Per Tigers GM Al Avila, Detroit still looking at free agent center field options

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Ever since the trade of Cameron Maybin in the offseason, fans have been wondering who will be patrolling center field for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. DSN contributor and editor Alex Muller did a run down of the options for Detroit in a recent article. In an interview on 97.1 The Ticket radio, Tigers General Manager Al Avila gave a less-than-ringing endorsement of the current center fielders for the Tigers.

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Avila is referring to the current centerfielders on the Detroit roster which includes Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones. Of the three, only Gose has the natural ability for center field; however, it’s been well documented the rocky relationship he’s had with the Tigers organization as of late. Collins definitely has experience in the outfield, but, does he have the speed to cover the real estate in Comerica Park? Jones is a young, raw talent who may not be ready offensively to be a full-time player center.

When asked about who might be acquired to continue this “work in progress” for Detroit, Avila again hedged his bets.

The best options on the market currently include Peter Bourjos, Desmond Jennings, and former Tiger Austin Jackson.  Of those three, Jackson would have some fan appeal. Bourjos is a sleeper talent who would bring production (especially defensively) to Detroit if not name recognition. Michael Bourn, Coco Crisp, Drew Stubbs, and Will Venable are also options for the team.

Avila went as far as to say that any new player that may be acquired for center field will have to inject some better talent into the lineup.

“If you look at what you’re going to get in production, you have to evaluate that compared to what you already have in-house.”

One reason that Avila is not ready to get busy in free agency may have to do with some of the talent that has already been invited to Spring Training. Alex Presley was a noticeable topic during the press conference today. He is definitely on Avila’s mind as the team prepares to head to Lakeland for practice.

Tell us what you think, Nation? Will the Tigers stick with a platoon in center for 2017 or will there be a free agent signing before the season begins?




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