Sunday, January 08, 2006

Early 25 Man Roster Projection

Since the new year has begun and teams are heading down to Spring training next month, I’ll take an early look at the Tigers 25 man roster. The opening day roster is certainly not engraved in stone but it seems to be more set than it has been in past Januarys. Here is my projected opening day roster:

C. Ivan Rodriguez
1B. Chris Shelton
2B. Placido Polanco
SS. Carlos Guillen
3B. Brandon Inge
LF. Craig Monroe
CF. Curtis Granderson
RF. Magglio Ordonez
DH Dmitri Young

C. Vance Wilson
IF. Omar Infante
OF. Nook Logan
1B. Carlos Pena

SP. Kenny Rogers
SP. Jeremy Bonderman
SP. Mike Maroth
SP. Nate Robertson
SP. Justin Verlander

RP. Todd Jones
RP. Fernando Rodney
RP. Jamie Walker
RP. Chris Spurling
RP. Craig Dingman
RP. Franklyn German
RP. Bobby Seay

The biggest question marks are the following:

Fifth starter – Dave Dombrowski seems to be indicating that Verlander has the inside track but I think this is a spot which won’t be determined until spring training is almost over. Other candidates are Roman Colon, Joel Zumaya (although there have been rumblings about using him as a reliever) and Wil Ledezma.

BullpenLeyland wants a second left-handed reliever. I penciled in Seay but it could just as easily be Ledezma or Hector Mercado. Dingman, Spurling and German may not be locks if they struggle in Spring training.

First base - Three 1B/DH types might not be a good fit unless Young is able to play some in the outfield. Shelton should be a lock to start almost every day at either 1B or DH. The rest of the puzzle might depend on the fitness/health of Young. If Young is very fit and able to play the outfield, then the problem is solved. If he comes into camp in the same shape he was at the end of last year, Leyland may decide to let Pena start. If he comes into camp in a little better shape but not able to play the outfield (this is the scenario I think is most likely), then there may be not be much room for Pena. I think there is still a chance Pena will be traded before the season starts but they won’t and shouldn’t give him away for nothing.

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