Getting back into a weekly routine that is known as the Detroit Tigers Monday notes. It has been quite some time since I have written these regularly. With the holidays upon us, some people have received the question of “what do you want for Christmas?” For those fortunate enough to celebrate, I am sure you respond with something you want, of course.
In my early 20s, I would ask my family for items I needed. Socks, underwear, the basic needs. Quite the change from the days when I was a kid and all I wanted was action figures and the latest SNES titles. That strategy of asking for what I required, benefited me for the year. I didn’t have to worry about clothes outside of the ones I wore for work.
So, how does strange holiday themed analogy tie into the Detroit Tigers off season so far? Well, one way to look at it is Detroit, as of this evening, has not addressed one of the biggest positions of need at the moment: third base. Tigers fans want a big bat in the lineup, but this need is just as important.
So what are the internal options on the 40-man roster? There is Ryan Kreidler and Andre Lipcius, and another, more unlikely option is Wenceel Perez. Perez spent time playing third at West Michigan in 2021, but made seven errors at the hot corner in 201 innings, and five in just 57 innings of work in 2022.
During the winter meetings in San Diego last week, manager A.J. Hinch hinted that Jonathan Schoop could see some time at third this season. Beyond that, newly acquired Justyn-Henry Malloy joins Colt Keith, Izaac Pacheco and Brendan Davis as far as prospects/depth at third base.
The free agent market has seen a lot of names come off the board recently. But several players still remain that the Tigers were rumored to be interested in, include Brian Anderson and Edwin Rios. Anderson, who is a right-handed bat, and Rios, a lefty, have both played multiple positions. But both have also been bothered by injuries. Either player could be a low-risk, high-reward signing.
One name that is still out there is Brandon Drury, who can also can play all over the diamond. But as mlbtraderumors.com reported earlier, the market seems to be “very active” and it appears there are no rumors of the Tigers signing the right-handed bat.
The Trade Winds
As far as trading options go, this part gets tricky. The suggestions for trades have to make some sense and not be laughable. Here are two ideas that could benefit both teams.
The Mets currently have several young infielders in their system, and playing time could be scarce for Mark Vientos, Brett Baty and Ronny Mauricio. Both Baty and Vientos played 3rd in the Mets system. Vientos, who is right-handed, has seen time at first too. He hit .280/.358/.519 with 24 homers, 16 doubles and 72 RBIs at Triple-A Syracuse, and he just turned 23 last week. Vientos has walked at an 8.9% clip for his career in the minors, double digits in the minors and has posted a wRC+ over 100 at every level. Like Kreidler, who was a late-season call up, there is a limited MLB sample size to work with.
Mauricio was just named the Dominican Winter League MVP for Licey. However, among the three, he is still has questions about whether he will be ready soon, and it’s highly unlikely the Mets would move him. With Vientos, the Tigers would have the ability to play him at both infield corners in case Spencer Torkelson struggles to start the season.
The Mets have an impressive starting rotation, led by former Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. But the average age of their rotation is 35.6. And they don’t have much in the way of pitching depth should they suffer a few injuries.
This is where the Tigers might be able to help. Detroit had issues with injuries last year, but with the signings of Matthew Boyd and Michael Lorenzen, they have pretty impressive pitching depth heading into 2023. The Tigers could conceivable part with Beau Brieske, Alex Faedo, Joey Wentz or even Matt Manning and still have plenty of arms.
Will the Tigers and Mets likely trade? It’s highly doubtful, but right now there is no clear answer for Detroit at third.
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(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)