This is what I think the 2010 Tigers roster. My reasons/analysis is in parentheses.
C. Gerald Laird and Alex Avila. (Avila showed good poise at the plate and will give Laird the rest he seemed to need).
1B. Miguel Cabrera. (Concerns about Cabrera's possible drinking problem overshadowed the first baseman at the end of the year. Hopefully any problem or lack of focus will be corrected in the off season, as the Tigers will be counting on Cabrera to carry the offense next year).
2B. Scott Sizemore and Ramon Santiago . (Sizemore is the most likely to be the second basemen next year with Santiago splitting time there and SS).
3B. Brandon Inge. (Inge played in 161 games this year. He is set to have surgery on both his knee's, and is expected to be healthy by the start of spring training).
SS. Adam Everett. (FA). (I expect Everett to sign a 2 year deal with the Tigers that will pay him slightly more then he made this year. Santiago will be the back up).
RF. Magglio Ordonez. (The Tigers hope Magglio starts 2010 the way he ended 2009. If he is going to reach the plate appearance he needs for his 2011 contract to kick in he will have to).
LF. Clete Thomas or Brennan Boesch. (Manager Jim Leyland has said he expects Guillen to be a 9 inning lestretchft fielder. Guillen has said he wants to play the whole game and not be removed for a defensive replacement. While I think Guillen is capable of playing LF, I think he ends up as the everyday DH and only playing in the field to spell the regular outfielder. Thomas has the edge, but Boesch is a left handed batter with some pop (28hr, .275 avg.) he needs to cut down on his strike outs, but he is an interesting prospect to watch).
CF. Curtis Granderson. (There have been several discussions about the possibility of trading Granderson for bullpen, infield, rotation, or any combination of help. I don't think the Tigers are ready to do this yet, as Casper Wells and Wilken Ramirez aren't quite ready to jump to the majors. I expect Granderson to start in center).
DH. Carlos Guillen. (Guillen wants to play everyday, and the Tigers need his bat in the lineup to help protect Cabrera. Thames wore down and I don't believe he will be brought back. The Tigers would love to be able to trade Thames to a NL team where is power off the bench could be best utilized).
Utility. Clete Thomas or Brennan Boesch. (I think one will be the everyday LF the other will take the fourth outfielder position).
Utility. Ryan Raburn or Don Kelly. (Raburn has shown good pop and above average ability in the outfield. He has a cannon for an arm and is also able to back up several IF positions as well. If Granderson is traded the Tigers could try him in CF. Kelly has good speed and is able to play most infield/outfield positions. He is another possible CF replacement if Granderson was traded).
1SP. Justin Verlander. (Proved that last year was just a bump in the road. Verlander is as close to a lock for 220+ innings 250 K's and an ERA around 3.5).
2SP. Rick Porcello. (Candidate for AL ROY after winning 14 games and finishing with an ERA below 4. Expect Porcello to improve on all of his numbers in 2010).
3SP. Edwin Jackson. (After beginning the season on a tear he struggled down the stretch. The Tigers are hoping it is just part of the maturing process for Jackson. I expect Jackson to post similar numbers next season).
4SP. Jeremy Bonderman. (The Tigers tried to rush Bonderman back before they realized how much rehab was going to be necessary for him to fully recover from his off season surgery. Bonderman's pitching at the end of the year give the Tiger's hope he will be able to regain his consistency. I expect Bonderman to win about 10 games with an ERA a little above 4).
5SP. Eddie Bonine, Nate Robertson, Armando Galarraga, Dontrelle Wills, or a minor league surprise. (The fifth spot in the Tiger's rotation is completely up for grabs. The Tigers would prefer to have a LH starter and Robertson pitched better down the stretch after mid season surgery to remove bone spurs on his throwing elbow. Bonine pitched well the last 3 starts of the year. Galarraga and Wills are trying to bounce back. My guess is Robertson will win the 5th spot in the rotation unless Wills suddenly is able to pitch again. I expect Galarraga and Bonnie to pitch out of the pen/minors).
Zach Miner, loser(s) of the 5th rotation spot, Bobby Seay, Ryan Perry, Fu-Te Ni, Joel Zumaya, and Brandon Lyon. (For some reason I think the Tigers are going to be able to resign Lyon to a reasonable two year deal. If not I expect Casey Fien, Cody Satterwhite, or Clay Rapada to take the final spot in the bullpen. Miner and the loser of the rotation battle will handle the long relief while Seay and Ni are the LH specialists. Perry will be a set up man and Zumaya and Lyon will battle in Spring Training for the closer job. If Lyon is gone Zumaya will be counted on to stay healthy and close).
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