Here’s what’s changed since the Tigers were eliminated from the 2013 MLB Playoffs.
- Jim Leyland retired, and was replaced by first-time manager Brad Ausmus.
- Prince Fielder was sent to the Rangers in exchange for Ian Kinsler.
- Closer Joe Nathan was signed for two years.
- Outfielder Rajai Davis was signed for two years.
- Doug Fister was traded to the Nationals for Steve Lombardozzi and Ian Kroll.
- Drew Smyly was all but named the fifth starting pitcher
- Righty reliever Joba Chamberlain was added to the bullpen. One year deal.
- Free-agent set-up man Joaquin Benoit was allowed to leave.
- Free-agent Jhonny Peralta was allowed to leave.
- Free-agent Omar Infante was allowed to leave.
- Nick Castellanos won a starting spot at third base since Cabrera will likely play first in Fielder’s absence.
- Phil Coke was signed for one year.
As always, there were other movements within the farm system and some transactions such as Luis Marte and Danny Worth’s departure for Toledo.
2013 Detroit Tigers
2014 Detroit Tigers
|Lineup:||Austin Jackson||Austin Jackson|
|Torii Hunter||Torii Hunter|
|Miguel Cabrera||Miguel Cabrera|
|Prince Fielder||Victor Martinez|
|Victor Martinez||Ian Kinsler|
|Jhonny Peralta||Andy Dirks/Rajai Davis|
|Andy Dirks/Matt Tuiasosopo||Nick Castellanos|
|Alex Avila/Brayan Pena||Alex Avila|
|Omar Infante||Jose Iglesias|
|Bench:||Hernan Perez, Danny Worth, Don Kelly, Ramon Santiago||Steve Lombardozzi, Don Kelly, Hernan Perez, Ramon Cabrera/Bryan Holaday|
|Notes:||The 2013 Tigers stole only 35 bases. Worst in the Majors. They hit 176 home runs (7th in MLB), but never really found a way around the bases, often struggling to score more than three runs a game for long stretches.||Removing Jhonny Peralta and Prince Fielder from this lineup means two things: less extra-base power, and better baserunning. The Tigers are clearly interested in creating runs this year, with their additions of speed, and Jose Iglesias at short.|
|2013 Tigers||2014 Tigers|
|Starting Rotation:||Justin Verlander||Justin Verlander|
|Max Scherzer||Max Scherzer|
|Anibal Sanchez||Anibal Sanchez|
|Doug Fister||Rick Porcello|
|Rick Porcello||Drew Smyly|
|Bullpen:||Joaquin Benoit, Drew Smyly, Al Alburquerque, Phil Coke, Luke Putkonen, Bruce Rondon, Jose Veras, Jose Alvarez, Darin Downs, Jose Valverde, Jeremy Bonderman.||Joe Nathan, Ian Krol, Bruce Rondon, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Coke, Luke Putkonen, Evan Reed, Jose Alvarez, Al Alburquerque, others.|
|Notes:||Detroit’s 2013 rotation was quite good. The closer situation in 2013 was a mess at the outset, until Benoit stepped in and took over. It can be said that Detroit’s bullpen has been in question since 2010.||Losing Doug Fister shouldn’t prove to be too large a blow, if Porcello can pick up where he left off in ’13. Smyly, the rotation’s sole lefty, will have his work cut out for him. Besides adding a veteran closer and the lefty Krol, the Tigers, in the last two seasons have lost two very stable arms, Octavio Dotel and Joaquin Benoit. The bullpen will continue to trouble Detroit unless the they can get contributions from Alvarez, Reed, Kyle Lobstein and others.|