The Detroit Tigers have been in contact with center fielders Peter Bourjos and Gregor Blanco, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.
The Detroit Tigers, it appears, are going to be content to enter spring training with much the same roster that came up just short of a Wild Card playoff berth in 2016. After an offseason of rumor and innuendo surrounding many top players, it looks like the trade of Cameron Maybin is going to be the only significant subtraction of the winter.
The loss of Maybin, however, has created a giant hole in center field which precious few internal options could reasonably fill. JaCoby Jones is probably not ready to hit in the major leagues with regularity, Anthony Gose’s 2016 tailspin saw him underperform in the minor leagues, and Tyler Collins doesn’t have the defensive chops to play center on an everyday basis.
Andrew Romine acquitted himself well in center field last year in a 22 game sample, but his best role is as a utility player around the diamond (and probably not as a regular in center).
So, the Tigers have apparently turned their attention to the free agent market where they’ve been searching for discount options. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press has a pair of names for us.
Both Gregor Blanco (33) and Peter Bourjos (30) are probably on the wrong side of the aging curve, but either could be had relatively inexpensively on short term deals. Blanco just finished a two-year deal with the Giants that saw him earn $3.9 million in 2016 and Bourjos earned $2 million with the Phillies in his final year of arbitration eligibility.
The Tigers would likely be able to land either player on a one or two year deal paying out in the $3-4 million per year range.
The Tigers are rather right-handed heavy in the lineup, so that might make Blanco (who hits from the left side) a better option, but Bourjos (the righty) would allow for Collins to see the field a bit as well in a semi-platoon situation.
Bourjos and Blanco both have sterling defensive reputations, but their advanced metrics have been declining in recent years as they’ve become more advanced in age.