The Detroit Tigers began their offseason this week by making some decisions over the last week about the players on their roster who could file for free agency.
Other decisions still loom.
They have already informed two players that they will not be needed for the Tigers next year. Earlier this week the team told back-up cather Brayan Pena he would not be wearing the old English D in 2014. Pena had a career year with the bat while backing up Avila. He hit .297 (career high) with 4 home runs in 229 at-bats. It is thought that Bryan Holaday is ready for the big leagues and capable of backing up Avila in 2014.
Jose Veras was also told he wouldn’t return after the club declined to pick up his option for 2014.
Joaquin Benoit helped stabilize the bullpen after the closer by committee debacle failed in epic style. Benoit notched 24 saves once he took the closer role and while posting a 2.01 ERA on the season. At age 36 the Tigers may be able to find younger cheaper options for the bullpen. If Benoit is willing to take a hometown discount, he may be a solid solution at closer in 2014.
Jhonny Peralta had an excellent season for the Tigers. That is of course if you forget about the 50 game suspension for performance enhancing drugs that caused the Tigers to trade promising prospect Avisail Garcia for shortstop Jose Iglesias. With Iglesias now entrenched at shortstop, the only way Peralta will be able to stick with the Tigers is if he converts to left field. Keeping Peralta may be difficult; after his stellar post season he will have suitors on the free agent market looking for shortstops.
Prospect Nick Castellanos will likely figure into any decision Dave Dombrowski will make regarding left field. Castellanos himself is an infield to outfield convert and Tigers brass would probably rather spend resources on a highly ranked prospect than converting a 32-year-old infielder.
Omar Infante will also present the Tigers with a difficult decision. Infante had an excellent 2013 and established himself as one of the top five second baseman in the league. Keeping him will be pricey and not likely considering prospect Hernan Perez is on the farm and ready for the majors.