10 Players Detroit Tigers Could Consider To Replace Andy Dirks
10 Players The Detroit Tigers Could Target To Replace Andy Dirks
Yesterday, news broke that Detroit Tigers left fielder Andy Dirks will be undergoing back surgery. He is expected to be out for at least 12 weeks, and that puts his return in early June at the very earliest. Dirks was already thought to be on thin ice for the Tigers, due to his sub-par 2013 season, and his future with the Tigers' organization now seems uncertain. He may end up being "Wally Pipp-ed" out of a job.
Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has already stated that the team will be looking for internal options to play left field during Dirks' absence. However, Dombrowski has made similar statements in the past only to go on to shock the baseball world a few days later. One needs to look no further than the Prince Fielder signing after the Victor Martinez injury in Jan. of 2012 to see how the Tigers sometimes either "go big or go home" in situations such as these. Therefore, one should most certainly not rule out the possibility of the Tigers making a trade before Opening Day.
Some will say that in hindsight, the Tigers really should have gone after Nelson Cruz this offseason but time will still likely show that the Tigers made the right move by not pursuing him. One of the biggest reasons the Tigers were wise to avoid Cruz is because he is not a left-handed hitter, which is what the team needs more than anything right now. Dirks' injury means that switch-hitting Martinez and Alex Avila are the only two left-handed hitters who will be in the Tigers' everyday lineup.
At any rate, Dirks' injury means that a new possibility has been created for someone else. Without further ado, here are 10 options that the Tigers could consider to plug the gaping hole that now exists in their outfield.
10. Rajai Davis
The Tigers originally signed Rajai Davis to platoon with Dirks in left field. He has exceptional speed, but he is not a left-handed hitter. Furthermore, he has really struggled against right-handed pitching in recent years and hit just .228 against RHP in 2013. The Tigers would be wise to look for another left-handed bat to platoon with Davis in left, as opposed to considering him an everyday option.
9. Don Kelly
Don Kelly is the Tigers' longtime 25th man. His name most likely won't generate much enthusiasm among Tigers fans as he is just a lifetime .229 hitter. However, Kelly can always be expected to play solid defense and come up with the occasional big hit.
8. Trevor Crowe
Trevor Crowe is an outfielder who is a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. Crowe has seen time with the Cleveland Indians and also the Houston Astros, but he does not exactly have an impressive track record as a hitter which is evidenced by his .240 lifetime average. Entering play on Wednesday, Crowe has gone 0-for-8 in Spring Training games.
7. Ezequiel Carrera
Ezequiel Carrera is also a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He has seen time with the Indians as well as the Philadelphia Phillies. However, like Crowe, Carrera has not found much success at the big league level. He has just a .251 lifetime average in the major leagues.
6. Steve Lombardozzi
Tigers' utility man Steve Lombardozzi can play the outfield, and he could end up doing a very fine job out there for the Tigers in 2014. Lombardozzi had a lifetime .298 batting average in the minor leagues, and some believe that he has the potential to hit .300 in the major leagues if played regularly. Allowing Lombardozzi to play left would also create an opportunity for the Tigers to bring up another infielder such as Hernan Perez.
5. Jordan Lennerton
The 28-year-old Jordan Lennerton has patiently been looking for a break and he may have finally found it. Although he has never played any position other than first base in the minor leagues, perhaps the Tigers will consider letting him take a few fly balls in the outfield in Spring Training. It is also possible, but probably unlikely, that the Tigers could allow Lennerton to play first, move Miguel Cabrera back to third and shift Nick Castellanos back to the outfield.
4. Tyler Collins
Tyler Collins is a 23-year-old outfielder with a lot of power. He hit 21 long balls for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves last season which is more than any player returning to the Tigers hit besides Cabrera. He is currently batting just .143 in Spring Training, but if he gets hot he will certainly give the Tigers an interesting option to consider.
3. Daniel Fields
Daniel Fields is a player who Tigers fans have been hearing about for a while now. He hit .284/.356/.435 with 10 home runs and 58 RBIs for Double-A Erie in 2013. He still strikes out a lot, however. Fields is currently batting .286 this spring, and if he continues to perform well he may be given consideration to make the big league club at the end of the month.
2. Chase Headley
Spring Training trades are rare, but the Tigers could ask the San Diego Padres about third baseman Chase Headley. Headley was thought to be available all winter long for the right package, and he has a lot of power in his bat as evidenced by the 31 home runs he hit in 2012. If the Tigers were to acquire him, either he or Castellanos would have to play left field. Both have logged time in the outfield at some point in their professional careers. However, there is also a question of whether or not the Tigers would be able to acquire Headley without giving up Castellanos. It should also be noted that Headley is currently out with a calf injury, but he expects to be ready for Opening Day.
1. Andre Ethier
The Los Angeles Dodgers outfield has been crowded as a result of the emergence of the young phenom Yasiel Puig, and rumors have swirled all winter long about the Dodgers being open to moving either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier. Ethier would be the better fit for the Tigers as he is a left-handed hitter and he is less prone to injury. Ethier has posted impressive power numbers in the past, but the Tigers may be scared off by the fact that he is coming off of his worst season to date and is still owed $71.5 million over the next four seasons.