The Detroit Tigers are a team that has had many talented shortstops man the position over the years. Alan Trammell, Carlos Guillen, Jhonny Peralta, and Jose Iglesias come to mind. Detroit will not have any of those players many the position this year though. Al Avila didn’t tender a contract to Jose Iglesias, and he became a free agent. The Tigers signed Jordy Mercer to serve as a stop-gap solution until their prospects can make it to the bigs.
Big League Depth
Detroit will start the season with Jordy Mercer as their opening day shortstop. They brought him in to do just that. He is a productive player that is going to give you steady defense and hit .260 with a little bit of pop. More importantly, he is going to give the young players on the roster a sounding board during the season. He will be a significant veteran presence along with Cabrera and Harrison.
The Tigers don’t have a set back up at the shortstop position, and you can expect a lot of players to spell Mercer during the season. Goodrum is the utility player that can spell Mercer along with Beckham getting some reps there. Niko had a good rookie season and will look to build on that for the upcoming season. Beckham made the team after getting a non-roster invite to spring training this season. He can play all of the infield positions excluding first base.
Minor League Depth
Detroit has some depth with guys at Triple-A that have had time in the major leagues. Those players include Brandon Dixon, Ronny Rodriguez, and Pete Kozma. They are not going to wow you with anything that they do on the field, but they are solid players. If an injury was to occur with one of the guys on the major league roster, they could step in and provide depth this season.
Detroit has made a few trades in the last couple of seasons that have netted them some prospects at the shortstop position. They traded Leonys Martin before the trade deadline last season, and that netted them, Willie Castro. Another trade, much to the chagrin of many Tiger’s fans, was JD Martinez and they were able to get Sergio Alcantara, Dawel Lugo, and Jose King.
The Tigers also acquired Isaac Paredes from the Cubs in the Justin Wilson trade. That trade brought in the opening day starter for the Tigers at third base, Jeimer Candelario.
Detroit has a good amount of prospects in the pipeline at shortstop. The timeline for them to make it to Detroit is staggered. Castro, with a good showing at Triple-A, could push to make the opening day roster in 2020. Dawel Lugo has provided depth at both middle infield positions in the bigs. He projects as more of a second baseman. Paredes can hit, but as he gets bigger, he may be moved from shortstop to third base before he gets to the majors.