Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
As we get close to the midway point of spring training, it appears the bench situation is just as clear as it was when spring training started; the top of the list is pretty well settled, while the final couple spots are still very much up in the air. What seems to be certain is that unless a trade or injury happens, both Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly are on the team, and that was more or less expected from day one of camp. However, the final couple of slots still seem to be very much up in the air. If anything, the outfield situation has become a bit more crowded with the surge from Andy Dirks in addition to the strong play from Casper Wells. Clete Thomas and Brennan Boesch also factor in there as well. So, midway through, no more clarity, but plenty of competition.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Unfortunately, I'm not sure the muddy waters that are the Tigers bench have cleared at all. In my view the only two players with spots locked up at this point are Ramon Santiago and Don Kelly. Santiago by virtue of his acceptable defense up the middle and Kelly by virtue of being named the emergency or third string catcher (a.k.a. Leyland's binky). So much of the bench construction hinges on Guillen's progress toward being healthy enough to play on Opening Day. If he is, then the other infield backup situation becomes very, very interesting, as the discussion expands from who can help the team most, to also include a discussion of managing developmental opportunities and what's best for the individual player. If Guillen's on the team on Opening day, then Worth and Rhymes suddenly have the upper hand on a bench spot in my view. However, If Sizemore is the Opening Day starter my hunch is Worth provides them the defense they may desire on the bench. Not only are things still a bit chaotic on the infield, but the outfield situation is still very much up in the air. Casper Wells seems to be inching closer to a spot with solid all-around play, but neither Casper Wells or Brennan Boesch has distinguished themselves, while Andy Dirks' bat is making some noise that could turn up the heat. At this juncture, if I was forced to guess the Tigers bench, I would lean toward Santiago, Kelly, Wells, and Worth.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I don't think there is much more clarity to the Tigers' bench situation. While it is certainly nice to see guys like Casper Wells and Andy Dirks hit well early on, lets see if they can keep it up for the duration of camp against pitchers getting stronger.
Likewise, several of the Tigers' younger pitchers have done a good job early on, and while it's nice to see, it doesn't mean that they've landed a spot on the 25-man roster.
It's good to see a lot of guys off to good starts, and while those that are off to those good starts may have a leg up on their competition, no job is won one week into March. Lets see what the rest of the month brings.
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