Detroit Tigers 2010 and Beyond

Mark DuaneContributor IJanuary 17, 2010

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 23:  Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait during Photo Day on February 23, 2008 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

I will tell you it is really hard to get a read on Dave Dombrowski sometimes and where he is headed with 2010 and beyond. What position they need to upgrade for 2010 and Beyond. Within is my analysis and subject to change due to the dynamics of trades and prospects stepping up.

I think the only sacred cow here that couldn't be traded is Miguel Cabrera. His future is bright even with the immature incident. The kid has always been stand up and believe he will put this behind him.  That puts 1st base on lock down.

So, if we are looking for now and the future. We see every position as upgrade targets.

He has his potential for Center Field locked up with Austin Jackson acquired in the trade. Deeper prospects who will emerge in Casper Wells and Wilkin Ramirez.

Let me be a prognosticator here. I believe we have 2 solid Aces in Porcello and Verlander. I predict that Dave Dombrowski locks up Verlander long term very soon. We need an answer to Kenny Rogers being gone. A long term lefty. Not desired but required. You cannot beat the Yankee's in the playoffs without one good left handed starter.

Everett is a short term defensive fix at SS against left handed pitchers. Santiago can handle the duties with a right hand pitcher. Plus he provides fallback if Scott Sizemore is injured or not ready to compete at the major league level at 2B. Thus the 2 year contract for Santiago. Safety net approach. This gives our prospect SS Gustavo Nunez development time in the minors.

I believe Gerald Laird does not have a long future with the Tigers. The future is with Alex Avila at present. What a nice fit with a left handed bat. We did get Mike Rabelo back from the Marlins. Backup catcher at best and good backing up Pudge Rodriquez. Unfortunately we lost Dusty Ryan in our big trade of Curtis Granderson simply because we needed the roster spot. We also picked up Andy Bouchie who put up great numbers in the Independent league. So we have to assume 2 are for Detroit and 2 for the Mud Hens. After what happened to Gerald Laird, the drinking and the fight. I expect him traded soon or in Spring Training. 

I expect Maggs to return to form as well in 2010. Dealing with his wife issues in 2009 would wear on anyone. He certainly will be more of himself in 2010. Thus he will kick in one more year of contract. So right field/DH for one more year is very possible in 2011. His past record shows he will maintain the .300 average and can produce. I am not buying into the age decline like many with his stroke. His Home run totals may go down but when he is in the zone he is a RBI machine.

I really think the Tigers and DD are open minded for more trades. Left handed batter or switch hitter is high on the list. First or second. Positions are filled for this year but we need a long term Short Stop. I will add in, we need a long term 2B, 3B, Catcher and Left Fielder. For 2010 thinking the way Leyland thinks. We need a Right handed relief option for the Pen for 2010 and beyond. Jim Leyland likes to have balance in the Bullpen.

If we can move any bad contract with left handed pitchers thrown in for a long term replacement possibility for the above positions; that will be the answer to who gets traded between now and the end of Spring Training.

I can see now how Dave Dombrowski has some serious decision to make about 2010 and beyond. None are easy either. He will have to see who steps up in Spring Training. See who makes sense in trades. Trades develop with injuries and others needs.  Young positional players or Right handed relief will be targets. A top of the order bat would be handy and I certainly do not have the answer as of yet either.

Seriously looking forward to Spring Training and let the competition sort it out.

The future looks bright. Let the competition and trading begin.

Have some patience Tiger fans, the one thing that is guaranteed is change. Things are changing in Detroit. I love it. Give me the hungry boys who will give it all to make the majors. Have no fear and ready to PLAY BALL.

I thank John Church for his question who helped me think this article through. He asked my thoughts about trades now and the future. This is his answer but I had started an article about 2010 and beyond already. Thanks John. A little kick start goes a long way.

Stay tuned for more Analysis from Spring Training with articles and pictures.

Mark Duane