There’s no way to analyze the Mud Hens’ potential roster for 2012 without looking at the Tigers’ roster for the coming season. So here’s a look at who might begin next season in Detroit and in Toledo …
PLAYERS LOST, DETROIT: 2B Carlos Guillen, .232-3-13 in 28 games; 2B-SS Ramon Santiago, .260-5-30 in 101 games.
PLAYERS LOST, TOLEDO: 1B Scott Thorman, .240-13-58 in 109 games.
IN DETROIT FOR SURE: There aren’t many things more certain that the fact that 1B Miguel Cabrera will play in Detroit. Last season he hit .344-30-105 in 161 games. … SS Jhonny Peralta hit .299-21-86 in 146 games and was steady in the field as well. … I think Don Kelly is a lock for the Tigers’ roster after hitting .245-7-28 and starring in the playoffs. Just don’t ask me how Jim Leyland plans to use him.
IN DETROIT OR IN TOLEDO? 3B Brandon Inge hit just .197-3-23 in 102 games with the Tigers and was designated for assignment, spending time with the Hens before returning to Detroit. … IF Danny Worth hit .270-0-3 in 30 games for the Tigers and .256-8-37 in 86 games with the Mud Hens. If Detroit doesn’t resign Ramon Santiago, Worth becomes a leading candidate to take over Santiago’s “utility” role. … 2B Will Rhymes began the season with the Tigers but hit just .235-0-2 in 29 games. He was sent to Toledo and batted .306-3-24 in 104 games with the Hens. … 3B Wilson Betemit came to the Tigers in a mid-season deal and hit .292-5-19 in 40 games after the trade. He is arbitration eligible, so he may be resigned, given arbitration or released. … 1B Ryan Strieby stayed healthy for the whole season and hit .255-19-76 in 130 games for Toledo.
OTHER TOLEDO OPTIONS: The Tigers have resigned IF Argenis Diaz this off-season. Diaz, a six-year free agent, batted .279-0-25 in 98 games for the Hens last year. … Detroit also resigned SS Audy Ciriaco this off-season. Ciriaco also was a six-year free agent after batting .093-0-2 in 14 games for Toledo and .277-5-55 in 101 games for Double-A Erie. … IF Justin Henry hit .309-0-46 in 113 games for Double-A Erie and batted .421-0-1 in a six-game Toledo cameo. He played in 44 games for the Hens in 2010 and hit .269-0-14. … SS Cale Iorg batted .208-5-21 in 88 games for Toledo last season and was sent to Erie, where he hit .167-2-6 in 26 games.
POTENTIAL HELP FROM ERIE: 1B Rawley Bishop hit .266-10-67 in 124 games for the SeaWolves. The 26-year-old Bishop is three months older than Strieby, so it’s hard to see him stepping in front of the Hens’ best hitter last season. … 2B Brandon Douglas batted .281-3-46 in 124 games with Erie. Douglas also is 26, but he received a spring training invite from the Tigers last season – so his chances for promotion are better. … 3B Bryan Pounds hit .273-5-40 in 90 games for the SeaWolves and batted .287-4-11 in 29 games with the Hens.
THE LAST WORD: In Detroit, the sure thing is Cabrera at first base. At third base, do the Tigers keep Inge, platoon him with Betemit, or release him and eat his $5.5 million contract? As for Betemit, do the Tigers offer arbitration or allow him to become a free agent? I know nobody asked me, but I would bet Betemit’s contract wouldn’t be a budget breaker, so I would offer him arbitration (and at least get an extra draft pick if he signs elsewhere). At second base, Santiago may resign with Detroit, but the Tigers aren’t likely to make him the everyday starter, so he may sign elsewhere. In other words, there’s a hole at second. As for shortstop, Peralta would be just fine. But if Detroit wins the Jose Reyes sweepstakes, Peralta could move to second or third … If Strieby doesn’t make the Tigers in spring training, he’s a lock for first base in Toledo. If Rhymes remains in the organization this off season, he’s probably ticketed for second with the Hens. There are plenty of options at shortstop for the Hens, including Ciriaco, Diaz or Iorg. In all three cases you get pretty much the same thing: good field, no hit. Third base is a hole that hopefully will be filled in the off season. Last season’s solution, Worth, probably will play in Detroit this year. … As for things in Erie, the only question I’ll touch is that of where Douglas begins the season. If Rhymes returns – and Hens fans should have no complaint if he does – there really isn’t a place for Douglas to play. Baseball America doesn’t consider Douglas much of a prospect, but last season was one of the first times he hasn’t hit well about the median in the league he played in – and his numbers were nothing to sneeze at.
FRIDAY, NOV. 11: A look at the outfielders in Detroit, Toledo and Erie. Click here to read Monday's look at the starting pitching situation. Click here to read Tuesday's look at the relief pitching situation. Click here to read Wednesday's look at the catching situation. Click here to read Friday's look at the outfield situation.