Recent articles in the Detroit News have made the Tigers roster picture appear much clearer. In attempts to possibly soften the blow, it appears that Bobby Higginson’s days as a Tiger are finished. Higginson on Shaky Ground and Trammell:Higgy an ‘extra’ , both are articles that make it demonstatively clear that Tigers are getting close to jettisoning their one-time poster boy for the organization. When spring training began, I thought it a possibility with Higginson’s defense and his discipline at the plate, he may still be a valuable member of the roster. At this point, it appears that opposing teams would be foolish to be trading partners with Tigers for Higginson’s services because due to the numbers game, he will have to be released. “Scrap Iron” Phil Garner’s comments are encouraging, because I think the Tigers should jump at the opportunity for any number of Brandon Duckworth or Pete Munro-quality players just to be rid of Mr. Ilitch’s albatross. With the rumored trade talks between the Astro’s and Red’s involving Ken Griffey, Higgy’s trade to Houston probably decreases in likelihood by the second.
Another Tiger who has been the cause for major concern, is the disappointing Jason Johnson (see Det News Tigers unhappy with Johnson ). With the obvious question marks at 3rd base and Centerfield, I think the last thing the Tigers needed was Johnson’s poor performance. The toughest need to fill at this time of year would have to be starting pitcher. Their has been discussion that the Tigers may no longer need Gary Knotts, in my opinion, Johnson’s performance necessitates keeping a swing starter/long reliever like Knotts around. This is a situation to monitor closely. If their “#1″ starter is not able to produce any more capably than he did last year, then his days in Detroit may be numbered as well.
One positive story form this spring to be sure, is the phoenix-like performance of Dean Palmer. Palmer could emerge as the player the Tigers were hoping for in Greg Norton last season (except Palmer would have more pop!). With the hot hitting of Craig Monroe and Rondell White, the pitching of Jeremy Bonderman and Nate Robertson, and the hoped for healthy return-to-form of Omar Infante, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen it would appear that the Tigers are in the midst of their sunniest spring training in years. I can’t wait for Opening Day.
Kudos to Brian for keeping this site going while fighting illness and the likelihood that he is engrossed in his busiest work schedule of the year.