Central Intelligence: Clawless Tigers
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AL West: Houston, We Don’t Have a Problem
AL East: New York State of Mind
Key Additions: Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer, Matt Moore, Tyson Ross
Josh Harrison, a two-time All-Star, will take over at second base. The Pirates declined his $10.5 million option and Harrison signed with Detroit on a one-year, $2 million deal. He can play multiple positions, but he figures to get the majority of his time at second base. During the last three seasons, he has hit .270/.317/.398.
Jordy Mercer joins the Tigers from the Pirates organization. He hopes to fill the middle infield hole left by Jose Iglesias. Over the last three seasons, he has hit .254/.324/.387 while averaging 10 home runs and 25 doubles. According to SABR’s Defensive Index, he was the third worst defensive shortstop in the NL last season.
Matt Moore and Tyson Ross signed one-year pacts in Detroit, and they will fight to be in the rotation. Moore was once considered one of the best pitching prospects in the game. Over the last three seasons, he has posted a 5.20 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Tyson Ross has put up similar numbers over the same stretch with a 5.21 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. However, Moore has pitched 270 more innings than Ross.
Key Departures: Victor Martinez, Alex Wilson, James McCann, Jose Iglesias
Victor Martinez retired at the end of last season and that leaves a hole in the Tigers offense. James McCann leaves a spot open behind the plate for Greyson Greiner to take over. Wilson pitched 60 innings or more in each of the last four seasons, but he wasn’t tendered a contract.
Since 2015, Jose Iglesias has started a minimum of 119 games at shortstop. He was an All-Star in 2015. Cincinnati signed him to a minor league contract at the end of February. Due to an injury, he will get to begin the year as a starter for the Reds.
Potential X-Factors: Nick Castellanos
It’s no secret that Detroit has been trying to deal Castellanos this off-season. He will be a free agent at season’s end. That being said, he is coming off a year where he hit .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 46 doubles. Entering his age 27 season, he might be playing for a decent off-season contract.
He’s played third base in the past, but he has shifted to the corner outfield in recent years. Corresponding with that shift has been a much-improved offensive player. His slugging percentage has been .490 or higher in each of the last three seasons.
Can he be part of the solution in Detroit? Or will a hot start from Castellanos result in a trade before the deadline?
FanGraphs Projected 2019 Record: 66-96
My Projected 2019 Record: 63-99
2018 Record: 64-98, (3rd Place in the AL Central)
2017 Record: 64-98 (5th Place in the AL Central)
2016 Record: 86-75 (2nd Place in the AL Central)
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