Roundtable: Predicting Spring Training

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Trying to predict the future, what's the first surprise you expect out of spring training?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While we all approach spring training expecting things to be relatively calm, I think we all know that it never quite works out that way. A sudden injury, or a player excelling, or a last minute release always seems to shake up the steady state that we all saw. This time around, the first surprise I expect to see is a rejuvenated Brennan Boesch, one that will make a strong case for playing time and a spot on the roster, right now. No one can ever expect him to return to the monumental first half of 2010 form, however, a balance between the two halves still netted out at a solid rookie debut for Boesch, and I believe he'll return to form a bit, and force the Tigers to actually think about whether or not they want to keep a power bat that would spell Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
The Tigers always seem to pull a trick our of their hat in spring training. Whether its pulling Rick Porcello to the big leagues, cutting bait with Gary Sheffield, or putting two rookies in Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya in positions of high importance, there is always something unexpected going on in camp. As the Tigers enter a spring where much of the roster seems to be all but set in stone, it doesn't leave much room for surprise moves or unexpected happenings. The one move I am hesitant to expect but could see happening revolves around injured switch-hitter Carlos Guillen. Coming off a knee injury and unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, Guillen might be the next in a line of expensive, under-performing contracts to get the boot. If there's a chance he's ready near Opening Day, but one of the Tigers other options like Scott Sizemore or Will Rhymes are playing well in camp, and with the DH slot largely occupied by Victor Martinez, the Tigers could opt to cut bait on the last year of Guillen's contract rather than have him take up a spot on the bench. It's tough to expect such a bold move, but it seems like the most probably of the surprises that could be on the docket.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I think the first surprise will be on the health of Carlos Guillen. Not many people are expecting Guillen to be much of a contributor early in the season as he recovers from microfracture surgery, but if he makes progress with his rehab, it's possible he could be used as a DH before trying to play the field on a full-time basis. If he is able to make it back into the lineup, Guillen could be the left-handed bat (when he isn't switch hitting) the Tigers need, so his health will be one issue to keep a close eye on. As you would expect, the Tigers aren't going to rush him back, but when he returns, it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out.

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