The end of March is rapidly approaching. We are now less than a week away from opening day. With that in mind, I decided to announce my 25-man roster based upon what I have witnessed so far this spring.
CF A. Jackson
LF J. Damon
RF M. Ordoñez
1B M. Cabrera
DH C. Guillen
3B B. Inge
C G. Laird
2B S. Sizemore
SS A. Everett
2B/SS R. Santiago
IF/OF D. Kelly
IF/OF R. Raburn
C R. Diaz
I am quite certain that Cabrera, Ordonez, and Damon will all have a solid year. With that being said, two things concern me. The biggest factors in the lineup are health and rookie production. Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge must remain healthy and contribute to an offense that ranked just 11th in the American League last season.
Both Inge and Guillen must put up strong numbers. Yikes, as I type the words I start to CRINGE . Rookies Scott Sizemore and Austin Jackson must continue their minor league success in the show. It sure sounds like we have our work cut out for us this season and I failed to even mention the names Gerald Laird and Adam Everet.
Earlier in the month it was announced when Verlander , Porcello, and Scherzer would pitch. The remaining two question marks in the rotation were the two and five slot. Verlander had already been named opening day starter and Porcello had been penciled in for the home opener. Scherzer was announced to start the third game of the opening series.
With Scherzer being known for running up his pitch count quickly, it makes sense to have an inning eater like Nate Robertson in the two spot. In a similar situation, with the re-surging Dontrelle Willis in the fifth spot it allows Verlander to follow him in case the bullpen has been over worked.
Jeremy Bonderman seems like a good fit for long relief to me (at least to start the season). The move would allow him to get his feet wet by logging some low pressure innings. Despite having veteran south paw Bobby Seay on the shelf , the lefty combination of Phil Coke and Fu-Te Ni is pretty solid. Adding rookie phenom Robbie Weinhardt to the mix of Joel Zumaya , Ryan Perry , and Jose Valverde completes a pretty solid bullpen from top to bottom.
Jeff Larish had a solid spring but is the odd man out. Perhaps Tigers brass will finally do the right thing and let him make the move to third base. Our organization is very thin depth wise at the hot corner. In the few games I saw Larish at third this spring it wasn’t great but it was encouraging enough to consider him making the move.
Clete Thomas also had a great spring and is perhaps deserving of the final bench spot. He has more power and his defense is far superior to utility man Don Kelly . However, Kelly is out of options and is able to play both corner infield positions. It wouldn’t surprise me though to see Thomas back in Detroit very soon.
Alex Avila should start the season in AAA Toledo. He would greatly benefit from the opportunity to further develop his game by playing daily. While his bat is more than ready, his skills behind the plate could be better. However, Diaz is not currently on the 40-man roster which makes the move both difficult and unrealistic.
Brad Thomas will probably make their opening day roster for a couple reasons. He has no options remaining and south paw Bobby Seay is on the disabled list. Despite having a 2.45 ERA this spring, Thomas did not impress me. Although he is not on the 40-man roster, Robbie Weinhardt would be the better move in my opinion. Then again I’ve been pushing for Weinhardt since day one.
Eddie Bonine also has a strong possibility to crack the opening day roster. However, it is almost certain that it would be in a relief role. I would prefer to let him begin the season in AAA Toledo as a starter.
While I hope that the D-Train's dominance continues into April, let's just say I feel a little skeptical. If Bonine begins the season in Toledo as a starter, he could serve as a solid insurance policy baring the inevitable train-wreck named Willis.
I encourage you to rant, rave, and most of all list your own 25-man roster below.