I tried to answer a lot of Twitter questions over the course of the season in these inboxes. However, I haven't done nearly as much with traditional email questions since opening the inbox up to Twitter. So for the first inbox of the Tigers offseason, I scanned the email inbox
I tried to answer a lot of Twitter questions over the course of the season in these inboxes. However, I haven't done nearly as much with traditional email questions since opening the inbox up to Twitter. So for the first inbox of the Tigers offseason, I scanned the email inbox for some questions. I'll get back to the Twitter questions next time around as we get closer to the Hot Stove season.
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What are the chances of Miggy being the DH next year?
-- Brian S., Dayton, Ohio
I don't expect Jose Cabrera to be a full-time DH next year unless the Tigers acquire somebody they feel more comfortable with at first base or if injuries force Cabrera out of the field. But I do expect he'll get a fair number of games at DH to try to manage the wear and tear on his body. Manager Ron Gardenhire and general manager Al Avila have both hinted at it, and Cabrera told reporters at his Miggyball charity event last week that he's open to it. The challenge for the Tigers will be to figure out who they feel comfortable playing first on those days, whether it's John Hicks or Niko Goodrum or someone else, because there were several instances this season when they missed Cabrera's defense there.
What are the chances we see Stewart or one of the big 5 SP on Opening Day next year?
-- Cody S., El Paso, Tex.
I assume you mean one of the big five starting pitching prospects (Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Franklin Perez, Beau Burrows or Alex Faedo). I don't think you'll see any of them until late next season at the earliest. Burrows might be the only one that opens next season at Triple-A Toledo unless the Tigers really push Mize or Faedo, which I don't expect them to do. Christin Stewart, on the other hand, has a good chance to open next season in left field. As Gardenhire said after shutting him down on the final weekend of the season, Stewart showed them what he can do as a September callup. He'll have to back it up in Spring Training, but my guess is he'll come in ready to prove himself again after being left out of big league camp this year.
Do you think there is more interest now in Boyd than Fulmer?
-- Mike P., Swartz Creek, Mich.
Relatively speaking, yes, though I don't think trade interest in either will be significant this offseason. Michael Fulmer is coming off right knee surgery on the leg he uses to push off the mound, and while he's expected to be ready for Spring Training, there's no guarantee he'll be back to his normal self. Matthew Boyd had a good first full season in the Tigers rotation, but he also struggled down the stretch, possibly tiring. Fulmer is eligible for arbitration for the first time this winter, while Boyd likely will not be unless the Super Two threshold for arbitration eligibility comes in low this year.
Do you think Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker would be so successful as a double-play combo if they had deployed shifts back in their playing days?
-- Jerry T., Hazel Park, Mich.
Interesting question. I think that partly depends on whether Trammell or the third baseman would've shifted over against left-handed hitters. Given Trammell's range during his prime years, I'd like to think he would've stayed on the left side, except maybe for his later years, when Travis Fryman was alternating between third and short and Chris Gomez arrived. Whether Whitaker would've found himself playing in short-right field more often, I don't know.
In the end, though, I tend to think a good double-play duo is good no matter what the infield does. Shifting is meant to makes infielders better, not worse. Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler were a good double-play duo even as the Tigers increasingly deployed shifts in recent years.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.