Detroit Tigers could look to acquire an outfielder before Opening Day


Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There aren’t many questions that remain when it comes down to assembling the active roster that the Detroit Tigers will begin the season with. The team’s rotation and starting lineups appear mostly set, but there still could be some competition for the final spots on the team’s bench. One of those should be in the outfield, as the organization looks to replace Andy Dirks now that he’ll potentially miss the entire first half following back surgery.

GM Dave Dombrowski says, according to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, that the team “will continue to evaluate” their internal options. Don Kelly could step into the starting lineup to replace Dirks, but the team places a high value on his versatility around the diamond. Morosi suggests that they could look to find a left-handed platoon partner for Rajai Davis. Those options, however, are rather limited which could push the team to look towards the trade market in the coming weeks.

Ezequiel Carrera and Trevor Crowe are both in camp on non-roster invitations. Neither has been having an impressive spring.

Carrera’s seen limited time in each of the past three seasons with the Cleveland Indians (and a brief stint with the Philadelphia Phillies last April, before returning to the Indians). In 405 PA he’s a career .251/.306/.339 hitter with little power production (just 22 extra base hits, including a pair of home runs in 2012). The 26 year old didn’t fare much better down at Triple-A last year, when he spent the bulk of the season. He’d hit .248/.312/.346 in 464 PA in his fourth season at the level. Cleveland didn’t appear to hesitate in letting him reach free agency following the end of the minor league season.

Crowe, meanwhile, spent a good chunk of the 2013 season coming off the bench for the Houston Astros. Appearing in 60 games he’d struggle to hit just .218/.287/.291 in 181 PA. His numbers in the minors were much better – .303/.362/.386 in 268 PA – but he too was having a repeat year at Triple-A. Crowe hadn’t appeared in a game in the Major Leagues since 2011 prior to last season.

Morosi suggests that the St. Louis Cardinals could have been a potential trade partner for the Tigers, had top prospect Oscar Tavares not struggled to get back on the field for much of the spring. With him likely heading to Triple-A to begin the year instead of challenging for a spot in the Cardinals outfield that likely limits the potential availability of Jon Jay. The veteran FOX Sports writer also notes that the Colorado Rockies could be a possible option, given the unlikelihood that the team will be able to fit both Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson onto their active roster.

There are no indications that the Tigers have – or will – pursue either option should they decide they need to bring in another outfielder before the season begins. Neither Carrera or Crowe offer much upside long term and given their respective performances this spring it’s tough to envision one of them landing on the active roster.