It seems like only yesterday when the Detroit Tigers called up a then 25-year-old outfielder named Brennan Boesch to replace an injured Carlos Guillen in late April of 2010. Boesch immediately caught fire and hit to the tune of a .342 batting average in the first half of the 2010 season. Although he would cool off considerably, he still ended the season batting .256/.320/.416 with 14 HRs and 67 RBIs and finished fifth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.
At first glance, it appeared that the right-handed heavy Tigers had finally found a solid left-handed stick who would be an integral part of the team for many years to come. Less than a handful of years later, however, Boesch is a man without a team after being released by the New York Yankees in July of 2013 to end his short-lived stint in the Bronx that was ailed by shoulder issues.
Rumor has it that Boesch, who will turn 29 in April, is healthy, has been training very diligently, and hopes to be given a chance to win a job with a big league team this spring.
Signing Boesch to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training would be a no-risk, high-reward move, and the Tigers may just capture lightning in a bottle. It may sound crazy, and there is a chance a reunion with Boesch could prove to be futile, but there is also a chance it might work. Serious questions remain about the Tigers’ lineup, and a healthy Boesch would give the team another option if Andy Dirks cannot regain the classic stroke he displayed in 2012.
The Tigers have been saving their money for extensions for Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera, which explains why the organization did not pursue the big-name left-handed hitting free agents who were available this offseason even though the Prince Fielder trade left the team bereft of a left-handed power threat.
The Tigers should give Boesch the same chance Matt Tuiasosopo was given in Spring Training last season and see what happens. If it doesn’t work out, the Tigers can choose to release him or keep him in Triple-A Toledo as an insurance policy.
After all, Torii Hunter will turn 39 next summer and Austin Jackson has spent time on the disabled list in each of the past two seasons. Therefore, it certainly couldn’t hurt to have an extra big league-worthy outfielder in Toledo who is just a phone call away.
If Boesch plays well enough to make the team, then the Tigers are going to have to make another roster move, which could involve Boesch taking Don Kelly‘s spot or the Tigers moving Jackson or Dirks to another team. However, the team will obviously have to worry about that decision if and when the time comes.
There has been a little bit of buzz surrounding the Tigers’ left-handed hitting prospect Jordan Lennerton recently, but he is merely one year younger than Boesch and has yet to accomplish anything at the big-league level. Boesch, on the other hand, does have a big league body of work to look at.
Boesch always played hard for the Tigers, and he deserves to have one more chance to shine in the Old English D. They should invite him back and see what he can do.