Every Fan’s Guide To Detroit Tigers Opening Day
The Detroit Tigers enter the 2014 season ready to compete for another AL Central Championship. The team made some key changes in the offseason through trades and free agent acquisitions. That means to the average fan the Tigers roster will look quite different than last years American League runner-up.
So for those fans who love Tiger baseball but have not time to keep up with the coming and goings here is your guide to Detroit Tigers Opening Day.
Welcome to the D!
Following the Tigers ouster from the 2013 ALCS, Jim Leyland retired making Dave Dombrowski’s first order of business in the offseason finding a new skipper. After a careful search they settled on former Tiger Brad Ausmus. Ausmus comes to the Tigers from San Diego where he served as assistant General Manager. This is Ausmus’ first season as a major league manager and was considered by many as a solid choice for the job.
After settling on a manager, the Tigers went about the business of remaking their team. This was accomlished by pulling the trigger on two major trades.
Wary of poor playoff performance and a huge contract, the Tigers traded Prince Fielder to the Texas Rangers for Ian Kinsler. Some believe the trade was fueled by Fielder’s apparent apathy toward his lack of playoff performance and ont consequent elimination from the AL Championship series.
General Manager Dave Domborwski wasn’t done dealing and on December 2nd they traded starting pitcher Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for Steve Lombardozzi, Relief Pitcher Ian Krol and Pitching Prospect Robbie Ray. Robbie Ray is a highly rated left-handed power pitching prospect and the prize of the trade for the Tigers. Ian Krol figures to be a bullpen regular in the 7th or 8th inning and Steve Lombardozzi was recently traded to the Baltimore Orioles.
The most recent trades occurred this spring training in response to the injury to SS Jose Iglesias. Andrew Romine was acquired from the Angels in exchange for LHP Jose Alvarez. You may remember Alvarez last season after he stuck with the big club after successfully filling in when Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list. Still not satisfied with the depth at shortstop, the Tigers then traded the recently acquired Steve Lombardozzi to the Orioles for veteran shortstop Alex Gonzalez.
The Tigers were also active in free agency, adding former Yankee Joba Chamberlin, speedster Rajaj Davis and closer Joe Nathan. Former Ranger Joe Nathan was considered the best closer on the market and gives the Tigers a solid option to close out the game.