On a couple of different levels, this piece by Jason Beck about the Tigers looking for a right fielder is interesting. The first interesting tidbit I took out of it was that it looks like the Tigers are set on Ryan Raburn as the team’s starting leftfielder. After a breakout 2009, Raburn got off to a slow start in 2010 before turning it on in the second half. After the break, he had a .900 OPS and he hit thirteen of his fifteen home runs. And for most of the second half, Raburn was out in left field. He was a lot better against lefties but his numbers against right handed pitching (.753 OPS) wasn’t awful. Even his fielding was solid (he had a +3, eleventh best amongst leftfielders which is good considering the time he spent out there).
The other interesting thing was Brennan Boesch’s name wasn’t even mentioned in the article. He was the opposite of Raburn. He took the world (at least the Tiger’s world) by storm in the first half then cooled off (okay, let’s call it an ice cold .458 OPS) in the second half. Probably the only thing that kept him in the lineup (for better or worse) was Magglio Ordonez’s injury. It looks like for now, we can pencil Boesch in as the fourth outfielder assuming the Tigers fulfill their plan of finding a right fielder in the open market.
Of course the corner outfield market is a bit thin. Carl Crawford doesn’t appear to be in the Tigers plan so the next best options are Jayson Werth (probably not as good as he’s going to be paid) or a return of Magglio Ordonez and Ordonez has his own issues. Namely will he be fully recovered by the time the Tigers open up camp?
One of the lower tier players I wouldn’t mind the Tigers going after would be Austin Kearns. He’s never lived up to his top prospect hype, but he had a decent showing when he landed in Cleveland and he could keep enough money available for the Tigers to really go after another pitcher. Brad Hawpe might make an interesting option as a bounce back player after a horrible 2010. And if power is what they’re going after, the frustrating Rick Ankiel is available. Jeff Francouer is also an interesting option with an unusual past.
So there’s guys out there, you just wonder if the Tigers would be better off sticking with a Boesch/(insert player) platoon out in right field and using their money on pitching. Casper Wells is another guy who’s probably close to a make it or break it type of season so he’d also be an interesting option.