Nothing like taking Jon Lester deep for your first career hit!
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) December 28, 2015
After almost three years and stints with two different teams, Christine Michael is getting his chance to shine with the Seattle Seahawks.
The running back, who was drafted in the second round by the Hawks in 2013, is back with Seattle. He was previously traded to the Dallas Cowboys before the season to clear room for the man he is helping replace in the Pacific Northwest: Thomas Rawls. Dallas cut Michael, prompting the back to sign with Washington’s practice squad.
But thanks to injuries to Rawls and Marshawn Lynch, not to mention DuJuan Harris’ ineffectiveness, Christine Michael will finally have his shot to be the lead back in Seattle.
He’ll obviously have to compete with fellow new addition Bryce Brown for snaps, but with Fred Jackson staying in a passing/third-down capacity, there will be plenty of snaps for Michael.
The former second-round draft has always had the talent, but has never quite had a full opportunity to establish himself. Michael never had that chance with the Hawks thanks to the presence of Lynch. If “Beast Mode” is healthy, no one is going to be taking carries away from him.
But with Lynch injured, it could Michael’s time to shine.
In 19 career games, the newest Seahawk has ran for 305 yards on 67 carries.
Early in his career, Michael showed flashes of brilliance. The running back once ran for 71 yards on only four carries against the Giants. For his career with Seattle, Michael has averaged 4.6 yards per carry. There’s clearly talent there, but the Seahawks just need to see it on a more consistent basis. The former Texas A&M star has registered five career games with less than five total rushing yards.
Despite that, the Seahawks’ upcoming schedule provides Michael the opportunity to do some serious damage. Sunday’s opponent, the Cleveland Browns, allow the fourth most rushing yards. The Browns have also allowed 11 rushing scores, tied for the sixth-most in NFL history.
Following the Browns, Seattle will play the St. Louis Rams. St. Louis has given up the eleventh most yards on the ground. The team’s last contest of the season is against the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has only allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards in the league. While the game could be an intense battle for the division, it could also be a game in which the Cardinals are resting there starters ahead of the playoffs.
What’s more, Russell Wilson and the passing game’s recent hot streak will open up running lanes for Michael as teams focus on Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and the receivers. The now-former Cowboy is joining a dynamic offense. An offense that will also provide him plenty of opportunity. Only the Carolina Panthers have attempted more rushes in the NFL.
In other words, Christine Michael will get his chances.
It’s safe to say that new Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila has been busy since taking over for Dave Dombrowski. In Avila’s first offseason in charge, the new head man in the Tigers front office has made a slew of signings and trades that were both astute and cost efficient.
Detroit has already added the likes Jordan Zimmermann, Mike Pelfrey, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Lowe, Justin Wilson, Cameron Maybin and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. These additions have satisfied the team’s needs in the starting rotation and the bullpen, as well as adding extra depth in areas such as centerfield and behind the plate.
What’s not included in that list is a legitimate left fielder. With a considerable amount of time left before spring training, should the Tigers add another left fielder? Here are some of the team’s options.
Stick With What You’ve Got
With the acquisition of Maybin, the team now employs three starting-caliber outfielders: Maybin, Anthony Gose and J.D. Martinez. However, Maybin and Gose are natural center fielders while Martinez is entrenched in right field.
There is some logic in playing both Maybin and Gose together. Both can eat up ground in the outfield, and paired with Martinez’ cannon of an arm in right would provide an intriguing defensive trio. There is also the fact that Maybin and Gose (46 combined stolen bases in 2015) provide Detroit and manager Brad Ausmus a fair amount of speed. Additionally, should either player struggle with the bat, their offensive shortcomings would be hidden by the production of Miguel Cabrera and Martinez among others.
However, the fact remains that neither player has much experience in left. Gose grades out well at the position in terms of defensive metrics, but he has only logged 41 games there. Maybin has even more inexperience. The outfielder has only played in 10 games in left field, all of which came in 2007 when he was a rookie with the Tigers.
Tyler Collins and Steven Moya also present internal options for Detroit.
The Big Names
Detroit has previously been linked (via CBS Sports’ John Heyman) to big name free agents like Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon. Both, especially Gordon, would be excellent fits with the Tigers. However, CBS Detroit reports that Avila said the Tigers were “at this point” out on both Cespedes and Gordon.
Based on that, it appears that Detroit won’t sign either, but the key wording is “at this point.” It’s certainly not inconceivable to see the team sign either at a somewhat later date should the two remain on the open market.
Carlos Gonzalez is another player that could help the Tigers. Gonzalez’ blend of defensive skill and the ability to hit for average and power is extremely appealing, however the team may be cautious with the player’s hefty salary.
The Platoon Types
While the free agent market offers only a few legitimate, difference-making corner outfielders, there are a plethora of outfielders who could excel in a platoon. David Murphy and Travis Snider are just a few options that could find a home in Detroit.
Names Out of Left Field
First of all, pun intended. Second of all, the Tigers have already made trades for players (Maybin and Miller) who didn’t dominate the trade rumors. In other words, the players didn’t seem likely to be dealt as say someone like Shelby Miller. Avila could conceivably make a trade for a left fielder that quite literally comes out of left field.
There are a number of former Detroit outfielders available. Whether the team pursues them or not remains to be seen, but in addition to Cespedes, Matt Joyce, Delmon Young, Rajai Davis, Ryan Raburn, and Austin Jackson are all currently free agents.
The Lottery Tickets
The Tigers’ decision makers were rewarded when they took a gamble on a talented young player, J.D. Martinez, whose previous employers had moved on. Could the team take a similar gamble this offseason?
Alex Grossman is a name on the market who is in a similar situation to Martinez.
Grossman, who like Martinez was cut by the Astros, is only 26-years-old and comes with over 600 at-bats spread across parts of three big-league seasons. The outfielder is more of an all-around player, with 11 home runs, 15 stolen bases, 63 RBI and a .240 batting average in 190 games. He was a top prospect as a minor-league player and still has the time to fulfill his potential.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 30, 2015
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) November 30, 2015
What a special day! Happy to be part of the Tiger family. #Detroittigers
— Jordan Zimmermann (@JZimmermann27) December 1, 2015
— MLB (@MLB) November 30, 2015
— Ryan Garza (@ryangarzafreep) November 30, 2015
— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) November 30, 2015
Al Avila: “Our scouts, that was the No. 1 guy on their list, and our analytical department was on the same page, which was very reassuring.”
— Jason Beck (@beckjason) November 30, 2015
OFFICIAL. Jordan Zimmermann is now a Tiger. pic.twitter.com/Us1XzcgLT4
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) November 30, 2015