By Tyler Leli @jetleli on April 15, 2014
The Detroit Tigers entered 2014 as prohibitive favorites to win the American League Central, and after two weeks they are atop the division with a 6-4 record. Things haven't been perfect along the way, but predictably reliable pitching has made up for a lineup that has been cold to date. Still, general manager Dave Dombrowski clearly wants to upgrade his roster sooner rather than later, and these five players are most likely to go.
Don Kelly is in his sixth season as a backup outfielder and third baseman for the Tigers, and once again he is a rather average option. Kelly has an unimpressive career slash line of .231/.291/.346, only 23 home runs in 918 at-bats and he maintains a negative WAR at every position he plays. While you can't have an All-Star team, the Tigers will look to sneak Kelly into a package for a power-bat to truly impact games off the bench.
Rick Porcello is the Tigers No. 5 starter, and despite being only 25 years of age it looks like he will never even become a mid-rotation arm. Over his five-season career, Porcello has averages of 14-11, 4.50 ERA, 197 innings, 5.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9. These are good but not great totals, and a continuous decline in velocity means that the 25-year-old may have hit his ceiling. Look for the Tigers to package Porcello for a player with more upside.
The Tigers have never really been able to find a proper role for Phil Coke, as they have tried him as a middle reliever, setup man, starter, closer and even a left-handed specialist. In 2013, Coke had a career-worst 5.40 ERA, and during the current season he has a dreadful 16.20 ERA in three games pitched. At this point, the player and team need a divorce from each other, so look for Coke to move for another lefty arm.
Austin Romine barely made it onto the Tigers opening day roster, and there is no chance that he remains after Jose Iglesias returns mid-season. Romine is a soft-hitting utility infielder, which means that virtually all of his value comes from his ability to play second base, shortstop and third base with great efficiency. With Alex Gonzalez providing a more veteran version and dependable utility man, Romine is a sure bet to leave town eventually.
The Tigers already spoke about trading Max Scherzer during the offseason, and with free agency impending the team may try to bring in a huge package mid-season. Everyone knows that Scherzer has a big frame, four-pitch arsenal and is coming off a Cy Young winning season, but at 29 years old it must be asked how much longer he will be great. Look for Dombrowski to pull off another stunner and get a huge haul for Scherzer mid-season.
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