Detroit Tigers


The Detroit Tigers have lost 98 games in each of the last two season and their record might not be any better this year.
The Tigers finished third in the American League Central last season but that was deceiving as the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals lost in triple digits. Detroit, meanwhile, enters its second season of a major rebuilding program and was hit with the bad news late in spring training that right-hander Michael Fulmer, the 2016 AL Rookie of the Year, will likely need Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery.
Coming up through the farm system are a bevy of pitching prospects. Included is right-hander Casey Mize, the first overall pick in last year’s amateur draft from Auburn. However, few of them figure to reach the major leagues this year.
Team MVP: Nicholas Castellanos

Right fielder Nicholas Castellanos is likely in his final season with the Tigers as he is eligible for free agency in November and does fit the youth movement at 27. He had the best season of his six-year career in 2018, hitting .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 89 RBIs in 157 games.
Best-Value Pitcher: Matt Boyd
Eligible for salary arbitration for the first time over the winter, Boyd signed a one-year contract for $2.6 million. That is a significant raise from the $562,000 he made last season.
Though veteran right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is scheduled to start the opener March 28 against the Blue Jays at Toronto, the 28-year-old Boyd is now the Tigers’ best starting pitcher and comes at a reasonable price. He was a bright spot in a dreadful 2018 season, going 9-13 with a 4.39 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 31 starts.
Best-Value Position: Jeimer Candelario
Switch-hitter third baseman Jeimer Candelario fizzled after a hot start last season. He wound up batting .224/.313/397 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs in 144 games.
The Tigers still have high hopes for the 25-year-old and plan to bat him cleanup this season. He’ll be a low-cost No. 4 hitter as his salary figures to be just over the $555,000 major-league minimum as he is not yet eligible for arbitration.
Best Addition: Josh Harrison
Second baseman Josh Harrison was still on the free-agent market when spring training opened, and the Tigers got him at a bargain rate. They signed the31-year-old to a one-year, $2-million deal that also allows for Harrison to make an additional $1 million in performance bonuses.
Harrison played in just 97 games last season for the Pittsburgh Pirates because of injuries and hit just .250/.293/.363 with eight home runs and 37 RBIs. However, he is a two-time All-Star and should provide
leadership to a young team as well as a steadying influence on the lineup from the leadoff spot.
The X-Factor: Miguel Cabrera
First baseman Miguel Cabrera was limited to 38 games last season before undergoing biceps surgery and finished with a .299/.395/.448 line, three home runs and 22 RBIs. That is a far cry from his AL triple crown season in 2012.
Cabrera is now 35 and untradeable with four years and $124 million remaining on his eight-year, $240-million contract. The Tigers are hoping Cabrera has something left and can provide needed punch to a weak lineup. He is 35 homers away for 500 for his career but it might be asking a lot for him to reach that milestone this season.


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