The 2022 MLB Winter Meetings are quickly approaching! For the first time since 2o19, Major League Baseball’s annual winter gathering will occur in person. And if history is any indication, it will be a frantic flurry of activity.
The Detroit Tigers, historically, have been active at the Winter Meetings. In 2007, Detroit acquired Miguel Cabrera from the then-Florida Marlins. Cabrera will retire at the end of next season as a Tiger and will be a Hall of Famer in a few years.
The Tigers made another huge move in 2009. They acquired Max Scherzer and Austin Jackson in a three-team trade. Detroit sent Curtis Granderson to the New York Yankees and Edwin Jackson to Arizona Diamondbacks.
Scherzer and Jackson went on to play key roles in Detroit’s American League Central dominance in the mid-2010s. While not a winter meetings deal itself, the Tigers did use Jackson to acquire David Price in 2014.
Detroit enters this year’s meetings with a new head of day-to-day baseball operations. Scott Harris looks to make his mark on a roster in need of a lot of work.
Last time Detroit entered the meetings with a new face in the front office was in 2016. Al Avila made a flurry of moves, signing the likes of Mike Pelfrey and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
What could the Tigers do this time around to improve their roster? History says they will be active, but what can we expect? Here are three bold predictions for the 2022 MLB Winter Meetings.
Tigers: 3 bold predictions for 2022 MLB Winter Meetings
3) Detroit doesn’t acquire a third baseman
The Tigers need a third baseman after non-tendering Jeimer Candelario last month. Candelario moved on to the Washington Nationals, meaning a new face is needed at the hot corner.
However, the Tigers will not acquire that face at the Winter Meetings. This is because their new third baseman is already on the roster. They just need to pick who it is.
One option is Ryan Kreidler, who made his MLB debut late in the 2022 season. He played 13 games at the hot corner for Detroit and played the position in college at UCLA.
The option I am putting my money on is Spencer Torkelson. Detroit’s former top draft pick from 2020 was drafted as a third baseman. However, he’s played first base primarily.
A move for Torkelson allows the Tigers to potentially shore up their offense a bit. Perhaps they add a second baseman and move Jonathan Schoop to first. Torkelson then moves to third to allow for the new bat.
Whatever the case may be, the Tigers have options on their roster. It wouldn’t hurt to add a third baseman, but they don’t necessarily have to if they so desire.
2) Tigers make a run for a former NL MVP
Here is the first of two big predictions. The Tigers likely see Riley Greene’s future in one of the corner outfield spots. And there’s a former NL MVP who plays a really good center field.
Cody Bellinger has fallen hard since his fantastic MVP season in 2019. This dip in production led to him being non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers last month. However, there’s no reason to think the 27-year-old can’t bounce back.
The Tigers organization is familiar with Bellinger. Detroit wanted him via trade in 2016 but were ultimately unable to make a deal happen. Harris is at least somewhat familiar, seeing the former MVP a number of times during his time with the San Francisco Giants.
Detroit likely would seek a low-risk contract, but his market is said to be strong. This may not be a deterrent for the Tigers given their financial flexibility.
The Tigers could give Bellinger a one-year deal at a high salary. Or, they could work out a multi-year contract with options to give both parties what they want.
It’s a longshot, as the Tigers aren’t contenders. However, with the money they have and center field open for the taking, Detroit is certainly a dark horse in these sweepstakes.
1) Tigers trade pitching for Gleyber Torres
Remember when I said the Tigers could add a second baseman? Here it is. The Tigers will add a second baseman, and they’ll get creative in doing so.
If there is one strength Detroit has, it’s pitching. Their farm system is deep with promising arms, and their bullpen is one of the strongest in the league. Harris can use this to his advantage during the Winter Meetings.
The 25-year-old Torres bounced back at the plate after a couple of rough seasons. He hit 24 home runs and 76 RBI while slashing .257/.310/.451 in 140 games in 2022. It’s not quite his 2019 All-Star form, but he was impressive.
It’s worth mentioning that Torres is a right-handed bat. Detroit is seeking a left-handed hitting infielder. However, the left-handed hitting infielder options aren’t that great. They can certainly find a quality bench option, but no one who can step in and contribute right away.
Detroit deals from their pitching depth, potentially packaging a few relievers together for the Yankees. New York adds depth to their bullpen, and Detroit adds a young player who still has room to get even better.