Detroit Tigers

Manager: Brad Ausmus
Stadium: Comerica Park
2008 Record: 74-88 (5th in AL Cent)
Team Page | Roster | Schedule

LINEUP

'08: Batting | Runs (4th in NL)
PLAYER B POS
Curtis Granderson L CF
Placido Polanco R 2B
Magglio Ordonez R RF
Miguel Cabrera R 1B
Carlos Guillen B LF
Marcus Thames R DH
Gerald Laird R C
Brandon Inge R 3B
Adam Everett R SS
OFF THE BENCH
Ramon Santiago B INF
Josh Anderson L OF

PITCHING

'08: Pitching | ERA (12th in AL)
ROTATION T POS
Justin Verlander R SP1
Armando Galarraga R SP2
Edwin Jackson R SP3
Jeremy Bonderman R SP4
Nate Robertson L SP5
BULLPEN
Joel Zumaya R Setup
Fernando Rodney R Setup
Brandon Lyon R Closer
 
Detroit's baseball team is acting a lot like its Big Three automakers: hoping for the best but bracing for the worst. To begin with, the Tigers are holding out hope that Dontrelle Willis, who spent much of 2008 in the minors because he was missing the strike zone -- by feet, not inches -- can make a strong comeback. Detroit owes the 27-year-old lefty $22 million over the next two years. "That's pretty scary," says a scout who watched the team this spring. The Tigers need all the pitching help they can get. Jeremy Bonderman, who missed most of 2008 with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder, experienced soreness early in camp. And though Nate Robertson has the inside track on the fifth starter spot, his 6.35 ERA last year won't cut it. The Tigers believe they strengthened their rotation by acquiring 14-game-winner Edwin Jackson from the Rays, but that's up for debate. "I'm not sure he can repeat that season he had for Tampa Bay," says a veteran scout. Detroit has a decent offense and perhaps baseball's best defense, but to stay afloat, the rotation needs a bailout.
-- Buster Olney

ESPN The Magazine's Tigers preview Insider

PROSPECTS

HITTER TO WATCH:

Jeff Larish looks like he'll earn a spot on the bench; he's a slow, patient hitter with moderate power who doesn't profile as an everyday first baseman.

PITCHER TO WATCH:

Take your pick: 20-year-old phenom Rick Porcello firing two-seamers in the rotation or 2008 first-round pick Ryan Perry pumping 96-98 mph four-seamers in the pen.
-- Keith Law, Scouts Inc.

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SPORTSNATION

Is Miguel Cabrera the best first baseman in the American League? Do the Tigers have the top lineup in the AL? Is Curtis Granderson the best center fielder in the league? Register your vote.

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Featured Comment

Tigers (77-85) They still have the same exact problems this year that they did last year, and until they improve that rotation and middle relief they will continue to get blasted.


KAS09K

American League fan previews

FANTASY

SLEEPER

Recently acquired via trade, Josh Anderson has speed, and the Tigers will attempt to use it at every opportunity. Speed is a coveted commodity in fantasy, and Anderson will see plenty of green lights in 2009.

BUST

Magglio Ordonez is far from washed up, but he's not a top-50 player anymore, either, and that's where a lot of owners will continue to draft him. They'll be disappointed when Ordonez goes for only 20 homers and 100 RBIs.
-- AJ Mass

INJURY TO WATCH

Jeremy Bonderman missed the last four months of the 2008 season when he underwent surgery to correct a circulatory issue in his throwing arm. The surgery involved clearance of a blood clot, along with resection of a rib to alleviate compression on the involved blood vessel, which passes from the neck through the shoulder to the arm. It seemed his recovery was moving along well until Bonderman developed soreness in the involved shoulder. That soreness translated into a delayed progression and, most recently, velocity issues. Bonderman will begin the season on the DL, and there is no timetable for his return. It is not uncommon for some of these post-surgical problems to linger following this type of ailment, but it certainly leaves a big question mark as to Bonderman's status for 2009.
-- Stephania Bell

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PRESEASON POWER RANKINGS

  • Jayson Stark

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  • Tim Kurkjian

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  • Buster Olney

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    No. 25 overall
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  • Rob Neyer

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    No. 9 overall
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  • Jim Caple

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