Predicting the Tigers' Opening Day roster

Starting rotation appears set barring spring injuries

February 10th, 2019

With Tigers' Spring Training about to begin in Lakeland, Fla., here's an early dart throw at how the 25-man roster could shake out for Opening Day. While some spots will come down to positional competitions (such as the one at second base), Minor League options and opt-outs will play into others, such as the case of Rule 5 Draft pick in the bullpen.
Catcher (2):,
The Tigers want to give Greiner a shot to be the primary catcher, with Hicks available as a late-game pinch-hitter, who can also fill in at first base or DH.
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First base (1):
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he'll determine how much Cabrera plays at first base or designated hitter by how he looks and feels in Spring Training. Cabrera generally has preferred not to be the DH, but is willing to do so if the Tigers decide it's best. Hicks and are options at first when Cabrera slides over to DH.
Second base (1): Goodrum
Though Goodrum's versatility is a huge asset, second base is the Tigers' biggest remaining void, though could address that with a hitting revival in camp.
Third base (1):
The Tigers are hoping for health and progress from Candelario after wrist issues hampered him in 2018.
Shortstop (1):
The Tigers signed Mercer early in the offseason to provide everyday stability at short.

Outfield (4): , , Christin Stewart,
The Tigers essentially have four outfielders for three spots, but they also have the DH slot available on days when Cabrera plays at first base.
Utility (2): ,
If Goodrum becomes the regular second baseman, then Rodriguez essentially becomes the new Goodrum, getting playing time all over the field. Cowart is out of Minor League options, and can also potentially pitch, which could make him too intriguing to risk placing on waivers.
Starting pitchers (5): , , , ,
If everybody stays healthy, then experience wins out. It's rare that every starting pitcher stays healthy heading into Opening Day, but it's hard to predict injuries.

Relief pitchers (8): , , , , , Garrett, ,
The Tigers are in a roster crunch with their pitching staff, which along with other factors, could drive them to an eight-man bullpen to begin the season.
Got all that? Here's a simple list of the projected roster just in case:
Grayson Greiner
John Hicks
Miguel Cabrera
Jeimer Candelario
Niko Goodrum
Jordy Mercer
Nicholas Castellanos
JaCoby Jones
Mikie Mahtook
Christin Stewart
Kaleb Cowart
Ronny Rodriguez
Matthew Boyd
Michael Fulmer
Matt Moore
Tyson Ross
Jordan Zimmermann
Buck Farmer
Reed Garrett
Shane Greene
Blaine Hardy
Joe Jimenez
Daniel Norris
Daniel Stumpf
Drew VerHagen