In January, I wrote an article in which I suggested that the Detroit Tigers should bring Brennan Boesch back on a minor league contract. In hindsight, that would have been an excellent move, as Boesch would have given the Tigers a left-handed bat and inexpensive outfield depth, which are two things the team could really use at the moment. There is also a chance that the Tigers could have captured lightning in a bottle with him.
Perhaps if the Tigers could have foreseen Andy Dirks‘ injury, they would have in fact taken a flyer on their old pal Boesch. However, the Tigers will now have to wait, as Boesch’s hometown Los Angeles Angels swooped in and signed him to a minor league deal on Jan. 28. Boesch is already off to a solid start in Spring Training, as he is currently hitting .294 with two extra base hits through his first eight games.
Although the Tigers missed out on Boesch this winter, it is not inconceivable that he could come back on the market at some point in time. After all, the Angels’ outfield is very crowded,as they have Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun out there. Furthermore, Albert Pujols will be at first base for the Angels and Raul Ibanez is expected to be the Angels’ primary DH in 2014.
Therefore, the Angels seemingly have nowhere to put Boesch other than on the bench. It is also important to note that the Angels are also expected to carry reserve outfielder Collin Cowgill, and veteran first baseman Carlos Pena is also in the mix for a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Someone is going to have to be the odd man out, and if it is Boesch, the Tigers need to be ready to pounce. Although the Tigers do have a few players who could help fill the void in left field, the hypothetical thought of Boesch returning to Detroit is far more attractive than almost every other potential solution that has been suggested thus far.
Boesch has far more big league experience than Jordan Lennerton, Tyler Collins and Daniel Fields. He also has a better track record as a hitter than Tigers’ non-roster invitees Trevor Crowe and Ezequiel Carrera do. There is also an argument to be made that he is more capable of being an everyday player than Don Kelly, Steve Lombardozzi and Rajai Davis are.
During Boesch’s tenure in Detroit from 2010-12, he reached double-digits in the home run category in all three seasons and even hit as many as 16 homers back in 2011 while posting a .283 batting average.
Although he had a very slow year in 2012 during his final season as a member of the Tigers, he still hit .240/.286/.372 with 12 home runs and 54 RBIs, which is almost certainly more production than the Tigers would get out of Kelly if they stuck him in left field full time. Boesch had a .259 overall average with the Tigers.
There was some speculation that the Tigers and Boesch may have parted ways on a slightly sour note in March of 2013, but the Tigers’ new coaching staff would give Boesch an opportunity to have a fresh start in Detroit. He was generally regarded as a well-liked player with the Tigers’ fanbase, and many Tigers fans would probably love to see him come back, especially if he can produce.
However, it is still quite possible that the Angels would like to keep the soon to be 29-year-old Boesch around as a bench player or stash him in the minor leagues as an insurance policy. That said, if the opportunity to bring him back to the Motor City presents itself, then the Tigers should absolutely not hesitate.