When the season comes to an end the Tiger players, coaches and front office personnel have some serious concerns to address. The beginning of the 2008 season dreams of a World Series title.
The season began and the dream of a World Series title to "they can still reach first", to "they can maybe win the wild card", to "hopefully they can finish .500", and now to "please don't drop to fourth in the division".
The past season showed the problems in the bullpen, and other important spots on the roster. I look ahead now to what the Tigers should do in the offseason.
C: After a trade of "Pudge" Rodriguez to the Yankees, Brandon Inge takes over behind the plate. I don't see the Tigers doing much to improve here since Inge is a great defensive catcher even though he will only hit about .240 if he plays everyday.
I would hope that Detroit would take a catcher in the first round of next years Rookie Draft though.
2009 Starter: Brandon Inge
1B: Another spot that does not bring concern. Miguel Cabrera moved to first base after struggling at third and got better defensively every game and now has even looked better when he stretches for a ball on a close play.
2009 Starter: Miguel Cabrera
2B: Placido Polanco has been as solid as possible the past two years at second base. I don't see him being traded but I could see a trade for a second base prospect or signing a minor leaguer that could be ready in a year or two.
2009 Starter: Placido Polanco
3B: Carlos Guillen has played four different positions in the last two seasons and I'm not sure he will play third next season. Guillen can play left field and Detroit is looking for a solid, everyday left fielder.
Also, I could see Guillen as the DH next season if the Tigers get rid of Sheffield. The Tigers would have to trade for a third baseman because the free agent market at third is shallow. Mike Hessman had a career year at Triple-A this past year hitting over 35 home runs.
2009 Starter: Mike Hessman
SS: Many fans are pretty much chasing Renteria out of Detroit and they want a big name shortstop to take over. Well, they won't get that. I don't see the Tigers resigning Renteria unless they plan to sign-and-trade. In limited time this season, Ramon Santiago hit around .300 with a stellar glove. I see the Tigers taking a chance on him.
2009 Starter: Ramon Santiago
LF: Ah, many questions to be answered here. The committee of left fielders seem to Marcus Thames, Matt Joyce, Clete Thomas, Ryan Raburn and possibly Carlos Guillen.
I can't see Thomas or Raburn in the majors next season, but I do see Thames as a pitch hitter and Joyce as possibly a fourth outfielder. Guillen will most likely take this spot because of the pop he adds to the lineup.
2009 Starter: Carlos Guillen
CF: No question who is in center for the Tigers next season. Curtis Granderson is getting better against left handed pitching and will play 95% of the time. His backup will most likely be either Raburn, Inge or Thomas.
2009 Starter: Curtis Granderson
RF: The Tigers need to free up cap space and Magglio Ordonez may be the way free some up. He has a big salary of almost $15 million a year and has not had the power that Detroit has expected out of him.
I could see a trade for a starting pitcher and a few prospects in exchange for Maggs. Raul Ibanez has been tossed around in Detroit and I see GM Dave Dombrowski signing Ibanez who will ask for around $8 million a year.
2009 Starter: Raul Ibanez
DH: Gary Sheffield is done in Detroit, plain and simple. I see him being traded for a reliever to help in the bullpen. If the D'Backs don't resign Adam Dunn, the Tigers will take his 35-plus homers a year and add it to the middle of the lineup.
2009 Starter: Adam Dunn
SP: Verlander, Rogers and Bonderman are locks for a spot in '09. Armando Galarraga, 2008's surprise, will likely get a chance in the rotation if not, a long relief spot in the bullpen. The other candidates for spot No. 5 are Nate Robertson, Freddy Garcia, Dontrelle Willis, Zach Miner and Eddie Bonine.
I highly doubt Bonine and Miner are even in consideration for the job. I can't see a much longer relationship between Robertson and the Tigers after Nate struggled bad in 2008. But, do the Tigers want to go out and get a A.J. Burnett, Mark Mulder or an Oliver Perez? We will have to wait and see.
2009 Starters: Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Dontrelle Willis
RP: The biggest questions lay here with the 2009 team. Some players are definite for a spot next year, those being; Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. Those three have been very up and down their entire careers, so depth is needed.
I could see the Tigers signing LaTroy Hawkins who was talked about during the trade deadline last season and maybe, Juan Cruz from the Diamondbacks. Other choices would be Manny Corpas, Damaso Marte and Joe Borowski.
2009 Bullpen: Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney, Zach Miner, LaTroy Hawkins and Bobby Seay.
CL: Another big question for the Tigers. Last season the duties were shared by Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya and Fernando Rodney. I believe Todd Jones won't be resigned by the Tigers.
Some premier closers will be on the market including Fransisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez, Brian Fuentes and Kerry Wood. Detroit needs this the most so I think they can spend some money here, I see K-Rod a Tigers next season.
2009 Closer: Fransisco Rodriguez
My Projected 2009 Detroit Tigers Lineup
My Projected 2009 Detroit Tigers Rotation and Bullpen