DETROIT – Dave Dombrowski wasted little time making a huge splash in the free agent market, resigning designated hitter Victor Martinez to a four-year $68 million deal and trading for Toronto outfield Anthony Gose just hours later. Most recently, Detroit brought back rehabbing relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan to boost the bullpen.
The Tigers' general manager still faces major holes in the bullpen and outfield despite the additions of Gose and Hanrahan. Here are five names that could potentially end up in Detroit if Dombrowski decides to make another move.
Melky Cabrera, free agent outfielder
2014 stats: .301 batting average, 16 home runs, 73 runs batted in, 35 doubles
Cabrera would be a perfect fit for the Tigers if they're willing to ignore a troubling past. The 30-year-old was suspended 50 games in August of 2012 for testing positive for using performance-enhancing drugs.
The former Toronto Blue Jay can really hit, driving in 103 runs and hitting .293 over the past two seasons since coming back from the suspension. Unfortunately, he is a liability in the outfield, posting below average range and overall defensive WAR each season since 2008.
With Gose and Rajai Davis sharing time in center field and J.D. Martinez firmly planted in one of the corner spots, the Tigers will likely add at least one other outfielder to the roster. Cabrera would fit nicely into the No. 2 slot in the lineup as a switch hitter than almost never strikes out.
Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder
2014 stats: .249 BA, 4 HR, 42 RBI, 17 doubles
Los Angeles has a real log jam in their outfield with Ethier, Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig fighting for playing time. With the other three owning All-Star potential when healthy, Ethier has emerged as the favorite to be moved via trade.
The Tigers would potentially be interested in bringing Ethier to Detroit, as he provides a left-handed bat that probably wouldn't cost much to acquire. The 32-year-old suffered by far his worst season in the MLB last year, posting career lows in home runs, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and RBI.
The fluid situation in the Dodger outfield forced Ethier to play all three outfield positions regularly over the past two seasons, so he would offer some flexibility depending on the defensive performances of Martinez and Davis.
Andrew Miller, free agent relief pitcher
2014 stats: 5-5 record, 2.02 ERA, 103 strikeouts, 0.80 WHIP
When the Tigers held a press conference to announce the signing of Martinez last week, Dombrowski said that he thought the bullpen was already improved by some of the minor moves made this offseason. He was referring to the decision to pick up Joakim Soria's option and resigning Hanrahan, but most Tigers fans think another move is in order.
Miller could be the obvious choice to fill a relief void, but it'll have to come at a high price. Nearly every team in the league could use a shutdown left-handed reliever, so the bidding war will be ferocious, no matter who lands Miller.
Detroit got a front row seat to Miller's electric bullpen arm as he mowed down hitters in the Tigers' lineup while the Orioles swept his former team right out of the American League Division Series.
It's no secret that the bullpen was the Tigers' downfall during the quick postseason, so adding an option like Miller could be a top priority.
Yasmany Tomas, Cuban outfielder
2013 World Baseball Classic stats: .375 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 2B in 6 games
As the market of Cuban players defecting to play in the U.S. continues to grow, Tomas sits squarely in the middle of the latest group of highly-sought hitters. The 24-year-old caught the eyes of many MLB teams when he roasted worldwide pitching during the 2013 World Baseball Classic while playing on the Cuban team.
Tomas fits the build of many of the outfielders that come to the MLB from Cuba. He has great power, some scouts even say he could mash with Chicago White Sox outfielder Jose Abreu, who popped 36 dingers as a rookie this season.
The Tigers are almost always in the mix when it comes to high-profile Cuban hitters. Over the summer they were among the finalists to land Rusney Castillo and could be in the market again. Tomas has played five years of professional baseball in Cuba, so he would probably make something north of $10 million/year in his first contract.
But the outfielder has reportedly turned down an eight-year offer from an MLB club, so he might be looking to sign a short-term deal to prove himself and later sign a huge contract during his prime.
Yoan Moncada, Cuban infielder
2014 Cuban National League stats: .273 BA, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 3 2B, 8 SB in 195 plate appearances
Yoan Moncada is probably more of a longshot for the Tigers, as he projects as a second baseman in the MLB despite spending most of his young career at shortstop. The 19-year-old figures to be one of the best prospects out of Cuba in this loaded class, showing a unique power-speed combination from the left side of the plate.
The Tigers are just one of many clubs interested in the youngster. He will likely make a ton of money per year, but would be more likely to sign a longer deal than Tomas since he's so much younger.
He hasn't officially been cleared to become a free agent yet, because the U.S. government has to authorize it.