Detroit Tigers 2021 Plan

I believe the Tigers can start their move from re-build to be very competitive in 2021 but we will need to make some changes for sure.

First letís take a look at the payroll coming off the books next season:

Jordan Zimmermann- $25M (finally, we can take him off the roster)
Prince Fielder- $6M (last installment of the trade)
Cron- $6.1M (we can upgrade from him in 2021)
Shoop- $6.1M (we can get our top prospect in for him in 2021)
Romine- $4.15M (hopefully one of the younger options will replace him in 2021)
Matt Boyd- $5.3M (we should trade him in 2020 to get max value- replace in 2021)

All total: $52.65M (reduced from the 2020 payroll figure)

**Unfortunately, we canít do anything to help with the $154M ($30M per year) Miggy is making over the next 5 years.

This reduction, along with the younger players coming up and those that are arbitration eligible that we want to keep around: Farmer, Fulmer, Goodrum, Jiminez, Jones, Norris, Reyes, Stewart, and TurnbullÖ..will allow us to be spenders again, albeit moderate spenders.


The first move is to make a change at manager. I had posted before about some candidates I thought would be good (Rabelo, Pena, Mansolino, and Riordan) but here are my current top 5 picks for manager now:

1. George Lombard (44 years old)- First base coach for the LA Dodgers. Former player, is in charge of LAís outfield and running game. Has past coaching with Boston, Atlanta, and has been interviewed for a couple openings already. I think heís ready.

2. Luis Urueta (39 years old)- Current bench coach for Torry Lovullo, who I really like as a manager. He has managed in the Dominican and Panama summer leagues and has won manager of the year on 3 occasions. Would be a very good young manager.

3. Tim Bogar (53 years old)- I love Dave Martinez and really pushed for him to be our manager years ago, Tim Bogar is his bench coach and comes with a lot of experience as well in Texas, Boston, LA Angels, and was a successful AA manager. He was the interim manager for Texas and went 14-8 in his 22 games. I think heís ready for a full time job.

4. Tony Mansolino (38 years old)- Was the AAA manager for Cleveland but just got promoted to the defensive coordinator for the MLB club. He was hugely successful in his AAA days, winning the 2019 title with Columbus. I think he is being groomed for the Indians so we need to grab him next year if we want him.

5. Mike Rabelo (40 years old)- Was a successful manager in our farm system but just took a MLB job in Pittsburgh as an assistant hitting coach. I think AA really messed up letting this guy get away. I think heís going to be a stud MLB manager someday. He would fit in with the young players coming up in our system so we should still look his way in 2021.

Free Agency:

As for our FA money, I have targeted two guys for longer contracts and higher money that I think will help this team. George Springer (31) or Joc Pederson (28). I am willing to go to 6 years for both but we can only sign one of them. Here is my contract offer:

Springer-6 years- $145M ($24M per year with one year at $25M)

Pederson-6 years- $150M ($25M per season)

Since we are going to go with younger pitching and have spots open from Zimmerman and Boyd, I would like to get a veteran LH pitcher in here to stabilize the group. I really like going after James Paxton (33). I donít think he will break the bank and heís been pretty solid. Hereís my contract offer:

3 years- $60M ($20M per season) **I may go up to $25M but would keep it at 3 years.

Finally, I would like to get a veteran first baseman who can also move around if needed. Iíve targeted DJ LeMahieu (32) and Jonathan Villar (30). Both can play 2B or 3B if needed and Villar can play some SS as well. Hereís my contract offer:

LeMahieu- 3 years- $48M ($14M per season)

Villar- 4 years- $72M ($18M per season)

Letís go with Plan A:

George Springer- $24M
James Paxton- $20M
DJ LeMahieu- $14M

Total payroll added: $58M
Total payroll subtracted: $52.65

So we are really only adding less than $6M to our 2020 payroll.

2021 Starting Pitching:

James Paxton (LH)
Michael Fulmer (RH)- should be back 2020 and full go 2021
Casey Mize (RH)
Daniel Norris (LH)
Matt Manning (RH)

It is a good mix of old and young. Could be very potent and push the team to higher than we expect to go (playoffs?).

Spencer Turnbull, Tarik Skubal, Alex Faedo, Beau Burrows, and Kyle Funkhouser are all available in the event we need rotation fill ins.

2021 Bullpen:

Joe Jiminez (RH)- closer
Buck Farmer (RH)- set up
Gregory Soto (LH)
Bryan Garcia (RH)
Kyle Funkhouser (RH)
Beau Burrows (RH)
Rony Garcia (RH)
Spencer Turnbull (RH)

This is the one area I am a bit afraid of but I am putting my faith in the young arms. Hopefully, they show in 2020 (Garciaís, Shrieber, and Soto) they can handle it.

2021 Outfield:

Christian Stewart, LF
Jacoby Jones, CF
George Springer, RF

Springer can play CF and we can bring in Reyes if Jones or Stewart donít perform. Also, should have Daz Cameron ready to go as well.

2021 Infield:

DJ LeMahieu, 1B
Willi Castro, 2B
Sergio Alcantara, SS
Isaac Paredes, 3B
Eric Haas, C
Very young group in the infield but huge potential. All can cover several positions and we have Harold Castro, Dowell Lugo, and Jeimer Candelario to fill in where needed. Alcantara is a must at SS to help the defense back up the young pitchers. Castro and Paredes have proven they hit in the minors, so hope here is they hit in the MLB as well so we donít have to spend more money on a FA fill in. If we do, we sign an older player to a one year deal.

2021 Bench/DH:

Miggy Cabrerra, DH/1B
Jake Rogers, C
Harold Castro, INF/OF
Victor Reyes, OF
Jeimer Candelario, 3B/1B or Dowell Lugo, INF

2021 Batting Order:

Willi Castro, 2B
Isaac Paredes, 3B
George Springer, RF
Miggy Cabrerra, DH
DJ LeMahieu, 1B
Christian Stewart, LF
Jacoby Jones, CF
Eric Haas, C
Sergio Alcantara, SS

I think this lineup has a lot of potential ďifĒ the young guys hit the ball. Iím not expecting a lot from Alcantara but his defense will be exactly what we need with this team. If Jones/Haas can supply some power to the back end, then we should be very good on offense. Castro can get on base (.340 OB in minors) and steal some bases, Paredes can certainly move him with his OB% and hit tools, the rest can do their normal thing.

Does this work?