Usually the Hot Stove League is over when Spring Training comes around, but this season the two threaten to overlap. Soon, pitchers and catchers will report, so it’s not too early to talk about what to expect in Lakeland.
As always, Holly and Kurt have not shared their responses to the topic below in the interests of offering a wide range of perspectives. Let’s see what they have cooking this week.
Spring training is almost upon us. What is the one single thing you will be most anxious to see in Lakeland?
While it would be really nice to see the return of Miggy to his old self, this really is about the future. I need to see the Tigers looking forward…moving forward… and not just treading water.
I don’t want to be wandering through the wilderness for years, waiting for the Tigers to rise above .500. There needs to be a sense of urgency about this rebuild which means that the Tigers can’t be hanging onto the past.
They can’t be clinging to players once presumed to be stop-gap solutions and now possibly may become entrenched on the roster.
So the sooner they move along, the better, so they can gauge the rookies earlier and make the necessary changes more quickly.
This means that I want to see the promising players more than I have in the past spring trainings. Give them all a long, hard regular look instead of the occasional auditions.
I think Ron Gardenhire is more capable of doing this that the previous two skippers who either played their favorites or were too intimidated to bench the veterans.
What I’d really like to see is the promise of youthful talent who show solid skills on the field and revisit the feeling we all had when we saw the likes of Tram, Whitaker, Parrish and Morris rising through the ranks decades ago.
The spring of 2019 will kick off the ‘anchor watch’ which may not qualify as one single thing, so forgive me.
The ‘anchor watch’ will consist of another spring of taking a hard look at the likes of Jordan Zimmermann, Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris, whose performances have not lived up to their billing and are holding the team back.
Jordan Zimmermann and his neck injections should continue to scare the life out of us. There is a limit to what we can expect from him, given his health. And considering everything, his limitations make him a very expensive liability.
Michael Fulmer’s injuries have hurt the team’s ability to trade him. Not long ago, he was one of our top trade prospects. However, injuries and surgery took him off the block.
Daniel Norris enters a pivotal season as the Tigers have been patiently waiting for things to click for him. Just an injury-free year may be all he needs, but his failures seem to mess with his confidence.
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