The Detroit Tigers have been severely underwhelming in 2022, performing below expectations. While the promotion of Riley Greene has been a spark for the team's offense, the overall performance has been well below the level the team was hoping for.
As the Detroit Tigers start to map out their future plans, they must consider the team's performance in the 2022 season. The front office needs to examine the roster and figure out which players will outlast the rebuild and be vital to the future of this team.
Not everyone on this roster deserves to make a return in 2023 and be a part of the team's future. While we are only nearing July, there are some way-too-early predictions for who should be let go, traded, DFA'd versus re-signed, kept around, and kept as a part of the rebuild.
The Tigers will have to do some real work on the team's roster moving forward, so here are four players the Tigers should avoid keeping around. Whether they are traded or let go, they are better off not being with the Tigers moving forward.
The Detroit Tigers should ensure these four players do not return in 2023.
A few of these names may be a little surprising, but the Detroit Tigers need to be smart and attentive to what the team needs. This means getting rid of some players that may be hard to let go of and trying to better the roster for the future of this team.
Akil Baddoo – OF/LHH
While this one might shock some, especially after his breakout 2021 season, the first player up is Akil Baddoo. The Detroit Tigers should put Baddoo on the chopping block, especially after the struggles that he has shown in 2022, not being able to get much of anything going offensively, earning a demotion.
He's still on the 40-man roster but has taken severe steps back in 2022. In the big leagues, Baddoo has played in 17 games where he accumulated 55 plate appearances, slashing .140/.218/.220 with 15 punchouts. He was demoted to Triple-A to join the Toledo Mud Hens, where things have not gotten much better.
While it may be a little premature to give up on him, the struggles have continued at the Triple-A level, which is a bit problematic. It looks more and more like Baddoo's 2021 success was a flash in the pan instead of a genuine breakout season.
It sucks, especially with how bought in the fanbase was with him early on. I know I bought into the hype after 2021, expecting him to be able to be a role player with the team in 2022 at a minimum, but I'm not sure that is even a possibility at the current point. I would be okay with the Tigers aiming to bring in new options for the outfield via the draft and free agency or trade.
With Greene breaking onto the scene, the outfield will be held down by him for years to come, and passing on Baddoo is a real possibility as the 2023 roster comes into focus this upcoming offseason. It's not the guy at the top of my list for departures, but he's on the list of players who may not be back for the 2023 season.
Daz Cameron – OF/RHH
Another outfielder that the Detroit Tigers need to evaluate before pressing on to the future is Daz Cameron. The right-handed-hitting outfielder was a big prize in the Justin Verlander trade with the Houston Astros in 2017. Since then, he has managed to play just 70 games for the Tigers, making his debut in 2020.
It's been an extremely lackluster performance from Cameron, who has proven not to be as talented as his father, Mike Cameron. The defense and glove are impressive, but the hitting tools need severe polishing to be considered everyday big-league level.
In 2022, Cameron has logged 18 games with 61 plate appearances, where he's slashing .232/.295/.375 for the Tigers. Though, he's currently been out with a COVID-19 protocol stint forcing him to endure a rehab stint before getting back to the field with the Tigers.
While his slash line is not that bad compared to some of the Tigers hitters in 2022 and is better than he has been, it is still atrocious overall. Things need to improve from Cameron, and if they end up returning to typical Daz Cameron numbers, then it's worth moving on.
It's hard to think that Cameron is going to be a big-league outfielder on a competitive team. Moving on and hoping some of the other options like Daniel Cabrera, Roberto Campos, Parker Meadows, etc., can pan out. If not, signing a proven player is not out of the question either. It might be time to move on from Cameron.
Michael Fulmer – RHP
As the Detroit Tigers start to identify who should stay and go, moving forward, Michael Fulmer should not be on the roster in 2023. Before the hate comes, I am not suggesting that the Tigers cut him or designate him for assignment.
Fulmer has shined in a bullpen that actually is piecing things together. This leads me to believe he will garner trade deadline interest from teams who want to up their bullpen and add another reliable arm. The right-handed reliever has been more than reliable and needs to be flipped for whatever the team can get for him at the deadline.
If the Tigers do not trade him, my statement about him being off the roster in 2023 can be considered null and void. Fulmer brings plenty of value to the team's bullpen and has adjusted incredibly to his new role. In 2022, Fulmer has pitched in 26 games, managing a 2.08 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP, with 27 strikeouts over 26 innings of work.
A relief arm who can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen will get calls from teams. If Al Avila can trade him at the trade deadline, he needs to pull the trigger on the deal and attempt to salvage whatever he can get to help the team build for the future.
Eric Haase – C/OF, RHH
Another Tigers hitter who has struggled to follow up a strong 2021 performance is Eric Haase. The Tigers have not given Haase as many opportunities in 2022, but he has not done as well as the Tigers would have hoped for. Haase's down performance sucks and makes me think he may be on the way out.
In 40 games, Haase has managed 120 at-bats where he's slashed .205/.258/.339 with just three home runs for the Tigers on the season. After looking like he would be a solid bat off the bench and the every other day catcher for the team, it has been a struggle.
Haase's performance is troublesome, especially after the hopes were much higher for the Tigers' backstop/outfielder in 2022. If the Tigers were going to move on from a catcher, it seems like Haase should be the one. With Dillon Dingler in the minors, working his way to the big leagues, and Tucker Barnhart likely being kept around, Haase is likely headed for the chopping block.
Haase has severely underwhelmed in 2022, and if the entire season looks like this, it might be time to consider moving on from him. If not, his role needs to be re-defined, and maybe some time in the minors would be a better option to get a reset in.
However, they may not have this luxury. The Detroit Tigers need to be innovative and do what will help the rebuild the most. The timeline has been shifted, and someone like Haase may not be able to outlast the rebuild in its current state.
These four names are all players who should be on the Tigers' list of players to get rid of between now and the start of the 2023 season. The way in which these players depart the Tigers is up to the front office, but something has to give.