro as the reserve infielder, but he will probably compete to start at third base with recent waiver pick-up Andy Ibanez, who will likely also be on the roster. This would reward Kriedler, provide some seasoned talent too with Ibanez being 29 and a veteran of two partial seasons. Lurking in the wings is Andre Lipcius who I think is more likely to start the season at Toledo.

Second base might initially belong to Jonathan Schoop but a competition might heat up in the Spring if Wenceel Perez begins to come on strong. Perez has shown flashes of power at 203 lbs for a second baseman and, or shortstop. This might be a great way to introduce Perez to the team where he might surprise us as a more prominent player than anyone has yet to realize.

First base seems inevitably to belong to Spencer Torkelson, however this is where I will campaign for giving him a little more time in the minors and signing a veteran to be a bridge to bringing Tork back. Jose Abreau is my preferred choice because he is a far more consistent contact hitter than Josh Bell. Bell disappears for long stretches alot like I remember Justin Upton doing. He had lots of power,but it just seemed there it came in intermittent splashes here and there when it occurred. Abreau I think brings a bigger veteran presence and someone that could easily prove to be a very good DH later in year 1 or after Cabrera retires in 2024. The option still exists for Schoop to play first base if Tork doesn't seem quite ready, and Perez wows us in the spring to lay claim to a starting role at second base.

Somewhere along the line someone also mentioned the possibility that Tork could move to third for at least a little while, if a stud first baseman were cranking at the plate. The other scenario is that perhaps Colton Keith might start knocking on the door for a call up sometime in 2023 too. Then having options of where he and Tork best are positioned will need to be considered.

With considerable young talent that can affect second base, third base, as well as first base, the biggest question might turn out to be the short stop position. Is it foreseeable that Javier Baez might opt out of his contract, or will he definitely be the guy earning big bucks from the Tigers for a few more seasons? Perez is also a shortstop and Jace Jung might be become another second base consideration the Tigers will have to think about. Additionally, Christian Santana is an interesting prospect that could start to make more noise soon too. At least two other prospects that have at times been intriguing are Gage Workman and last year draftee Peyton Graham, but there are even others that could wind up being part of the discussion too.

Did I leap over first base too fast? I still keep coming back to wanting the security of a proven veteran hitter to be around. Losing Miguel Cabrera's presence this past year and likely more and more next year creates a void that a young team might really feel. If Jose Abreau's personality is as good as his hitting, I think he is someone to take a serious look at.

Perhaps the infield isn't complete without considering a catcher. Jake Rogers is due back, but after Tommy John Surgery will he immediately be ready to gun down runners? Eric Haase is a good hitter that can fill in as a back-up, but I'm not sold he should be asked to handle the everyday role. I am not a fan of Tucker Barnhardt, so I hope he's not still in the conversation. Willson Contreras makes a lot of sense to me to add hitting, and at 31 he reminds me of what Ivan Rodriguez brought to the team over a 4 or 5 year span.

I think this review covers a lot of territory that is the crux of what is most important to the Tigers. The pitching has a lot of development, rehabbing, and then close monitoring ahead. The outfield seems almost settled with several interesting youngsters to groom (Greene, Carpenter, Baddoo, Meadows, Meadows, and perhaps Keith). The infield has lots of new blood, but the final assembly should prove the most interesting to watch.

Come on Scott, give us a thrill and sign Abrea and Contreras. I really think these could be big pieces to the puzzle!

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the <em>Bless You Boys</em> writing staff.