Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport
You can never count the Tigers out from making a big move. Last winter, it was the signing of Torii Hunter and the re-signing of Anibal Sanchez. The year before, it was Prince Fielder. Victor Martinez and Joaquin Benoit were signed prior to the 2011 season. The blockbuster trade that brought them Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer occurred the year before that.
There's no reason to think that things will change this time around, especially after failing to win a title during a run of three consecutive playoff appearances.
Here are some potential free-agent targets who could finally push them over the top.
Robinson Cano, 2B: Cano's potential $310 million asking price has been big news, as has the Yankees' interest in wanting to keep him in New York. What we haven't heard are which other teams aside from the Yankees could be interested in seriously pursuing Cano (pictured).
Now that the Dodgers are almost certainly out of the mix after signing Cuban second baseman Alexander Guerrero to a $28 million deal, the Tigers would appear to be the most likely candidate because of their need at the position and their abundance of resources.
Jacoby Ellsbury, OF: Austin Jackson had a solid season with a .754 OPS. He just wasn't nearly as good as he had been in 2012, when he posted an .856 OPS.
It doesn't mean the Tigers are looking for an upgrade so they could move him to the bench. But adding a center fielder/leadoff hitter like Ellsbury would allow the Tigers to move Jackson to a corner outfield spot and move him down in the order where he wouldn't be under as much pressure to strikeout less and get on base more.
Shin-Soo Choo, OF: Signing Choo would also allow the team to move Jackson down lower in the order, although he could stay in center field in this particular scenario. The on-base machine Choo might score 120 runs hitting ahead of Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, Fielder and Martinez.
Joe Nathan, RP: Shaky relief pitching in the playoffs has been an issue with the Tigers over the past two seasons. Signing Nathan, still one of the best closer's in the game at age 38, would put those concerns to rest.