It's the time we've all been waiting for. The playoffs are in sight and now the Tigers get to flex their muscles against the other titans of the American League.
The playoff roster is the next issue for management to tackle.
Jim Leyland never does exactly what we think he's going to. He certainly has no issue doing things his way. Because of this, there is not a set group of 25 that are the front-runners for the postseason roster. I have put together what the roster would look like according to common sense and have made five changes to this roster.
Making these changes could be the difference between a long and glorious postseason run and a first-round fizzle.
I know that Jacob Turner has not been overly effective in his brief stint with Detroit this season, but it is important that the Tigers put him on their playoff roster.
Turner has extremely good stuff and has the ability to rack up strikeouts. This could be invaluable in a longer stint or facing one tough right hander. He has shown the ability to get ground balls and has great poise.
Tampa Bay placed a young man with little big league experience on their postseason roster in 2008. His name was David Price. He ended up being a big help for them that year. Turner could turn in a similar type effort.
I will be the first person to say how much I hate Brandon Inge. I think that he is past his prime, a prime that really was never very good. He strikes out way too much. He has never taken a pitch to right field in his life. With that being said, he is the best third baseman on the Tigers' roster right now.
Wilson Betemit gave the Tigers a giant lift when he came over from Kansas City. He has served a purpose, but unfortunately is no better than Inge at this point. Inge provides much better defense and has been every bit as good at the plate.
I am not a fan of Inge, but dropping Betemit off the postseason roster is the best choice given his current health situation.
To say that the Tigers have some guys that could require a late-game pinch runner is an understatement. Cabrera, Ordonez, Martinez, Peralta and Inge are all well below average in terms of foot speed. Having a quality pinch runner on the roster could be huge.
Worth really has some value other than his speed as well. He can play several positions and is a good bunter.
I know that Alex Avila is a man and can catch every inning of every game. I am not debating that Avila is the best option behind the plate. The honest to goodness truth though, is that there will be a situation in which Avila will need to be pinch run for or replaced for injury.
Brandon Inge can barely walk after playing third, leaving him an inadequate defensive replacement. The thought of Don Kelly catching in a playoff game is laughable. Call it a hunch, but I really think that the Tigers are going to need a second catcher.
I know that Ryan Perry has been pitching well of late, but the fact of the matter is that he is not to be trusted. He has a big arm but has never shown the poise that it takes to be a dominant reliever in the bigs.
There are a lot of right handers in front of Perry in the pecking order at this point. I would rather Leyland use Alburquerque, Benoit, Valverde and Turner before I get to Perry. It is also very important that Leyland takes three lefties. Every team in the American League has a big left-handed bat. Being able to face them with lefties twice is huge.
1. Austin Jackson CF
2. Magglio Ordonez RF
3. Delmon Young LF
4. Miguel Cabrera 1B
5. Victor Martinez DH
6. Alex Avila C
7. Jhonny Peralta SS
8. Brandon Inge 3B
9. Ryan Raburn 2B
Ramon Santiago, Danny Worth, Don Kelly, Andy Dirks, Omir Santos
1. Justin Verlander
2. Doug Fister
3. Max Scherzer
4. Rick Porcello
Left: Phil Coke, Daniel Schlereth, Duane Below
Right: Jose Valverde, Joaquin Benoit, Al Alburquerque, Jacob Turner