With Magglio Ordonez in the fold, the Tigers now basically have their starters. Yeah, I know there’s going to be a lot of days where the fourth outfielder (take your pick between Boesch, Kelly or Wells) is going to get some time and there are also the days where Victor Martinez will catch but this is what I think the Tigers starting lineup on opening day is going to look like as well as a few random comments.
1) Austin Jackson CF – This isn’t going out on a limb, but I fear Jackson is set for a step back in 2011. Most people will call it a sophomore slump but it’ll be more like him coming back down to earth from his near .400 batting average on balls in play.
2) Ryan Raburn LF – I don’t like Raburn here, but without Johnny Damon, I fear Leyland is going to drop him in the two spot. If Carlos Guillen were both healthy and effective, this is where I’d put him but he’s not so I won’t.
3) Magglio Ordonez RF – Welcome home
4) Miguel Cabrera 1b – Duh
5) Victor Martinez DH – We’ll see if this gives Cabrera some better looks. Cabrera had 32 intentional walks this year and some of those could be turned into productive hits.
6) Jhonny Peralta SS – This is where things thin out pretty quick. If Brandon Inge has a resurgence, I could see him hitting sixth at some point.
7) Brandon Inge 3b – I’m thinking Brandon has a good year this season. Nothing to back it up, just a hunch that he’ll come close to topping his career best .793 OPS he had way back in 2004.
8) Scott Sizemore 2b – I took Sizemore over Rhymes but I predict Rhymes will be the starting shortstop most of the second half because Sizemore stumbles again. Sizemore needs a good start because there are plenty of options behind him (including Carlos Guillen when/if he comes back) so we’ll see if he can rise to the occasion.
9) Alex Avila C – This is time for Avila to step up. He’s the catcher, but if he struggles, they might resort to Martinez getting more time behind the plate.
So there you have it. The rotation is sort of set (Leyland seemed wishy washy with Galarraga as the fifth starter) and the pen is in decent enough shape. From here on out, I don’t see the Tigers making any big moves but I like what they’ve done. Now they can look towards locking up their arbitration eligible players so they know where they stand money wise.