Tigers Rollercoaster Season Comes to Fittingly Bizarre End
These are all problems that must be addressed in the offseason – although the weak fielding on the corners may be unavoidable at this point – amongst a series of contract questions and concerns.
Austin Jackson, Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Alex Avila will all be eligible for arbitration this winter, while Delmon Young and Anibal Sanchez are the team’s most important unrestricted free agents.
Retaining the five arbitration-eligible players is without a doubt the priority to me, but that could be a little costly after effective seasons from Jackson, Fister, and Scherzer who are all still under 30 (Jackson only 25). Young and Sanchez would be significant losses but there have to be cuts somewhere and with Young being only 27, I imagine at least a few teams will be throwing some good-looking offers his way, especially after hitting .312 with 3 homers and 9 RBIs in the postseason.
Having Victor Martinez back will be huge, and if the rest of the lineup’s bulk is retained, I think he makes the most sense as the Tigers number 2 hitter, a veteran with great plate discipline and versatility. If Young is lost, Leyland may want him down in the five-spot to help the middle of the lineup more, however.
It was a rollercoaster of a season that unfortunately had to end on its steepest decline, but there should be plenty more to come from one of the AL’s best.