Torii Hunter‘s age appears to be catching up with him, Austin Jackson has struggled, and Rajai Davis has come back to Earth after a sizzling-hot start. J.D. Martinez has shown impressive extra-base power, but the Tigers do not seem to think he is an everyday player. Don Kelly, the Tigers’ utility man and fifth outfielder, may be one of only four left-handed batters the Tigers have, but he is hitting only .247. His BA will likely be around his career .231 mark by the time all is said and done this season.
The Tigers do hope to get Andy Dirks back around the All-Star break, and he could certainly provide the team with a much-needed left-handed bat if he is healthy, but the Tigers do have a few other options if Dirks struggles upon his return or needs more time to rehab. One of those options is Ezequiel Carrera.
The left-handed Carrera came to camp as a non-roster invitee this spring, and he was sent to triple-A Toledo when he did not make the club. He has been tearing it up ever since. He currently has a slash line of .320/.404/.443 with nine doubles, three triples, three home runs, 21 RBIs and 25 stolen bases. He wouldn’t give the Tigers much power, but adding a lefty who can hit for average and steal bases would certainly be a welcome addition to the team.
The numbers that Cabrera posted in the big leagues during his stints with the Indians and Philadelphia Phillies don’t look too impressive, but perhaps he has turned a corner this season.
Carrera, as a matter of fact, would likely be a much better fifth outfielder than Kelly. Now that Eugenio Suarez has become the Tigers’ de facto starting shortstop, and Andrew Romine has been bumped back to the bench, the Tigers do not necessarily need Kelly to back up third base as Romine could fulfill that role. Therefore, the biggest reason to keep Kelly around is to back up the outfield positions — a job Carrera could probably do better.
The Tigers could desperately use another solid, dependable left-handed bat. Throughout most of the season, switch-hitting Victor Martinez has been the team’s only consistent left-handed threat. Alex Avila is still only hitting .221 and is on pace to strike out over 150 times, and Kelly and the switch-hitting Romine would hardly qualify as formidable. That is it for Tigers hitters who bat left-handed.
The trade market is rather thin, and the Tigers would most likely not want to take on the massive contract of someone who does appear to be available such as Andre Ethier. If the Tigers were to give Carrera a chance to play, they might be surprised by what the left-handed speed demon could give them.