I’ve covered the fact that Victor Martinez is out for the year. Now the question is how the Tigers replace him, and who with.
The name Prince Fielder tends to come to mind for a team who needs a middle of the order bat. The Tigers might have some interest, but Fielder is quite a large financial commitment, even a one-year deal.
The Tigers first and cheapest option, at this point is to move Delmon Young to DH and then put Andy Dirks and/or Clete Thomas in his outfield slot.
Young would give them a solid bat at the DH spot, and give Detroit the opportunity to put maybe a more versatile defender in Young’s place (i.e. Dirks and Thomas).
As stated that’s the Tigers’ cheapest option, and it probably doesn’t require a roster move. This way you don’t risk losing a player to waivers.
Detroit could also go digging in the free agent bin or the bargain bin. Former Tigers could be a big draw for Dave Dombrowski: Johnny Damon, Magglio Ordonez and Marcus Thames are out there. So are established hitters like Derek Lee, Hideki Matsui and JD Drew.
Raul Ibanez is a player who could be a great fit in Detroit. Dude can hit. He’s driven in at least 84 runs every year except one since 2002, and each of those seasons put up at least 16 bombs a year. You’re talking about double digit homers and at least 80 RBIs per year for a guy who could come pretty cheaply. I’ll take it! He also is a .280 career hitter despite a season last year in which he hit an uncharacteristic .245. That will go up when you hit around a guy named Miguel Cabrera.
A piggy-back option to the earlier move-Delmon-Young-to-DH thought would be to make it a rotating door of sorts. Put Don Kelly at first and give Miguel Cabrera the day off in the field. The next day, put Dirks in the outfield and give Young or Brennan Boesch the day off. There is a smorgasbord of options to pick from.
The trade market is another one of many routes to go for the Tigers; the Angels have a log jam at DH with Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Bobby Abreu. Morales would be a very intriguing fit if he can return to pre-injury form. Trumbo is another fit, but once V-Mart comes back next year, he will be out of places to play regularly.
Yoenis Cepedes is probably the most serious target for Detroit. Not only can he provide an impact bat behind Cabrera, but once V-Mart comes back he can slide into the outfield. Not to mention the fact that he’s a potential star.