Veterans, young players could push Tigers forward


Newcomers Javier Baez (Top left) and Austin Meadows (Top right) as well as top prospects Riley Greene (Bottom left) and Spencer Torkelson (Bottom right) playing in the game they love (Photos courtesy of WXYZ, Freep, Detriot Free Press and MLive).

Jack Beyer, Sports Editor

With the upcoming MLB season, expectations are through the roof with a couple of unbelievable signings and some surreal line ups. With the Minnesota Twins signing shortstop Carlos Correa, the Philadelphia Phillies signing outfielders Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, and the Los Angeles Dodgers signing first baseman Freddie Freeman, fans are going to be seeing some familiar faces in new homes. The Detroit Tigers also have signed some key players that they are hoping could make them a playoff-caliber team for the first time in 8 years. By signing middle infielder Javier Baez to a six-year, $140-million deal and trading for former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Austin Meadows along with many other additions, the Tigers team is shaping up to have a scary offense and a talented young pitching staff. Here’s why despite a rough start filled with many injuries, they could be competing for a playoff spot in September. 

The signing of Javier Baez brings some veteran experience to a young, inexperienced infield. With the call up of talented first basemanSpencer Torkelson (the 3rd-ranked prospect in all of baseball), Baez as well as longtime veteran Miguel Cabrera will serve as mentors for him. Playing shortstop, Baez will also be in close touch with his double play partner Jonathan Schoop as well as his left side infield partner Jeimer Candelario. Not only will Baez benefit the Tigers defensively, he will rejuvenate an offense that lacked power. After spending last season with the New York Mets, he batted just under .300 having 50 hits in 167 at-bats with nine of those being doubles and nine of them being home runs, all in 47 games. In fact, his 50 hits resulted in 22 RBIs which means with almost every other hit, he drove in a run. Although he was not a cheap player to acquire, this is a great pick up for Tigers, being able to have him on their roster for the next six years. 

The infield was not the only area where the Tigers needed help. On April 4, the Tigers sent prospect Issac Paredes and a competitive balance round B pick (second or third round pick) to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Austin Meadows. Since making it to the MLB in 2018, Meadows has had a lot of experience both in Tampa and Pittsburgh before getting traded as a part of the Chris Archer trade. When his bat is in the line up, you can expect big things from him. After hitting .234 with 27 home runs and a career high 106 RBIs last season, this makes him a dangerous player to pitch to. Having Meadows in left field will help advance some younger players such as Akil Baddoo and top prospect Riley Greene. Greene was injured in spring training, but he will likely return in June and may also give the offense a boost as he was hitting .429 in Spring Training with seven of his nine hits being extra base hits and was one of the best players in all of minor league baseball last year. Having Meadows is a huge addition to not only the offense and defense, but he will also serve as a great leader in the clubhouse for these younger outfielders. 

The Tigers also have many young talented pitchers such as Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize and Matt Manning. Along with additions in the pitching staff, such as Eduardo Rodriguez who although had a rough ERA of 4.74 last season, made him an elite reliever having a strikeout-walk ratio of 186/47. As well as starter Michael Pineda who had an ERA of 3.62 last season, many fans view these guys as players who are going to lead the Tigers to their first winning season since 2016. Baez will be a huge addition to the infield as well as a huge addition to the line up. Meadows will be a huge advantage in every aspect of the game, as well as possibly representing the Tigers in the all star game. For Tigers fans, this is an exciting year. This team has potential to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. Hold onto your hats Tigers fans, this season could get a little wild. Go Tigers!