Detroit Tigers Release Gary Sheffield: Who Replaces Him as DH?

Rudy DominickCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 05:  Gary Sheffield #3 of the Detroit Tigers watches the action during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 5, 2009 in Lakeland, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers released Gary Sheffield today, paying him $14 million to hit his 500th home run in a different uniform. 

Sheffield is a potential Hall of Famer, nine-time All-Star, and just missed out on a Triple Crown in 1992, still ending that season with a batting title.

Rumors are Sheffield may end up with his hometown Tampa Bay Rays.

This comes a day after the Tigers traded reliever Rudy Darrow to Atlanta for Josh Anderson, a left-handed outfielder with tons of speed.  Anderson played 40 games for Atlanta last year and stole 10 bases; he had 280 total steals during his minor league career. 

Darrow was sent to the minors earlier in the spring.

This leaves a lot of question marks.

Which player will take Sheffield’s place as designated hitter? Older veterans Magglio Ordonez and Carlos Guillen could reduce wear and tear on their bodies by becoming the DH—both have incurred several injuries throughout their careers. 

Maybe Marcus Thames will get his chance to prove he is an everyday Major Leaguer, instead of being a power hitter off the bench or a substitute outfielder.

The possibilities are endless. If Jeff Larish, a left-handed power hitter, takes over the DH position, one that he played last year, the Tigers could have three left-handed hitters in their everyday lineup. 

Curtis Granderson, Anderson, and Larish would be the lefties, while Guillen is a switch hitter.

This brings a major change to the Tigers lineup days before the season starts.  It appears General Manager Dave Dombrowski has a vision for this year’s Tigers team, and it seems it will include a more balanced lineup.