Now that we have been given an indication that JD may be out longer than we thought, the next move the Tigers make with the outfield will be an important one.
When the team broke camp, it made sense to give JaCoby Jones an opportunity to at least platoon in centerfield. He adds a lot to the team, but he doesn’t bring much offensively. At least not yet.
What he does bring is speed, energy and defense, all things this team lacks most. But the Tigers often lack for left-handed hitters. Under normal circumstances, their everyday lineup is loaded with right-handed hitters, which isn’t ideal.
However, as a result of the injuries sustained at the outfield position, it has opened a lot of doors. Regular play for Tyler Collins has really helped him get into an offensive groove. And regular play for Jim Adduci has made him a valuable piece from the left side of the plate as well.
All combined, you have a much more balanced Tiger lineup. And of course, speaking of lefties, the story in the early going has been Alex Avila, who has been the Tigers’ hottest hitter.
That’s potentially 4 left-handed hitters in the lineup together when a righty is on the mound (counting VMart). Meanwhile, on the bench, you still have Andrew Romine, another lefty bat, should you need another.
In the end, speed and defense should rule the day. A Jones return should mean a Mahtook departure. This is no time to mess with the lefties, which makes Mikie the best candidate to head to Toledo.
Pitching and defense. Yep, it’s the lethal combination that wins in the big leagues.
The Tigers have rebuilt their rotation with 3 young and very promising pitchers. And as we continue to watch them develop, the future looks bright. With Verlander anchoring the rotation, the Tigers are in good shape through this season and beyond.
But defensively, the Tigers are limited in their ability to make plays. Their strength is in the infield. Their defense up the middle with Iggy anchoring the left side and Kinsler the right, are ranked among the best in the game.
However, we know what awaits this team either at the trade deadline or after this season. The pillars are going to fall. The Tigers failed to make any deals to unload some of their expensive or about to be expensive talent prior to the season. All the same names were bandied about, but they are all still here.
Kinsler and JD were mentioned the most. Even Verlander and Cabrera made it into some of the storylines as Tigers that could be dealt. And, of course, Iggy.
It doesn’t take long to take for granted the talents of Jose Iglesias. When he first became a Tiger, fans raved about his brilliance at the shortstop position; he quickly became the anchor of the left side of the infield, taking lots of pressure off a still- developing Nicholas Castellanos. He was making the kind of plays we were not accustomed to seeing.
He has been a great shortstop in Detroit, one Dave Dombrowski felt could be a fixture at the position for 10 years. But Dave is gone and Mike Ilitch is gone and with them goes a philosophy we all say we don’t like anymore.
But we will see what we are able to get for these players. Defensively, shortstop is your most important position. So, I would be really careful about how easily we give up Iglesias.
My blog partner has reminded me of how big of a contract Iggy and his agent will command. But I am more obliged to invest further in someone we shouldn’t be so blasé about, considering the kind of play he gives us, night in and night out.
I don’t expect him to stay; which makes me dislike this part of the game. I love well-played baseball games where tough plays are made easy. And the fact that we may not have the continued pleasure to watch Iggy and his wizardry beyond this season really bothers me.