Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While I certainly have hope that someone like Robbie Weinhardt might shine to the point that the Tigers have no choice but to put him on the big league roster, the reality is the Tigers already have more relievers than spots for the bullpen, and projecting a non-roster invitee to come out of nowhere to make the team is just too much of a long shot. The most realistic call is that the Tigers will elect to keep Alex Avila down in AAA Toledo to start the year, and in turn, requiring the services of NRI catcher Robinson Diaz in Detroit. Diaz likely won't push starter Gerald Laird for playing time, but as is the case with every team (even the Twins with Joe Mauer) you've got to have a backup catcher, and without any other realistic options, it may well be that Diaz is it to start the year.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
While I would personally love to see one of the young, fire balling relievers like Cody Satterwhite or Robbie Weinhardt make the roster on Opening Day, I think their odds are considerably less than one non-descript infielder. I'm speaking of a player that has generally bombed in his brief big league trials; hitting a paltry .194/.264/.276 in 82 games over two seasons with the Washington Nationals. That player is third baseman Kory Casto. Signed by the Tigers as a minor league free agent this winter, Casto enters camp in a prime position to make the roster, despite his MLB struggles. With Brandon Inge's knees remaining in an uncertain state, the Tigers have to find an insurance policy in case he is unable to play every day (or at all) by Opening Day. That insurance policy is most likely Casto, and given the sometimes quirky nature of recovering knees, I think Casto has a 50-50 chance of opening the season with the big league club; a far greater chance than many of the other non-roster invitees.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I would guess that Robinzon Diaz has the best chance of heading north with the team. With Gerald Laird back as the starting catcher, Alex Avila is very likely to start the year in Toledo so he can play every day. Diaz got 129 at-bats with the Pirates last year, so he likely enters the spring as the favorite to be Laird's backup. I also wouldn't couldn't out either Cody Satterwhite or Robbie Weinhardt for the making the team as relievers. Although it may be a bit crowded from a sheer numbers standpoint, not much in front of Jose Valverde has been decided, so if they have solid springs, both Satterwhite and Weinhardt could find themselves squarely in the mix for a spot in the bullpen.
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