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March 11, 2014

Rumor Roundup

A New Challenger

by Daniel Rathman


Tigers’ left-field plans up in the air after Andy Dirks injury
When the Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler earlier this offseason, they paved the way for Miguel Cabrera to slide across the diamond to first base and for top prospect Nick Castellanos to supplant him at the hot corner. Without the swap, Castellanos might have spent his first full big-league season as a left fielder.

Instead, general manager Dave Dombrowski picked up former Blue Jays outfielder Rajai Davis on a two-year, $10 million deal, handing him at least a short-end platoon role and possibly more. Davis, a right-handed hitter, was supposed to share time with Andy Dirks, who bats from the left side, though Dirks’ lifetime True Average against righties is just .266. With plenty of value flowing from other positions, the Davis-Dirks tandem would have sufficed, projecting for 2.0 WARP according to PECOTA.

But those plans were derailed last week, when word leaked from Lakeland, Florida, that Dirks would need a microdiscectomy to heal an ailing back. The procedure is expected to keep him on the shelf for at least the first half of the regular season. That’s hardly the end of the world for the Tigers, who hold a nine-game cushion over the second-place Indians in PECOTA’s eyes, and Davis could probably hold down the fort with his speed and defensive value if Dombrowski failed to find him a partner.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Minor League Update: S... (03/11)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Santana... (03/10)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Competi... (03/13)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Draft Ten Pack: March ... (03/11)

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