UPDATE 1/3/17: This was expected to be a pretty busy offseason for GM Dave Dombrowksi of the All-Former Detroit Tigers squad. With Al Avila not making any major trades for the Detroit Tigers, Dombrowski has been unusually quiet. In fact, Dombrowski has lost his starting catcher, Al Avila, back to the 2017 Detroit Tigers, eliminating him from this squad. Manager Kirk Gibson has decided to make Bryan Holaday the new starting catcher and add Curt Casali over Jarrod Saltalamacchia to the bench as the backup catcher.
ORIGINAL 11/18/16: Seeing two former Detroit Tigers, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, win the Cy Youngs this year got me thinking. There are a lot of former Tigers out there…what would a roster look like of those players? Here is that roster ranking players based on fWAR in 2016. I’ll also include career highlights.
SP 1: Max Scherzer, Washington (5.6 fWAR) – 4x All-Star, 2x Cy Young
SP 2: Rick Porcello, Boston (5.2 fWAR) – 2016 AL Cy Young
SP 3: David Price, Boston (4.5 fWAR) – 5x All-Star, 2012 AL Cy Young
SP 4: Robbie Ray, Arizona (3.0 fWAR) – T-4th in NL in Strikeouts in 2016
SP 5: Drew Smyly, Tampa Bay (2.0 fWAR)
Rotation WAR: 20.3 fWAR in 2016
This would probably be one of the best rotations in the league with a unique combination of veteran Cy Young talent combined with a pair of controllable youngsters. In 2016, this rotation would rank as the best rotation in the MLB, coming in ahead of the Mets’ rotation and their 18.3 fWAR.
CL: Andrew Miller, Cleveland (2.9 fWAR) – All-Star
SU: Jim Johnson, Atlanta (1.3 fWAR) – All-Star, 2012 AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year
RP: Ian Krol, Atlanta (0.9 fWAR)
RP: Jose Alvarez, Los Angeles Angels (0.7 fWAR)
RP: Joaquin Benoit, Toronto (0.5 fWAR)
RP: Fernando Rodney, Miami (0.4 fWAR) – 3x All-Star, 2012 Delivery Man of the Year
LM: Doug Fister, Houston (1.1 fWAR)
Bullpen WAR: 7.8 fWAR in 2016
Instead of including former Tigers Joakim Soria, Jason Grilli Neftali Feliz, or Al Alburquerque who was worth 0.1 or less fWAR, I thought it was best to include a long man/6th starter for this roster in the form of Doug Fister. Regardless, this bullpen may not look very strong, but in fact, it would rank as the second best bullpen in the MLB coming in just behind the Astros’ 7.9 fWAR and ahead of the Mets’/Dodgers’ 6.5 fWAR.
C: Alex Avila, Chicago White Sox (1.1 fWAR) – 2011 All-Star, Silver Slugger
1B: Jefry Marte, Los Angeles Angels (1.5 fWAR)
2B: Devon Travis, Toronto (2.5 fWAR)
3B: Hernan Perez, Milwaukee (1.2 fWAR)
SS: Eugenio Suarez, Cincinatti (1.7 fWAR)
LF: Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets (3.2 fWAR) – 2x All-Star
CF: Cameron Maybin, Los Angeles Angels (2.0 fWAR)
RF: Curtis Granderson, New York Mets (2.6 fWAR) – 3x All-Star
DH: Rajai Davis, Cleveland (2.0 fWAR) – 2016 AL Stolen Bases leader
Lineup WAR: 17.8 fWAR in 2016
Aside from the veteran outfield, this is not a particularly strong lineup at the moment. There is definitely some speed aspect, as a lot of guys are threats to run, and there is some considerable power as well. The infield is very young and all four have the potential to be better in coming years. So, all in all, the lineup definitely has the potential to be a solid run-scoring squad with Cespedes hitting in the middle of it all. (Just wait until after 2017. Guys like J.D. Martinez & Justin Upton could be powerful sluggers in the middle of this ex-Tigers squad).
BE: Matt Joyce, Pittsburgh (1.3 fWAR) – 2011 All-Star
BE: Avisail Garcia, Chicago White Sox (0.5 fWAR)
BE: Bryan Holaday, Boston (0.4 fWAR)
BE: Ryan Raburn, Colorado (-0.2 fWAR)
Bench WAR: 2.0 fWAR in 2016.
As benches go, this wouldn’t be the worst bench to have. Raburn can play anywhere in the field. Holaday can be a serviceable backup. Joyce and Garcia can provide some pop off the bench. The real key here is Garcia. He still has a lot of potential to be a starting-level outfielder, so we’ll have to keep an eye on him in the coming years.
GM: Dave Dombrowski, Boston – 2011 Executive of the Year
Manager: Kirk Gibson – 2011 NL Manager of the Year
Overall, this team would be worth 47.6 fWAR in 2016. This team would heavily rely on its stellar rotation and hope that guys like Rodney, Benoit, and Johnson could bridge the gap to relief ace Andrew Miller. The lineup has a bit of everything–speed, power, and potential. At 19.4 fWAR total for its hitters–lineup combined with the bench–this group of hitters would rank about middle of the pack. It would be tied for the Orioles for 14th best in the MLB. Considering the Orioles made the playoffs (albeit a one-game playoff), this lineup is serviceable enough for that talented pitching staff. And with a GM like Dombrowksi, this roster could acquire All-Star caliber players such as J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Francisco Rodriguez, Justin Upton, and even Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera. Things are looking good for this team.
What do you think? How would this ex-Tigers squad compare to active teams? Would it make the playoffs? Comment!